Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama was the first to link Europe and Asia through an ocean route, when he reached Calicut in 1498, thus enriching Portuguese trade with Asia. He made a second voyage later. He was made Count of Vidigueira in 1519 and the viceroy of India in 1524.
Portuguese explorer, Ferdinand Magellan, is remembered for organizing the Spanish expedition to the East Indies from 1519 to 1522. A skilled sailor and naval officer, he was in service of the Portuguese crown in Asia. He was killed during the Battle of Mactan. The Pacific Ocean was often called the Sea of Magellan in his honor until the 18th century.
Bartolomeu Dias was a nobleman of the Portuguese royal household in the 15th century. Famous as an explorer, he sailed around the southernmost tip of Africa and set up a route from Europe to Asia. He became the first European to anchor in Cape Good Hope, South Africa, during the Age of Discovery. He perished in 1500.
Pedro Álvares Cabral was a Portuguese nobleman, navigator, explorer, and military commander. Regarded as a prominent figure of the Age of Discovery, Cabral is often remembered as one of the earliest Europeans to set his foot on Brazil. Pedro Álvares Cabral is also remembered for his voyage to India in a failed attempt to return to Europe with valuable spices.
Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo was an Iberian maritime explorer. He is best remembered for his explorations of the west coast of North America, which he undertook on behalf of the Spanish Empire. Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo is also remembered as the first European to explore modern-day California.
Francisco de Almeida was a Portuguese nobleman, explorer, and soldier. He served as a counsellor to John II of Portugal and played an important role during the conquest of Granada and in the battles against the Moors. Francisco de Almeida also served as the first viceroy and governor of Portuguese India in the early 1500s.
Diogo Cão was a Portuguese explorer best remembered for his immense contributions during the Age of Discovery. He was involved in two voyages in the 1480s, exploring the coasts of the present-day Namibia and Angola and the Congo River. Diogo Cão's life and career inspired one of Fernando Pessoa's best-known poems, Padrão.
Duarte Barbosa was a Portuguese writer best remembered for his work The Book of Duarte Barbosa, which is one of the oldest paradigms of Portuguese travel literature. Barbosa was part of the first voyage to circumnavigate the world in 1519. Barbosa is also remembered for his work as a scrivener in Kochi, India, where he was an interpreter of Malayalam.
Fernão Mendes Pinto was a Portuguese writer and explorer. He is best remembered for his autobiographical memoir titled Pilgrimage, which depicts his voyages. He is known for his voyages to the east, especially to India. Although the historical accuracy of his work is often debated, many aspects of his voyages, such as his work with Jesuit missionaries, can be verified.
João Fernandes Lavrador was a Portuguese explorer best remembered as the first modern explorer to explore the Northeast coasts of North America. The Labrador peninsula in eastern Canada is named after him. The famous dog breed Labrador Retriever is also named after the popular explorer.
Pêro da Covilhã was a Portuguese explorer and diplomat. His extensive travels to the modern day states of Morocco, Egypt, Italy, Greece, Spain, Ethiopia, and India played a major role in paving the way for the subsequent expeditions by the Portuguese, including Vasco da Gama's discovery of the sea route to India in 1497.
Lourenço de Almeida was a Portuguese military commander and explorer. The son of Francisco de Almeida, Lourenço played a major role in making modern day Sri Lanka a tributary to Portugal. Lourenço de Almeida established a settlement in Ceylon in 1505, thus enabling the augmentation of the Portuguese Empire in Asia.
Martim Afonso de Sousa was a Portuguese colonial administrator and explorer. He played a major role in the Portuguese acquisition of Diu, India, in 1535. He also served as the governor of the Portuguese State of India from 1542 to 1545.
Portuguese navigator and explorer Diogo Gomes is known for his West African voyage, which he took up on the orders of Prince Henry the Navigator. Though he claimed to have discovered the Cape Verde Islands, it had already been discovered by Alvise Ca’da Mosto in 1456.
João da Nova was a Portuguese-Galician explorer best remembered for exploring the Indian and Atlantic Oceans. He is credited with discovering Saint Helena and Ascension islands. João da Nova also played an important role in the Battle of Diu where the Portuguese defeated the great Muslim alliance, which enabled them to control the Indian Ocean.
Alexandre de Serpa Pinto was a Portuguese explorer and colonial administrator. His journey across Africa earned him the prestigious Founder's Medal from the Royal Geographical Society in 1881. Alexandre de Serpa Pinto also received many honorary memberships and awards for his achievements.
António de Saldanha was a Castilian-Portuguese explorer and diplomat. He is best remembered as the first European to set foot on Table Bay, South Africa. António de Saldanha is also remembered for making the first recorded ascent of the famous Table Mountain.
Álvaro Fernandes was a Portuguese explorer who worked under Prince Henry the Navigator. Fernandes is credited with captaining two prominent expeditions in 1445 and 1446, which helped expand the already discovered West African coast. Fernandes's farthest point would not be bettered for another 10 years until the expedition of Alvise Cadamosto in 1456.
Dinis Dias was a Portuguese explorer who started exploring when he was on the cusp of entering old age as he didn't want to let himself grow soft by getting entangled with the tranquillity of retired life. He set a new record by sailing down the West African coast and reaching a point about 500 miles south of Cap Blanc.
Francisco Barreto was a Portuguese explorer and soldier best remembered for his service as the viceroy of the Portuguese State of India. Barreto is also remembered for his final expedition to southeast Africa where he was sent to search the legendary gold mines. Francisco Barreto died in modern day Mozambique before he could reach the mines.
Álvaro Caminha was a Portuguese soldier and knight. He is best remembered for his service as the Governor of São Tomé and Príncipe islands, which the Portuguese discovered in 1470 and ruled until its independence in 1975. Álvaro Caminha, who served under King John II, was told to settle, populate, and Christianize the island along with his family and friars.
Sancho de Tovar was a Portuguese nobleman, explorer, and navigator who played an important role during the Portuguese Age of Discovery. He and his fleet, where he was the vice-admiral, are credited with discovering Brazil in 1500. Sancho de Tovar went on to become the Governor of Sofala, which helped him conduct a number of exploratory missions in present-day Mozambique.