New Zealand-born Dutch sailor Laura Dekker was 14 when she began her path-breaking solo journey around the world aboard a ketch named Guppy. At 16, she reached the Caribbean and thus became the youngest person to complete a solo circumnavigation of the world. She later published a book on her experiences.
The son of a German dentist, Hermann Detzner grew up to be an engineer, topographer, and surveyor. He was also part of the German colonial troops in Cameroon and German New Guinea. Refusing to surrender to Australian troops, he and his forces explored the interiors of German New Guinea for 4 years.
Hans Staden was a German explorer and soldier. He is best remembered for his voyage to South America during the 16th century. During his voyage, Staden was held captive by the Tupinambá people. After his escape and return to Europe, Hans Staden documented his journey and claimed that the Tupinambá people of Brazil practiced cannibalism.
Carl Peters was a German explorer, colonial ruler, author, and politician. He is best remembered for founding the German East Africa Company. His life and career inspired the 1941 propaganda movie Carl Peters, in which Peters was played by popular German actor and singer Hans Albers.
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.
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.
Ferdinand von Richthofen, also known as Baron von Richthofen, was a German geographer who discovered quite a few places in and around China, thus contributing to his book China, the Results of My Travels and the Studies Based Thereon. He worked on chorography and chorology and also developed geomorphology.
German explorer and geographer Heinrich Barth was a pioneering European explorer of Africa. A linguist, he was not just fluent in languages such as French and Arabic, but he also learned several African languages. He also penned a 4-volume account of his experiences in Africa and taught at the University of Berlin.
German explorer, mathematician, and cartographer Carsten Niebuhr was part of the renowned Royal Danish Arabia Expedition, a voyage he was invited to by King Frederick V of Denmark himself. He was the only survivor of the expedition and later penned down his experiences. He was the father of Danish-German historian Barthold Georg Niebuhr.
Thomas Orde-Lees was a German explorer and mountaineer. A member of the Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition, Orde-Lees proved to be a proficient storekeeper during the expedition. Thomas Orde-Lees was also one of the first non-Japanese men to reach the peak of Mount Fuji during the winter.
Theodore of Corsica was a German adventurer best remembered for his brief service as the King of Corsica from March 1736 to November 1736. Theodore of Corsica later became the subject of G. Paisiello's comic opera, Il re Teodoro in Venezia.
German botanist and explorer Karl Friedrich Philipp von Martius is remembered for his Austrian expedition to Brazil. He went on to conduct extensive research on Brazilian flora. His best-known work remains the 3-volume Historia naturalis palmarum. He also taught and maintained a botanic garden in Munich.
German naturalist, ethnologist, and explorer Prince Maximilian of Wied-Neuwied is remembered for his pioneering expeditions to Brazil and to the American West. In the latter journey, he was accompanied by Swiss artist Karl Bodmer, who drew illustrations supporting Maximilian’s notes about the tribal culture and life there.
Gustav Adolf von Götzen was a German colonizer best remembered for his service as the Governor of German East Africa from 1901 to 1906. In 1905, Gustav Adolf von Götzen successfully suppressed the Maji Maji Rebellion, which threatened to take over the colony.
German missionary Johannes Rebmann became the first person to explore Africa from the continent’s Indian Ocean coast and also the first European to discover Mt. Kilimanjaro. Along with his associate Johann Ludwig Krapf, he also stumbled upon Mt. Kenya. His diary later revealed a lot about his experiences in Africa.
German explorer who served as a military surgeon in Central Africa and is remembered for his pioneering explorations of the Sahara. He was commissioned by the Prussian king William I to explore Bornu. He also covered Chad, Sudan, and Cairo, and was later sent to western Africa by Bismarck.
German explorer Hermann Wissmann is remembered for his pioneering expedition to the upper Congo basin. His studies were instrumental in Germany setting up colonies in East Africa. Part of the German Army, he also served as the imperial commissioner for East Africa. The forces under his command were known as Wissmanntruppe.
German geographer, cartographer, and military and political figure Curt von François had a significant role in the growth of German colonialism in Africa. He was in control of the German colonial army, or the Schutztruppe, in present-day Namibia. He was also instrumental in building the cities Windhoek and Swakopmund.
German explorer Karl Mauch made quite a few significant discoveries of geological and archaeological significance in southern Africa, such as the goldfields of Hartley Hills and the ruins of Great Zimbabwe. He, however, had initially intended to unearth the ruins of the biblical city of Ophir.
Wilhelm Filchner was a German explorer, scientist, and army officer. He is best remembered for leading major scientific surveys in China and Tibet. He also led the Second German Antarctic Expedition between 1911 and 1913. Wilhelm Filchner was the recipient of several prestigious awards and honors, including the German National Prize for Art and Science.
Philipp von Hutten was a German adventurer and explorer. He is best remembered for his service as Venezuela's last German captain general. One of the most important figures in the history of Welserland, Philipp von Hutten played a prominent role in influencing Charles V's decision to grant the province of Venezuela to the Welser family of Augsburg.
German naturalist and explorer Eduard Rüppell is remembered for his pioneering expedition to northeastern Africa. He was the first naturalist to explore Ethiopia, or Abyssinia. He also brought back many zoological and ethnographical samples to Europe for further research. He also published written accounts of his travel experiences.
Karl Weyprecht was an Austro-Hungarian explorer. He served as an officer in the Austro-Hungarian Navy and played an important role in the Austro-Sardinian War. He also achieved popularity as an Arctic explorer and co-led the Austro-Hungarian North Pole Expedition of 1872-1874 along with Julius von Payer. In 1875, Karl Weyprecht was honored with the prestigious Royal Geographical Society's Gold Medal.
Robert Hermann Schomburgk was a German-born explorer who carried out ethnological, botanical, and geographical studies in the West Indies and South America. Robert Hermann Schomburgk also fulfilled diplomatic missions on behalf of the Great Britain in Thailand and the Dominican Republic.
Julius Klaproth was a German historian, linguist, author, ethnographer, explorer, and orientalist. Along with Jean-Pierre Abel-Rémusat, Klaproth played an important role in categorizing East Asian Studies as scientific disciplines. As an Asiatologist, Julius Klaproth was well-versed in several Asian languages, such as Sanskrit, Manchu, Mongolian, Persian, Arabic, Turkish, and Chinese.
Being the son of a physician, geographer Gerhard Rohlfs was expected to take up medicine but was more interested in exploring uncharted territories and thus joined the French Foreign Legion. Best known for his journeys across North Africa, he had initially learned Arabic to travel to Morocco disguised as an Arab.
Karl Klaus von der Decken was a German explorer best remembered as the first European to make an attempt to climb Mount Kilimanjaro. He was the first European to document a sighting of Mount Meru, which he did during his 1862 expedition. In 1864, Karl Klaus von der Decken was honored by the Royal Geographical Society with the Patron's Medal.
Eduard Robert Flegel was a German explorer. He played a prominent role in the Partition of Africa. Flegel was commissioned by the German African Society to explore the Benue River basin. During the exploration in 1882, Eduard Robert Flegel identified the source of the Benue River at Ngaundere.
Adolf Overweg went down in history as the first person from Europe to circumnavigate Lake Chad. The German astronomer and geologist was part of a team that was sent to improve trade relations with Central Africa. Unfortunately, he died of a mysterious illness, which he contracted after swimming.
Friedrich Hornemann was a German explorer who lived and worked in Africa. He is best remembered as the first modern European to successfully cross the northeastern Sahara. Friedrich Hornemann later published a journal, which contained useful information about the then-unknown terrain of central Sudan.