Pagina principale Explorers, Amazing Tales of World’s Greatest Adventurers

Explorers, Amazing Tales of World’s Greatest Adventurers

Anno: 2019
Editore: DK Publishing
Lingua: english
Pagine: 146
File: PDF, 125.57 MB
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EXPLORERS
AMAZING TALES OF THE WORLD’S
GREATEST ADVENTURERS

Illustrated by Jessamy Hawke
Written by Nellie Huang

www.dk.com

N
E
T
TS
N
O
C
4

Foreword

SEA & ICE
8
10
12
14
16
18
20
22
24
26
28
30
32
34
36
38

Pytheas
Leif Erikson
Zheng He
The Age of Exploration
Christopher Columbus
Voyage to the Americas
Vasco da Gama
Ferdinand Magellan
The Dark Side
of Exploration
James Cook
Jeanne Baret
Bungaree
Matthew Henson
Roald Amundsen
& Robert Falcon Scott
Scott's Supplies
Ernest Shackleton

40
42
44
46
48
50
52

Jacques Cousteau
Thor Heyerdahl
Barbara Hillary
Sylvia Earle
Robert Ballard
Ranulph Fiennes
Sung-Taek Hong

LAND
56
58
60
62
64
66
68
70
72

Xuanzang
Rabban Bar Sauma
Marco Polo
Marco Polo’s Influence
Ibn Battuta
Hernán Cortés
Esteban Dorantes
Alexander von Humboldt
Meriwether Lewis,
William Clark & Sacagawea
74 Fort Clatsop
76 Charles Darwin

To my wonderful dad Peter, who travelled the world,
and then became the centre of ours.
Jessamy
Illustrator Jessamy Hawke
Author Nellie Huang
Historical consultant Dr Stephen Haddelsey
Senior Editor Sam Priddy
Senior Designer Joanne Clark

2

Editor Sally Beets
Designer Bettina Myklebust Stovne
Editorial Assistants Katie Lawrence,
Seeta Parmar
Additional editorial Jolyon Goddard, Kathleen Teece
Additional design Katie Knutton
Jacket Co-ordinator Issy Walsh
Picture Researcher Sumedha Chopra
Managing Editor Laura Gilbert
Managing Art Editor Diane Peyton Jones
Senior Producer, Pre-Production Nikoleta Parasaki
Producer Ena Matagic

&

CE
A
SP

AI
R

78 Darwin's Discoveries
80 David Livingstone &
Henry Morton Stanley
82 Henri Mouhot
84 Francisco Moreno
86 Nellie Bly
88 Gertrude Bell
90 Ynés Mexia
92 Annie Londonderry
94 Howard Carter
96 Inside the Tomb
98 Treasure from Afar
100 Hiram Bingham
102 Freya Stark
104 Recording the Journey
106 Aloha Wanderwell
108 The Villas-Boâs Brothers
110 Edmund Hillary
& Tenzing Norgay
112 Junko Tabei
114 Karen Darke
116 Mario Rigby

120 Amelia Earhart
122 Charles Lindbergh
124 Yuri Gagarin
& Valentina Te; reshkova
126 Journey to the Moon
128 Moon Landing
130 Mae Jemison
132 Namira Salim
134 Where to Next?
136 More Adventurers
140 Glossary
142 Index
144 Acknowledgements

All rights reserved.
No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in or introduced into a
retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form, or by any means (electronic,
mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise), without the prior written
permission of the copyright owner.
Creative Director Helen Senior
Publishing Director Sarah Larter
First published in Great Britain in 2019 by
Dorling Kindersley Limited
80 Strand, London, WC2R 0RL
Copyright © 2019 Dorling Kindersley Limited
A Penguin Random House Company
10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1
001–310525–Sept/2019

A CIP catalogue record for this book
is available from the British Library.
ISBN: 978-0-2413-4378-4
Printed and bound in Malaysia
A WORLD OF IDEAS:
SEE ALL THERE IS TO KNOW

www.dk.com

3

FOREWORD
by Barbara Hillary

I was thrilled when I heard about the plans for this book devoted to
explorers, and I am honoured to be part of it. After all, many of the lives
and stories included here served as inspiration for my own explorations.
What does it mean to be an explorer? Whether scaling mountains, pushing
into the frontiers of space, or plumbing the depths of the sea, what do we all
have in common? It’s a driving curiosity, a thirst for discovery, and a desire
to test the limits of our minds, bodies, and the world around us. Courage and
perseverance are a big part of every explorer’s story, too. Sure, every
explorer faces doubts – sometimes their own doubts, and sometimes the
doubts of other people who have different ideas of what is possible. Then
there are the unpredictable setbacks and seemingly insurmountable
obstacles that arise in every journey. You will read about plenty of those in
this book, and it adds to the excitement. But what prevails in the best
explorers is their determination, self-confidence, and drive.
They persevere. They are resilient!

