18th Century Explorers

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Find out more about the greatest 18th Century Explorers, including James Cook, Daniel Boone, Sacagawea, Meriwether Lewis and William Clark.
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 1 
James Cook
(British Naval Captain, Navigator and Explorer)
James Cook
19
Birthdate: November 7, 1728
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Marton, England
Died: February 14, 1779

British explorer, navigator, and cartographer James Cook, who had also served the merchant navy and Royal Navy, was the first to complete an expedition around New Zealand. He explored areas in the South Pacific, such as eastern Australia and Hawaii. He was killed while trying to kidnap a Hawaiian king.

 2 
Daniel Boone
(American Frontiersman and One of the First Folk Heroes of the United States)
Daniel Boone
14
Birthdate: November 2, 1734
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Pennsylvania, United States
Died: September 26, 1820

Daniel Boone was an American pioneer, woodsman, explorer, and frontiersman. His exploits as an American frontier made him one of the earliest folk heroes of the US. Widely regarded as the founder of Kentucky, Daniel Boone is popular for his exploration and settlement of Kentucky. His life and work have inspired several movies, such as the 1936 movie Daniel Boone.

 3 
Sacagawea
(Interpreter)
Sacagawea
11
Birthdate: 1788 AD
Birthplace: Salmon
Died: 1812 AD
Sacagawea, a Lemhi Shoshone woman, became a significant part of the Lewis and Clark Expedition, helping its members connect with the Native Americans along the trail. The National American Woman Suffrage Association later honored her by erecting several statues in her memory. She finds mention in many books and films.
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 4 
Meriwether Lewis
(Explorer, Politician)
Meriwether Lewis
7
Birthdate: August 18, 1774
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Ivy, Colony of Virginia
Died: October 11, 1809

Best known for his exploration of the Pacific Northwest and Oregon, Meriwether Lewis led the legendary Lewis and Clark Expedition. He had also been the governor of Louisiana. His mysterious death at age 35, due to gunshot wounds, sparked a huge debate on whether it was a murder or a suicide.

 5 
John Franklin
(Explorer, Royal Navy officer)
John Franklin
7
Birthdate: April 16, 1786
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Spilsby, England
Died: June 11, 1847
 6 
William Clark
(Explorer)
William Clark
7
Birthdate: August 1, 1770
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Caroline County
Died: September 1, 1838

Frontiersman William Clark is remembered for his iconic expedition to the Pacific Northwest along with Meriwether Lewis, in what is known as the Lewis and Clark Expedition. He had also been a US Army soldier and the governor of Missouri Territory. He named his first-born after Lewis.

 7 
George Vancouver
(Explorer, Officer)
George Vancouver
4
Birthdate: June 22, 1757
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: King's Lynn
Died: May 10, 1798

English navigator and Royal Navy officer George Vancouver was the first to explore the Pacific coast of North America. His explored territories included the Canada’s British Columbia, the US’s Alaska, and Australia’s southwest coast. His 3-volume treatise on his journeys, with a collection of maps, was published posthumously.

 8 
Matthew Flinders
5
Birthdate: March 16, 1774
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Donington
Died: July 19, 1814
 9 
Zebulon Pike
(Explorer, Military personnel)
Zebulon Pike
3
Birthdate: January 5, 1779
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Lamberton, New Jersey
Died: April 27, 1813

American army officer Zebulon Pike is best remembered for his exploration of areas around the Mississippi River and the Rocky Mountains. While traversing through the southern Colorado region, he was detained by Spanish colonial authorities. He lent his name to the famed Pikes Peak in Colorado.

