Famous American Explorers

Had it not been for Christopher Columbus would America exist today, leave alone be the address of several renowned explorers and discoverers? Vasco da Gama, Marco Polo, Christopher Columbus, Jacques Cartier and Samuel de Chaplain are some of the legendary explorers that the world takes pride in. It is to these noble souls that we owe the world today. For what would the world be without their indomitable attitude, never-say-die spirit and outrageously daring spirit? Explorers helped expand the border of the world by conquering new lands. What’s more, they added new cultures, traditions and heritage thus expanding the cultural legacy of the world. Through their voyages, they discovered the unknown. While it may look all fancy and extravagant, explorers go through a lot, while some survive the harsh conditions some give their life to it. Just like every other country in the world, America too has had pioneering explorers who expanded the horizon and undertook many expeditions. Some of them include Kit Carson, Robert Edwin Peary, John Wesley Powell, Meriwether Lewis, Daniel Boone and Sacagawea. Learn in details about the life and explorations of American explorers.

This ranking is based on an algorithm that combines various factors, including the votes of our users and search trends on the internet.

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 1 Amelia Earhart

Amelia Earhart.
7
Famous As: Aviator, Pilot
Birthdate: July 24, 1897
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Atchison, Kansas, United States
Died: January 5, 1939

Amelia Earhart became the first female pilot to complete a solo trans-Atlantic flight, in 1932. A champion for equal rights, Amelia later wrote best-selling memoirs and contributed to the women pilot’s group The Ninety-Nines. In 1937, Amelia disappeared while flying over the Pacific Ocean and was later declared dead.

 2 Nellie Bly

Nellie Bly.
4
Famous As: Journalist
Birthdate: May 5, 1864
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Cochrans Mills, Pennsylvania, United States
Died: January 27, 1922

Nellie Bly was an American industrialist, journalist, inventor, and charity worker. She is remembered for her circumnavigation of the world in 72 days. She is also known for pioneering a new kind of investigative journalism as she worked undercover from within a mental institution to report on the institution. Nellie Bly’s life and work have inspired several works of art.

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 3 Daniel Boone

Daniel Boone.
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Famous As: Pioneer
Birthdate: October 22, 1734
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Daniel Boone Homestead
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.

 4 Chris McCandless

Chris McCandless.
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Famous As: American adventurer
Birthdate: February 12, 1968
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: El Segundo, California, United States
Died: August 18, 1992

Chris McCandless, also known as Alexander Supertramp, was made famous by Jon Krakauer’s book Into the Wild, which was later made into a movie. The adventurer had hitchhiked through Alaska, and later took shelter in an abandoned bus, where he eventually died of starvation and poisoning, cut off from civilization.

 5 Hugh Glass

Hugh Glass.
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Famous As: Hunter
Birthdate: 1783 AD
Birthplace: Scranton, Pennsylvania, United States
Died: 1833 AD

 6 Jon Krakauer

Jon Krakauer
4
Famous As: Journalist, Explorer, Writer
Birthdate: April 12, 1954
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Brookline, Massachusetts, United States

 7 Jim Bridger

Jim Bridger
4
Famous As: Mountaineer
Birthdate: March 17, 1804
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Richmond, Virginia, US
Died: July 17, 1881
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 8 Scott Fischer

Scott Fischer
4
Famous As: Explorer, Rock climber
Birthdate: December 24, 1955
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Michigan
Died: May 11, 1996

 9 Kit Carson

Kit Carson.
4
Famous As: Explorer & Soldier
Birthdate: December 24, 1809
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Madison County
Died: May 23, 1868

 10 Sacagawea

Sacagawea.
9
Famous As: Interpreter
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.

 11 Josh Gates

Josh Gates
4
Famous As: Explorer, Photographer
Birthdate: August 10, 1977
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Gloucester

Josh Gates is an American television producer and presenter who specializes in hosting and executive producing paranormal reality television series like Destination Truth, Ghost Hunters, and Stranded. Josh Gates also has his own production company named Ping Pong Productions which he uses to produce such television shows as Ghost Nation. 