4

As a young girl growing up in Harlem in New York, USA, I did not know
that I would reach the North and South Poles in my 70s, see a polar bear in
its natural habitat, and stand transfixed by a vast landscape of snow and ice.
Over time, with education, imagination, and nurturing by mentors and
supporters, my dream unfolded – and I achieved it!
In the same way, you, reading this now, might not know just how you
might challenge yourself, push beyond so-called limits, and establish
your own unique relationship with the world. But I encourage you, as
you read these stories of explorers, to ponder: Where might your sense
of adventure take you? What challenges could you seek out? How
would you prepare? What qualities will you take with you? And
how will you define your own success?
Happy exploring.

5

SEA & ICE

6

F

or centuries, explorers have
been lured by the secrets of
the sea. Whether they were navigators
on long voyages through unknown waters,
divers eager to solve a shipwreck mystery, or part
of an expedition sailing to far frozen lands, these explorers
have faced serious survival challenges. The tales of the sea
and ice are not for the faint-hearted...

7

PYTHEAS

Ancient Greek explorer
4th century bce

S

ailing northwards from his Greek colony, Pytheas
visited wind-battered islands where people dug
deep into the Earth for metal. He later wrote about
his trips, although only scraps of this record
survive. His tales of strange northern landscapes
where days lasted longer sounded more like
stories from Greek myths than real places.

Nothing is known about Pytheas’s youth, but
in around 330 bce he set off on an expedition
northwards. The people of his home city of
Massalia (now Marseille, France) used
weapons, pots, and other objects made
out of a metal called tin. This material
came from abroad, and Pytheas may
have been looking for new ways to
transport it. His ship was probably
a huge Greek warship called a
trireme. These could cover almost
90 km (56 miles) in a day. A warship
would have been an amazing sight for
many of the people Pytheas met on his
travels, who used tiny boats made from
woven plant material and animal skin.
8

Statue of Pytheas in Marseille

ICELAND
On the Shetland
Islands he was told of
the mysterious land of
Thule (which might
have been Iceland).

His first landing in
Britain is thought to
have been Cantion,
which is now Kent.

He passed through the
Pillars of Hercules –
two points of high
land either side
of the Strait
of Gibraltar.

SPAIN

BRITAIN

FRANCE
Massalia

Pytheas kept within sight of coastlines and used the position
of the Sun to work out how far north he was. He reached a land of
tin-miners within a few months – Britain. Pytheas explored the
country on foot, finding out about the lives of its people, who
were ruled over by kings. He was also the first to roughly
work out the distance around Britain’s coast. Pytheas
then claimed to have sailed north until he reached a
place bordered by icy ocean that seemed to be at
the edge of the world. He called it Thule. The
summer Sun shone above Thule for most of
the day and night. When the Sun did set,
beautiful green lights sometimes filled the
sky – the Northern Lights.

The route north
Pytheas began in Massalia, which is
now Marseilles, France. He sailed
around Spain, along the Portuguese
and French coasts, and on to the
British Isles. He is said to have then
gone on to Thule, which is thought
to be modern-day Iceland.

Pytheas wrote a book called On the Ocean
about his northern journey and another about
a second trip to the Elbe and Rhine rivers in
what is now Germany. While travelling, he
also became the first person to notice that the
Moon is linked to the tides. Much of what the
ancient Greeks knew about Northern Europe
was thanks to Pytheas.

Pytheas wrote about
the Northern Lights
and an ocean full of
ice around Thule.