 10 
Mungo Park
(Explorer)
Mungo Park
3
Birthdate: September 11, 1771
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Selkirkshire, Scotland
Died: July 19, 1806
 11 
Vitus Bering
(Danish Explorer and Cartographer Who Explored the Bering Strait and Alaska)
Vitus Bering
4
Birthdate: August 5, 1681
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Horsens, Denmark
Died: December 19, 1741
 12 
Antoine de la Mothe Cadillac
(French Adventurer and Explorer Credited With Founding the City of Detroit)
Antoine de la Mothe Cadillac
5
Birthdate: March 5, 1658
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Saint-Nicolas-de-la-Grave, France
Died: October 16, 1730

Antoine de la Mothe Cadillac was a French adventurer and explorer. He is credited with founding Fort Pontchartrain du Détroit, which later became the famous city of Detroit. The famous car brand Cadillac was named in Antoine de la Mothe Cadillac's honor.

 13 
Giovanni Battista Belzoni
(Explorer, Antiquarian, Egyptologist, Archaeologist, Novelist, Travel writer)
Giovanni Battista Belzoni
3
Birthdate: November 5, 1778
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Padua
Died: December 3, 1823

Giovanni Battista Belzoni was an Italian explorer and archaeologist of Egyptian antiquities. A pioneer in the field of Egyptian archaeology, Belzoni was the first person to enter the famous Pyramid of Khafre. Belzoni is also credited with unblocking the entrance of the temple at Abu Simbel and discovering the tomb of Seti I, which is referred to as Belzoni's Tomb. 

 14 
Alexander Mackenzie
6
Birthdate: 1764 AD
Birthplace: Stornoway, Lewis, Scotland
Died: March 12, 1820
 15 
John Colter
(American Explorer and the First White Man to Have Seen and Described 'Yellowstone National Park')
John Colter
4
Birthdate: 1774 AD
Birthplace: Stuarts Draft, Virginia, United States
Died: November 22, 1813

Trapper-explorer John Colter, who was part of the Lewis and Clark Expedition, is remembered as the first white man to visit and describe the Yellowstone National Park. He had a brush with death on three occasions, when he came face-to-face with Indian tribes. He later settled in a Missouri farm.

 16 
Charles Sturt
(British explorer)
Charles Sturt
4
Birthdate: April 28, 1795
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Bengal
Died: June 16, 1869
 17 
Louis Antoine de Bougainville
(French Explorer and Admiral)
Louis Antoine de Bougainville
3
Birthdate: November 12, 1729
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: August 31, 1811

Louis Antoine de Bougainville was a French explorer and admiral. He is best remembered for his scientific expeditions, including his 1763 circumnavigation of the globe and expeditions into the Pacific Ocean. Louis Antoine de Bougainville also participated in the Seven Years' War and the American Revolutionary War.

 18 
Piet Retief
(Explorer)
Piet Retief
3
Birthdate: November 12, 1780
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Wellington
Died: February 6, 1838
 19 
Andries Pretorius
3
Birthdate: November 27, 1798
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Graaff-Reinet
Died: July 23, 1853

Boer leader Andries Pretorius was a chief force behind the creation of the South African Republic. He not only led the Great Trek from British-occupied Cape Colony but also defeated thousands of Zulus in the Battle of Blood. His negotiations with the British led to the Sand River Convention.

 20 
Johann Ludwig Burckhardt
(Explorer, Writer, Art historian, Archaeologist)
Johann Ludwig Burckhardt
3
Birthdate: November 24, 1784
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Lausanne
Died: October 15, 1817
 21 
George Bass
(Former Explorer, Surgeon known as one of the first people to explore the interior of Australia)
George Bass
3
Birthdate: January 30, 1771
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Sleaford, Lincolnshire, England, United Kingdom
Died: 1803 AD

British naval surgeon George Bass is best remembered for his exploratory voyage to Australia, aboard the Reliance. He explored areas such as the Sydney coastline, Tasmania, and New South Wales. However, he was declared lost at sea after disappearing on a commercial voyage to South America.

