Francis Drake was an English explorer and naval officer. He is remembered for his Raiding Expedition, a prominent historical maritime event which unfolded between 1577 and 1580. Although Drake is considered a hero in the United Kingdom, his privateering led the Spanish to refer to him as a pirate. His expedition has also had a major cultural impact in Britain.
Carroll O'Connor was an American actor, director, and producer. In a TV career that spanned 40 years, O'Connor popularized several fictional characters, including Archie Bunker from the sitcom All in the Family, for which he received four Emmy Awards. In 1996, he was ranked 38th on the 50 Greatest TV Stars of All Time list published by TV Guide.
John Newton was an English Anglican cleric. As a young man, he was forcefully recruited into the navy and worked on slave ships in the slave trade for several years. He later converted to Christianity, following which he denounced slavery and became an abolitionist. He was then ordained as a Church of England cleric.
Henry FitzRoy, Duke of Richmond and Somerset, was the son of Henry VIII and his mistress Elizabeth Blount. Henry FitzRoy was the only illegitimate child acknowledged by King Henry VIII of England. In spite of being an illegitimate child, Henry FitzRoy was made Duke of Richmond and Somerset. He was later made Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland.
Part of Irish folklore, Grace O'Malley was known as The Pirate Queen. Born into a seafaring family and was known for her unrelenting attitude toward the English. Known for her exploits in the Nine Years' War, she refused to bow down to Queen Elizabeth, as she herself was a queen.
Swedish sailor Carl Emil Pettersson, who worked for Neuguinea-Compagnie, was shipwrecked while on a work trip in the Pacific. He was washed ashore and eventually became the ruler of Tabar Island in Papua New Guinea, after marrying the princess of the island. He also owned plantations and unearthed a gold deposit.
Scottish sailor William McMaster Murdoch was the First Officer on the RMS Titanic. The officer in charge on the bridge when the ship collided with an iceberg, he was one of the more than 1,500 casualties when the ship sank. He died under mysterious circumstances, and it is rumored that he died by suicide shortly after the collision.
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.
Katharina von Bora was a former nun, whose marriage with German professor of theology, priest, Augustinian monk, author and composer Martin Luther, a seminal figure of the Protestant Reformation, set a model for clerical marriage, permitting Protestant clergy to marry. She is often regarded to have played a key role in Reformation as she helped in defining Protestant family life.
Order of Australia Medal-winning Jessica Watson made headlines with her solo attempt of circumnavigating the world, though it fell short of the official criteria. The Australian sailor and explorer had grown up in a cabin cruiser and double-decker bus. She has recounted her experience in a documentary and a book.
Joshua Slocum was a seaman who became the first person to sail single-handedly around the world. He was also a noted writer and wrote a book about his journey, Sailing Alone Around the World; the book became an international bestseller. He disappeared in November 1909, during one of his sailing adventures. He was declared legally dead after a few years.
Danish explorer and cartographer Vitus Bering is remembered for his exploration of the Bering Strait and Alaska. Starting as a ship’s boy at 15, he got a breakthrough with Tsar Peter I’s voyage to the East Indies. He later led the First and Second Kamchatka Expeditions. The Bering Sea and Strait bear his name.