9

T

he Viking Leif Erikson and his crew were the first Europeans known to have
set foot on North American soil. We know about Leif’s tale from Icelandic
sagas, which are a mixture of history and made-up stories.
Leif was the son of Erik the Red, who was exiled from Iceland after arguing with and
killing a number of neighbours. So, when Leif was just a child, he and his family sailed
to a deserted land that Erik called Greenland.
There are several stories about Leif’s journey to North America. In The Saga of the
Greenlanders, a grown-up Leif hears about the misty shores of an unexplored land
from a trader. Leif gathered a crew and sailed
westwards to find it. They arrived at a
grassless, rocky area (thought to be
Baffin Island, Canada). Sailing on took
GREENLAND
them to a forested land (possibly
BAFFIN
Labrador, Canada) and finally a
ISLAND
place where grapevines were
ICELAND
found. Grapes were used to make
LABRADOR
wine in Europe, and Leif called the
area Vinland, or “wineland”. They
built wooden houses and stayed for
one winter, feasting on the large salmon
NEWFOUNDLAND
found in that part of the world.

The journey west
Leif’s journey from
Greenland to North America
may have gone first to Baffin
Island, on to Labrador, and
then to Newfoundland.

After returning home, Leif’s stories of Vinland
led a group of Vikings to return to the settlement.
They stayed for a few years, meeting native
Americans who they traded with and occasionally
fought. Almost 1,000 years later, the remains of Viking
buildings that may have been part of the Vinland
settlement were discovered in Newfoundland, Canada.

LE
I F ERIKSON
10

Viki
ng explorer of North America
c.970 - c.1020

Who were the Vikings?
The Vikings were people from the Scandinavian
countries of Northern Europe between the 8th and
11th centuries. Their violent raids on settlements
and monasteries earned them a bad reputation.
People became so scared of the Vikings that they
simply handed over their belongings! However,
the Vikings were also explorers who settled in
new lands and traded with other nations.

L’Anse aux Meadows
in Newfoundland,
Canada, dates back to
the time of the Vinland
settlement in Leif’s story.

Leif and his crew
would have sailed
on a traditional
Viking longship.

11

Each treasure ship was
120 m (400 ft) long,
with nine masts and
four decks. They were
the largest ships in
the world.

Zheng He’s first fleet
had at least 60
treasure ships.

Zheng He’s ship was far
bigger than European
ships of that period.

ZHENG HE
Chinese explorer
and admiral
1371-1433

F

rom captured servant boy to influential world
explorer, Zheng He overcame the odds through his
hard work and leadership. Born into a Muslim family,
Zheng He, or Ma He as he was then known, dreamed of
going to the holy city of Mecca. When the Ming Army
invaded his town and captured him to work as a servant
in the royal palace, he must have thought his dreams of
travelling were over. However, he tried to make the best of his
situation by making friends in high places and learning as much
as he could about warfare, ships, and weapons. He soon became a
trusted member of the court. He was promoted to admiral and given
the reward of a new name: Zheng He.

12

Emperor of the Ming Dynasty, Yongle, was keen
for China to explore overseas to extend the
country’s influence and to trade goods. He built
the Treasure Fleet, a large group of ships and
vessels. He ordered Zheng He to lead the fleet
and represent the Chinese imperial court. In July
1405, Zheng He set sail on his first voyage with
a fleet of 317 vessels that carried 28,000 men.
Around a quarter of the ships were “treasure
ships”, which held the luxurious gifts they had
traded for, such as spices. They sailed to Vietnam,
then Java (Indonesia), the Spice Islands (Malaysia),
and Cochin (India).
celain
Por
Spi

Some people have claim
ed that Zheng He create
d one of
the first maps of the wo
rld, but this has been wi
dely
disputed by historians.

ces

Ge

ms
Silks

The ships contained terr
ific t
rade
dt
Over the next 30 years,
rea
Zheng He led six more voyages
su
with huge fleets, sailing all the way to
r
Arabia and Africa. They visited royal
.
es

Nautical compasses like this one were
used by Chinese navigators during
the Ming Dynasty.

families and built relations with foreign rulers.
Zheng He traded goods like gold, silver, and silk for
exotic offerings that people in China had never seen
before, such as ivory. One African ruler even gave him
a giraffe and a zebra! Zheng He died on his final voyage
and was buried at sea. His voyages widened China’s
influence on the world, however when the emperor
died all explorations were stopped.