 22 
Hans Egede
(Danish-Norwegian Missionary Known for His Mission in Greenland)
Hans Egede
3
Birthdate: January 31, 1686
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Harstad, Norway
Died: November 5, 1758

Danish-Norwegian missionary Hans Egede served the Lutheran Church. Known for his missionary campaigns in Greenland, he earned the nickname the Apostle of Greenland. He established Greenland’s capital, Nuuk, and lived among the Inuit community. He also translated books into Inuit and is revered as the National Saint of Greenland.

 23 
John Ross
(Navy Officer)
John Ross
2
Birthdate: June 24, 1777
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Balsarroch, Scotland
Died: August 30, 1856
 24 
Charles Wilkes
(Naval Officer)
Charles Wilkes
3
Birthdate: April 3, 1798
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: New York, New York, United States
Died: February 8, 1877
 25 
Pierre-Esprit Radisson
2
Birthdate: 1636 AD
Birthplace: Avignon, France
Died: 1710 AD

Pierre-Esprit Radisson was a French fur trader and explorer who undertook many adventures with his brother-in-law Médard des Groseilliers. As a young man, he was captured and tortured by the Iroquois though he later managed to escape. He eventually became a successful fur trader and also embarked on several missionary expeditions. The town of Radisson, Quebec is named after him. 

 26 
James Bruce
(Explorer, Archaeologist, Film editor, Botanist)
James Bruce
2
Birthdate: December 14, 1730
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Stirling
Died: April 27, 1794

Scottish explorer James Bruce is best known for his treatises of travel and his discovery of the source of the Blue Nile. Initially a wine merchant, he later became a British consul in Algiers and decided to explore North Africa. He traveled to places such as Syria, Ethiopia, and Egypt.

 27 
Jules Dumont d'Urville
(French Explorer and Naval Officer Who Explored the Western and South Pacific, New Zealand, Australia, and Antarctica)
Jules Dumont d'Urville
3
Birthdate: May 23, 1790
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Condé-sur-Noireau, France
Died: May 8, 1842

Jules Dumont d'Urville was a French naval officer and explorer best remembered for exploring the western and south Pacific, New Zealand, Australia, and Antarctica. Jules Dumont d'Urville was also a cartographer and botanist; he is credited with naming several plants, seaweeds, and shrubs.

 28 
Francis Light
(Explorer)
Francis Light
2
Birthdate: 1740 AD
Birthplace: Dallinghoo, England
Died: October 25, 1794
 29 
John Oxley
(Explorer)
John Oxley
4
Birthdate: 1784 AD
Birthplace: Westow, England, United Kingdom
Died: May 25, 1828
 30 
Herman of Alaska
(Russian Orthodox Monk Who Was a Missionary to Alaska)
Herman of Alaska
2
Birthdate: 1750 AD
Birthplace: Serpukhov, Russia
Died: November 15, 1836
 31 
Mike Fink
(Frontiersman)
Mike Fink
3
Birthdate: 1770 AD
Birthplace: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States
Died: 1823 AD
 32 
William Bartram
(The First Naturalist Who Penetrated the Dense Tropical Forests of Florida)
William Bartram
2
Birthdate: April 20, 1739
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
Died: July 22, 1823

William Bartram was an American ornithologist, botanist, explorer, and natural historian. He is best remembered for authoring an acclaimed book, which is now known as Bartram's Travels. The book chronicles Bartram's explorations of the British colonies in North America. William Bartram was also one of America's first ornithologists.

 33 
Samuel Hearne
(Explorer)
Samuel Hearne
2
Birthdate: 1745
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: London, England
Died: October 31, 1792
 34 
Robert Moffat
(British missionary)
Robert Moffat
2
Birthdate: December 21, 1795
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Ormiston, Scotland
Died: August 9, 1883
 35 
Peter Skene Ogden
2
Birthdate: February 12, 1790
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Quebec City, Canada
Died: September 27, 1854
 36 
Robert Gray
(Explorer)
Robert Gray
3
Birthdate: May 10, 1755
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Tiverton, Rhode Island, United States
Died: June 30, 1806
 37 
Georg Wilhelm Steller
2
Birthdate: March 10, 1709
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Bad Windsheim, Germany
Died: November 14, 1746

German-born zoologist and botanist Georg Wilhelm Steller traveled to Russia on a troop ship. He was later part of the Great Northern Expedition, aboard the St. Peter, aimed at locating a sea route from Russia to North America. The Steller’s sea cow, discovered by him, went extinct later.

