King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella (Spain)

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Christopher Columbus

Sponsor: King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella (Spain)

Motive: Find a faster route to Asia by going across the Atlantic Ocean to obtain gold and spices.


  • discovered the New World (+)

  • Captured some Indians as prisoners (-)

Year: 1492

John Cabot

Sponsor: King Henry VII (England)

Motive: He wanted to find spices and silks in East Indies; he also wanted to explore the world.

Impact: He claimed the eastern coast of Canada for England. (+) His voyage opened the way for English settlers to come to North America. (+)


Juan Ponce de Leon

Sponsor: Spain, he was on Columbus 2nd voyage

Motive: To find gold (1506), To find the “fountain of youth” (1513)

Impact: He conquered Puerto Rico and killed many Native Americans (-)

Claimed Florida for Spain (+)

Hernando Cortes

Sponsor: Spain

Motive: He wanted adventure, gold, and silver.

Impact: Conquered the Aztecs, 1521(-), brought smallpox to Indians (-), Spain now ruled all of Mexico (+)

Year: 1519

Jacques Cartier

Sponsor: King Francis I, France

Motive: to find the Northwest Passage to China

Impact: discovered the St. Lawrence River (+), gave France claim to North America (+), set up a French empire (+) 1541

When: 1534
Henry Hudson:

Sponsor: by Holland, Dutch East India Company

Motive: to reach China by sailing across the top of Europe near the Arctic Circle

Impact: discovered the Hudson River for Holland, 1609(+) gave Holland claim to North America, 1624 (+), discovered and drew the first map of Hudson Bay, 1610 (+), gave England claim to eastern Canada (+)

Francisco Vasquez de Coronado

Sponsor: paid by the money from his rich wife and the viceroy, or governor, of Mexico

Motive: to seek glory and fortune in search of the Seven Cities of Gold in Cibola

Impact: found the Grand Canyon and Rio Grande valley (+), strangled an Indian for false information (-), Spanish missionaries considered the expedition successful; it gave them a chance to convert Indians in the southwestern part of North America to Christianity (+)

Year: 1540-1542

Robert de La Salle

Sponsor: the governor of Montreal and a wealthy friend agreed to support him

Motivation: personal wealth and to establish a French empire of trading posts, forts, and settlements

Impact: he claimed Louisiana for the French king, King Louis XIV (14th) (+) gave France claims to the entire Mississippi River (+)

Year: 1667-1684

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