13

Martin Frobisher
This Englishman made three voyages
between 1574 and 1578 in search of
the Northwest Passage – a sea route
between the Atlantic and Pacific
Oceans. Instead, he landed in
northeastern Canada.

Jacques Cartier
Frenchman Jacques made
three voyages to Canada
between 1534 and 1542,
claiming it for the French.

Francis Drake
This English explorer circumnavigated
the world from 1577 to 1580. He raided
many Spanish colonies and sailed far up
the western coast of America.

Drake’s vo

NORTH
AMERICA

Pacific
Ocean

voyage

Key
Spanish expeditions
Dutch expeditions
English expeditions
Portuguese expeditions
French expeditions
Some nations’
expeditions were led
by explorers of a
different nationality.

14

John Cabot
In 1497, this Italian explorer
crossed the Atlantic Ocean
and claimed parts of
Canada for England.

Christopher
Columbus

yage

De Loaísa’s voyage
Magellan’s

EUROPE

Ferdinand
Magellan

Italian navigator Christopher
sailed from Spain in 1492 and
accidentally came across
the “New World”.

SOUTH
AMERICA

Atlantic
Ocean
Pedro Álvarez
Cabral

In 1519, this Portuguese
explorer was hired by the
Spanish king to search for
a sea route to the Spice
Islands (today’s Maluku
Islands in Indonesia). He
became the first European
to cross the Pacific Ocean.

Garcia Jofre
de Loaísa
Sent by King Charles I of
Spain in 1525 to conquer the
Spice Islands, Spaniard Garcia
sailed through the Straits of
Magellan, near the bottom of
South America, to get there.

Portuguese soldier
Pedro was the first
European to explore
Brazil, which he claimed
for Portugal in 1500.
He then sailed around
Africa before landing
on the western
coast of India.

Arctic
Ocean
Willem Barents
Hugh Willoughby
In 1533, this Englishman set
out in search of the Northeast
Passage – a northeastern sea
route to Asia. However, he
only managed to reach
Norway and Russia.

ASIA

Dutch navigator Willem also tried to
find the Northeast Passage. He made
three voyages in the 1590s but failed.
On his third voyage, he was stranded
for almost a year in Siberia.

Pacific
Ocean

Fernão Pires
de Andrade
In 1517, Portuguese
merchant Fernão sailed
to Canton (today’s
Guangzhou) in China.
There, he set up
a trade relationship
with the Chinese.

Juan Sebastián Elcano
This Spaniard was the first person to
circumnavigate the world. He set off
with Ferdinand Magellan in 1519.
After Ferdinand’s death in the
Philippines, Juan sailed on, making
it home to Spain in 1522.
Drake’s voya

AFRICA

De

Vasco da Gama
Sailing from Lisbon in 1497,
Portuguese explorer Vasco
was the first European to
reach India by sea.

Indian
Ocean

Mag

Loa

ísa’

ellan

s vo

’s vo

ge

yag
e

yage

AUSTRALIA

THE AGE OF EXPLORATION
T

he period of history between 1488 and 1597, when Europeans began exploring the world
by sea, is called the Age of Exploration. The explorers were all men, as inequality meant
that there were fewer opportunities for women to take part in such feats. Sailing far and wide
to find new trading routes, the journeys were often dangerous. The explorers brought back
silver and gold, previously unknown plants, animals, and foods, and new ideas. Sadly, the
opening up of the rest of the world to Europeans would lead to the deaths of many native
people and the forced movement of millions of Africans to the Americas.
15

CHRISTOPHER
COLUMBUS

Genoese navigator
and explorer
c.1451-1506

D

uring the 15th century, many European
leaders paid for expeditions to seek out a
new route to Asia. They wanted access to the
precious silks and spices produced by India
and China. Christopher Columbus was an
experienced navigator who had been sailing
around the Mediterranean since he was a
boy. He wanted to sail from Europe to
Asia across the Atlantic Ocean.
Christopher proposed his plan to
many rulers, but only two
accepted it – King Ferdinand
and Queen Isabella of Spain.

Christopher took three
ships: the Niña, the Pinta,
and the Santa María.

16

Key
Voyage 1
Voyage 2
On his first
expedition,
Christopher
reached the
Caribbean.

Voyage 3
Voyage 4

During his last
voyage, he explored
the coast of Central
America.
On his third
voyage, Christopher
confirmed the
existence of
South America.