 38 
Antonio de Ulloa
(Astronomer, Explorer, Meteorologist)
Antonio de Ulloa
2
Birthdate: January 12, 1716
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Seville
Died: July 3, 1795

Spanish mariner Antonio de Ulloa was sent by the government to explore America and ended up being captured by the British while returning. His scientific zeal made him a Fellow of the Royal Society there. He is remembered for his metallurgical, astronomical, and geographical discoveries and treatises.

Pierre Gaultier de Varennes, sieur de La Vérendrye
1
Birthdate: November 17, 1685
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Trois-Rivières, Canada
Died: December 5, 1749

Pierre Gaultier de Varennes, sieur de La Vérendrye was a French Canadian military officer and fur trader. Along with his four sons, he explored the area west of Lake Superior and established trading posts there. The family also helped in the process of adding Western Canada to the original New France territory.  He was awarded the Order of Saint Louis. 

 40 
Engelbert Kaempfer
(Naturalist)
Engelbert Kaempfer
2
Birthdate: September 16, 1651
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Lemgo, Germany
Died: November 2, 1716

Seventeenth-century German physician and traveler Engelbert Kaempfer had been on trade missions across the world, including places such as Russia, Iran, Java, and Japan. His written experiences about his stay in Japan became a valuable source of information on the flora and fauna of the country.

Adam Johann von Krusenstern
2
Birthdate: October 10, 1770
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Hagudi, Estonia
Died: August 24, 1846
 42 
Henry Kelsey
(British Explorer Best Known for His Two-Year Journey From Hudson Bay to the Western Interior)
Henry Kelsey
2
Birthdate: 1664 AD
Birthplace: Greenwich, England
Died: November 1, 1724

Henry Kelsey was an English fur trader and explorer. He played an important role in establishing the Hudson's Bay Company in Canada. Born in England, he moved to Canada as a young man and began his exploration adventures in the winter of 1688–89. He undertook many journeys across the Atlantic Ocean and eventually returned to England.

 43 
Benjamin Bonneville
3
Birthdate: April 14, 1796
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: June 12, 1878
 44 
Maurice Benyovszky
(Explorer and Military personnel)
Maurice Benyovszky
0
Birthdate: September 20, 1746
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Vrbové, Slovakia
Died: May 24, 1786
 45 
Charles Marie de La Condamine
(French Explorer, Geographer, and Mathematician Who Created the First Map of the Amazon Region)
Charles Marie de La Condamine
3
Birthdate: January 28, 1701
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: February 4, 1774
 46 
Otto von Kotzebue
(Russian Explorer and Naval Officer Known for His Explorations in Oceania)
Otto von Kotzebue
1
Birthdate: December 30, 1787
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Tallinn, Estonia
Died: February 15, 1846
Daniel Greysolon, Sieur du Lhut
3
Birthdate: 1639 AD
Birthplace: Saint-Germain-Laval, France
Died: February 25, 1710
 48 
Jean Chardin
(French Traveller Whose Ten-Volume Book is Regarded as one of the Finest Works of Early Western Scholarship on Safavid Iran)
Jean Chardin
3
Birthdate: November 16, 1643
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: January 5, 1713
 49 
Sir George Back
1
Birthdate: November 6, 1796
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Metropolitan Borough of Stockport, England
Died: June 23, 1878
 50 
Nathaniel Palmer
1
Birthdate: August 8, 1799
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Stonington, Connecticut, United States
Died: June 21, 1877