 12 Meriwether Lewis

Meriwether Lewis.
4
Famous As: Explorer, Politician
Birthdate: August 18, 1774
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Ivy, Colony of Virginia
Died: October 11, 1809

 13 Richard E. Byrd

Richard E. Byrd
4
Famous As: Naval officer
Birthdate: October 25, 1888
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Winchester, Virginia, United States
Died: March 11, 1957

 14 John C. Frémont

John C. Frémont
4
Famous As: Former Governor of California
Birthdate: January 21, 1813
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Savannah, Georgia, United States
Died: July 13, 1890

 15 Robert Peary

Robert Peary.
3
Famous As: Explorer
Birthdate: May 6, 1856
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Cresson, Pennsylvania
Died: February 20, 1920

 16 Michael Rockefeller

Michael Rockefeller
5
Famous As: Explorer
Birthdate: May 18, 1938
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: New York City, United States
Died: November 19, 1961

 17 William Clark

William Clark.
5
Famous As: Explorer
Birthdate: August 1, 1770
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Caroline County
Died: September 1, 1838

 18 Steve Fossett

Steve Fossett
4
Famous As: Businessman
Birthdate: April 22, 1944
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Jackson, Tennessee, United States
Died: September 3, 2007

 19 Matthew Henson

Matthew Henson.
3
Famous As: First African-American to explore the North Pole
Birthdate: August 8, 1866
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Nanjemoy
Died: March 9, 1955

 20 Conrad Anker

Conrad Anker
3
Famous As: Explorer, Writer
Birthdate: November 27, 1962
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: California

 21 Jordan Romero

Jordan Romero
3
Famous As: Explorer, Writer, Mountaineer
Birthdate: July 12, 1996
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Redlands

 22 Zebulon Pike

Zebulon Pike
3
Famous As: Explorer, Military personnel
Birthdate: January 5, 1779
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Lamberton, New Jersey
Died: April 27, 1813

 23 Sylvia Earle

Sylvia Earle
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Famous As: Marine biologist
Birthdate: August 30, 1935
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Gibbstown, New Jersey, U.S.
Sylvia Earle is known for her research on marine algae and she was the first female chief scientist of the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Earle held the world record for the deepest untethered dive and was named by Time Magazine as its first Hero for the Planet, in 1998. She also featured in Netflix Original documentary Seaspiracy.

 24 Floyd Collins

Floyd Collins
3
Famous As: Explorer
Birthdate: July 20, 1887
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Kentucky
Died: February 13, 1925

 25 John Wesley Powell

John Wesley Powell.
3
Famous As: Explorer, Geologist
Birthdate: March 24, 1834
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Mount Morris
Died: September 23, 1902

John Wesley Powell was a geologist and explorer of the American West. He undertook a series of adventures as a young man and later joined the military. He is best known for the three-month-long geographic expedition he undertook down the Green and Colorado rivers. He was made the director of the U.S. Geological Survey in 1881.  

 26 John Colter

John Colter
3
Famous As: Military Person
Birthdate: 1774 AD
Birthplace: Stuarts Draft, Virginia, United States
Died: November 22, 1813

 27 Matthew Fontaine Maury

Matthew Fontaine Maury
3
Famous As: Astronomer
Birthdate: January 14, 1806
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Spotsylvania County, Virginia, United States
Died: February 1, 1873

American astronomer, naval officer, oceanographer and author Matthew Fontaine Maury, who first served the United States Navy and then the Confederacy States Navy, made significant contributions in oceanography. His book Physical Geography of the Sea is counted among the first comprehensive books on oceanography. Navies and merchant marines across the world adopted his uniform system of recording oceanographic data.