On 12 October 1492, after two months at sea,
Christopher and his crew finally sighted the West
Indies. He believed he had reached Asia, when in
reality he was on the other side of the world! In
the Caribbean, he encountered peaceful
and friendly indigenous people who he
called “indios” (Spanish for “Indians”).
Before returning to Spain, Christopher
started the first European settlement
on the island of Hispaniola, leaving
some of his crew behind.

ar c

ane
bean

s

Sug

The Atlantic
Ocean

On 3 August 1492,
Christopher set sail
from Spain on his
first voyage.

His second voyage
took him on a
more southerly
route than the
first expedition.

ee
Coff

The arrival of the Europeans
meant that coffee from Africa
and sugar from Asia made
their way to the Americas,
while native American crops
like the potato spread around
the world. To the end of his
life, Christopher continued to
believe he had gone to Asia
and never knew he had reached
the Americas!

Four voyages
Christopher Columbus took four trips
to the Americas to look for wealth, but
returned to Spain without finding the
unlimited source of gold that he
had hoped for.

However, the Europeans were often violent
and cruel towards the “indios”, who did not
want to be ruled by the Spanish. During
Christopher’s second voyage, he enslaved
many indigenous people, over half of whom
died on the voyage back to Spain. The Spanish
monarchs were not happy as he had disobeyed
their orders to maintain good relations with
the locals. However, the royals agreed to fund
his third and fourth voyages, which were
focused on exploring the coast of Central
and South America.

Christopher claimed
the Caribbean
islands for Spain.

17

Following the
light of the Sun
we left the
old world.

C

olumbus took three
ships on his first
ambitious passage to the
New World – the Niña, the
Pinta, and the Santa María.
The last of these was the
most important as it was the
flagship, which means it carried
the leader of the expedition. As they
were all second-hand merchant vessels,
the ships were tiny and not designed for
exploration. Conditions on board were not
comfortable, and the sailors slept on the floor.
Columbus navigated the ship using the
position of the stars, Sun, and Moon.

18

VOYAGE
TO THE
AMERICAS

The Santa
María

The largest sail on
the ship is called
the mainsail.

The bottom of the ship was
weighted down with rocks, called
ballast, which helped to keep the
ship stable and upright.

Food on the ship
The ropes on a ship’s masts
and sails are known as
rigging. They support the
masts and are used to raise
and lower the sails.
The lookout post is
called the “crow’s nest”.

Columbus’s voyage was only
possible because the crew sailed
with dried and preserved food
that could be kept for months
without rotting.

Flags showed
where the ship
was from.

Hard tack is a thick biscuit
made from flour. To soften it,
sailors would dunk it in coffee or
cook it. It often became worminfested, but they ate it anyway!
Columbus had his own
room and the only bed
on the ship.

Salted meat was a major protein
source for the crew. Beef and
pork were preserved by covering
them in lots of salt.

Dried pulses were a staple of
the crew’s diet. Columbus and
his crew often ate lentil stew
and boiled beans.

The ship was filled with
food and drink for the
journey, as well as
goods to trade.

The storage area
below deck was
called the hold.

The rudder steered
the boat. It was
controlled by a
beam at the top
called the tiller.

19

G
A
M
A
D
A
O
C
S
navigator
e
s
e
u
g
A
u
t
V Por 1460-1524
D

id you know there was a time when spices were some
of the most sought-after products in the world? They don’t
grow well in Europe’s colder climate, so explorers tried to find new,
fast routes to Africa and Asia to trade for them.
One such explorer was Vasco da Gama. He was asked by King John II of
Portugal to lead a voyage to find a route to India by sea, at a time when the
only way to get there was by land – which was a long and expensive journey.
Vasco set off on the expedition from Lisbon, Portugal, in 1497.

Spices like cloves and
pepper, and fruit
such as oranges and
pomegranates were
in high demand
during the 15th
century.

Vasco’s expedition followed earlier routes at first – they sailed along the west coast
of Africa until they reached today’s Sierra Leone. They then sailed into the Atlantic
Ocean for three months, which was the longest sea journey ever undertaken at
that time. Vasco made several more stops in Africa, during which time he faced
rebellion by members of the crew and outbreaks of a disease called scurvy,
which they treated with oranges. In Malindi (in modern-day Kenya), Vasco
hired a navigator to help them successfully cross the Indian Ocean to
reach India. They returned from India with cargo worth 60 times
the cost of the expedition. Vasco became the first person in
history to sail from Europe to India, and by opening up
a new trade route from west to east, he
changed the course of history.

Vasco’s expedition of 147 men travelled on four
vessels: São Gabriel, São Rafael, Berrio, and a
big store-ship to carry the supplies. Only 54 men
returned, as many died of scurvy.

20

After meeting the Sultan (the Islamic king) of
Mozambique, Vasco was forced to flee because
the Sultan did not trust him or like the gifts that
had been offered. Vasco angrily fired cannons
from his ship as they escaped.

India
When Vasco arrived in
Kappadu, India, the local
ruler, called the Zamorin, met
him with 3,000 armed soldiers.
The Zamorin was not impressed
with the trinkets that Vasco
brought to trade, so they did
not form an alliance, but Vasco
nevertheless returned to Portugal
with a huge cargo.

EUROPE

Stone pillars
Vasco sailed with four huge stone
pillars that he planned to erect in
lands they visited. One of them still
stands in Malindi, Kenya.

INDIA

AFRICA
Cape of
Good Hope
It was here that
Vasco’s crew rebelled,
as they were scared
of going any further
in unexplored waters.
Vasco put several
crew members in chains.

Malindi
The Sultan of Malindi was
friendly towards Vasco,
providing him with an
expert navigator.

Mombasa
Vasco described Mombasa as
being full of pleasant fruit.
However, his men looted
local boats, so they had to
leave before long.

Later voyages
Vasco went on two more
voyages to India, but did not
behave well. During his second
trip, he attacked Arab and
Indian ships and stole from
them. He died during his third
trip to India.

21

F

D
N
N
A
N LLA

FER
MA DI
GE

erdinand Magellan sought to prove that he could find a
new route from Europe to Asia, but ended up proving
something much more ground-breaking: that our world is
round. Ferdinand was a Portuguese captain, thirsty
for fame and fortune, who had fallen out with
the king of Portugal. He decided to offer his
services to the Spanish king, Charles V. In
the early 1500s, Portugal had control of the
eastern route to the “Spice Islands” in today’s Indonesia,
so Ferdinand convinced King Charles that he could lead
a voyage travelling west.

Ferdinand began the expedition with a large crew of 270 men.

In 1519, Ferdinand set sail from Spain
with a fleet of five ships. It took them
one month to cross the Atlantic Ocean
and reach Brazil, South America.
Ferdinand then searched for a passage
to sail through South America. This was far
from easy. His crew were constantly rebelling
and trying to overthrow him because of bad
conditions and lack of food, and storms raged.
Many of the crew were calling for the expedition
to be called off and to return home. Ferdinand
dealt with these rebellions by issuing harsh
punishments, including execution.

22

The Strait of
Magellan –
the passage
named after
Ferdinand.

Portug

Ferdinand refused to give up, and five months
later they finally found a passage through
South America, which was later named
after him. The journey across the strait
was treacherous, but they eventually
emerged to find a vast, calm ocean that
Ferdinand named the Pacific. They were
the first known Europeans ever to see it.
This ocean was much larger than they
thought, and they ran out of food during
the three months that it took them to find
land. They managed to stock up on the
Pacific Island of Guam, before sailing on
to the Philippines, where Ferdinand
became friends with the locals. He
helped them fight their enemies but
was unfortunately killed after being
shot by a poisoned arrow.

ues
en
av

gat

i

21
0 -15
148
or

Around
the world
Although experts from
Ferdinand’s time thought our
Earth was spherical, many
people still believed it was flat.
Ferdinand’s around-the-world
voyage proved beyond doubt
that the Earth is round.

Illness, starvation, punishment, storms, and battles meant that
only one ship of 18 men returned to Seville, Spain.

Ferdinand never made it to the Spice Islands but two
of his ships did. Only one ship, the Vittoria, captained by
Juan Sebastián Elcano, completed the return voyage,
carrying just 18 men and a boat full of spices. It was the
first voyage to travel all the way around the world.

23

THE DARK SIDE
OF EXPLORATION
E

xploration has led to the sharing of knowledge about different cultures,
animals, and landscapes around the world. However, it also has had many
terrible consequences, including disease, the slave trade, and even murder.
Some of these negative effects are still being felt today.