 28 Frederick Russell Burnham

Frederick Russell Burnham
3
Famous As: Explorer, Writer
Birthdate: May 11, 1861
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Blue Earth County
Died: September 1, 1947

 29 Jim Beckwourth

Jim Beckwourth
3
Famous As: Explorer
Birthdate: April 6, 1798
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Frederick County, Virginia, United States
Died: October 29, 1866

 30 Thomas Moran

Thomas Moran
3
Famous As: Explorer, Painter
Birthdate: February 12, 1837
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Bolton
Died: August 25, 1926

 31 Philippe Cousteau, Jr.

Philippe Cousteau, Jr.
3
Famous As: Environmental Advocate
Birthdate: January 20, 1980
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Santa Monica, California, U.S.

 32 Frederick Cook

Frederick Cook
3
Famous As: Explorer
Birthdate: June 10, 1865
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Hortonville, New York, United States
Died: August 5, 1940

 33 Roy Chapman Andrews

Roy Chapman Andrews
3
Famous As: Explorer
Birthdate: January 26, 1884
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Beloit, Wisconsin, United States
Died: March 11, 1960

 34 William Henry Jackson

William Henry Jackson
2
Famous As: Painter, Photographer, Explorer, Artist, Mountaineer
Birthdate: April 4, 1843
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Keeseville
Died: June 30, 1942

 35 Ann Bancroft

Ann Bancroft
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Famous As: Author
Birthdate: September 29, 1955
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Mendota Heights, Minnesota, United States

 36 Charles Wilkes

Charles Wilkes
2
Famous As: Naval Officer
Birthdate: April 3, 1798
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: New York, New York, United States
Died: February 8, 1877

 37 William Beebe

William Beebe
2
Famous As: Ornithologist
Birthdate: July 29, 1877
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: New York, United States
Died: June 4, 1962

 38 Adolphus Greely

Adolphus Greely
2
Famous As: Army Officer
Birthdate: March 27, 1844
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Newburyport, Massachusetts, United States
Died: October 20, 1935

 39 Mike Fink

Mike Fink
2
Famous As: Frontiersman
Birthdate: 1770 AD
Birthplace: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States
Died: 1823 AD

 40 Clarence King

Clarence King
2
Famous As: Clarence Rivers King
Birthdate: January 6, 1842
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Newport, Rhode Island, United States
Died: December 24, 1901

 41 Osa Johnson

Osa Johnson
2
Famous As: Filmmaker
Birthdate: March 14, 1894
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Chanute, Kansas, United States
Died: January 7, 1953

 42 Robert Gray

Robert Gray
2
Famous As: Explorer
Birthdate: May 10, 1755
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Tiverton, Rhode Island, United States
Died: June 30, 1806

 43 David Fairchild

David Fairchild
2
Famous As: Botanist
Birthdate: April 7, 1869
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Lansing, Michigan, United States
Died: August 6, 1954

 44 John Bartram

John Bartram
2
Famous As: Botanist
Birthdate: March 23, 1699
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Darby, Pennsylvania, United States
Died: September 22, 1777

 45 Paul Sereno

Paul Sereno
2
Famous As: Professor
Birthdate: October 11, 1957
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Aurora, Illinois, United States

 46 Charles Francis Hall

Charles Francis Hall
2
Famous As: Explorer
Birthdate: 1821 AD
Birthplace: Rochester, New Hampshire, United States
Died: November 8, 1871

 47 Lincoln Ellsworth

Lincoln Ellsworth
2
Famous As: Explorer
Birthdate: May 12, 1880
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Chicago, Illinois, United States
Died: May 26, 1951

 48 Christopher Gist

Christopher Gist
2
Famous As: Explorer
Birthdate: 1706 AD
Birthplace: Baltimore, Maryland, United States
Died: 1759 AD

 49 John Bozeman

John Bozeman
1
Famous As: Explorer
Birthdate: December 31, 1837
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Pickens County, Georgia, United States
Died: April 20, 1867

 50 Frank Piasecki

Frank Piasecki
1
Famous As: Engineer
Birthdate: October 24, 1919
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
Died: February 11, 2008

Aeronautical engineer Frank Piasecki was the first American to get a helicopter pilot’s license. Remembered as the pioneer of the tandem rotor design of helicopters, also known as the Flying Banana model. The National Medal of Technology winner had also designed the first helicopter for the American navy.