Slaves were treated very
badly. They were beaten
and forced to wear
shackles, which are chains
that restrict your
movements.

When the Spanish invaded Mexico they
introduced smallpox, which killed many
native Aztec people.

Disease
Diseases such as smallpox,
influenza, and syphilis were carried
by explorers to the places they
visited. In the Americas this caused
outbreaks that killed whole tribes
of native people.

24

Slavery
When Europeans settled in the Americas, they needed
people to work on tobacco, cotton, and sugar-cane
fields. They captured many African people and
shipped them to the Americas, where they were
forced to work for no money. Slavery lasted hundreds
of years and was only banned in the USA in 1865.

Colonization
Colonization is when one group of people
settle in a new land and take it over. This has
negative consequences, including the loss of
traditions and mistreatment of local people.
European colonizers made changes to
languages, religions, and cultures that still
impact the countries they invaded today.
They imposed their forms of government and
constructed European-style buildings.

The dodo was a bird from
the island of Mauritius, in
the Indian Ocean, which
was hunted by European
settlers so much that
it completely died out.

The European
architecture
of Viceroy’s
House in New
Delhi, India, is
one way British
colonizers left
their mark.

Violence
Unfortunately, explorers were
rarely ever peaceful. In 1904, Francis
Younghusband led a military expedition
to Tibet where hundreds of Tibetans were
killed. Hernán Cortés and Christopher
Columbus were also responsible for
terrible acts of violence.

Extinction
Some animals were hunted by explorers until
they became extinct (died out). Others lost their
habitats when explorers seized land for farming
or housing. Explorers also introduced new
animals, such as rats from their ships, that spread
diseases and preyed upon native species.

Around 1,200 years ago,
Vikings explored Europe.
They used weapons like this
double-edged sword when
raiding new lands.

25

C
S
O
E
O
K
M
A
J British cartographer

In Tahiti, James and
the astronomer Charles
Green used telescopes to
look at the transit of
Venus across the Sun.

and navigator 1728-1779

A

ll aboard! Let’s take a trip back in time with the legendary
Captain Cook, one of the world’s greatest adventurers. This British
explorer sailed and mapped the entire eastern coast of Australia, paving
the way to its colonization by the British. He also made the first European
contact with the Hawaiian Islands and even crossed the Antarctic Circle.
He went to places where no other human had been before.
James was only 18 years old when he became an apprentice to a shipowner.
During the day, he learned how to be a seaman. By night, he studied mathematics,
geography, and astronomy. His hard work paid off – he was sent to Canada by
the British Royal Navy to map the coast of Newfoundland. It was during this time
that he became a master at navigating and making maps (cartography). Britain’s
Royal Society noticed his skills and chose him to lead an expedition. James
accepted the challenge, and set off in 1768 aboard HMS Endeavour.
James’s first major task was to sail to the island of Tahiti, in the Southern
Pacific Ocean. There, he would take notes on the 1769 transit, or passing, of the
planet Venus across the face of the Sun. James then sailed on to
search for the unknown southern continent known as
After observing the transit
Terra Australis Incognita. On the way, he came to New
of Venus in Tahiti, James
opened secret sealed
Zealand, which the Dutch explorer Abel Tasman had
instructions for the next part
reached more than a hundred
of his voyage. They told him
to head south to look for
years earlier.
an unknown continent.

In June 1770, the Endeavour struck
the Great Barrier Reef, off the
northeastern coast of Australia.

26

I should have taken
it for a wild dog
but for its running,
in which it jumped
like a hare.
James sailed around New Zealand, mapping
its coastline. After that, he crossed the Tasman Sea
and arrived at the eastern coast of Australia. James was
the first European to explore this region. He entered Botany
Bay, where he made his first contact with the Australian
Aboriginal people. James also saw all sorts of interesting animals
and plants unknown to Europeans, including the kangaroo.
James travelled more than 3,200 km (2,000 miles) of Australia’s
eastern coast and navigated the Great Barrier Reef. However, the
Endeavour ran aground on the reef, and the expedition had to stop
for several weeks to repair the ship. Finally, they returned home in
July 1771, almost three years after setting out.
James would later go on two more great voyages across the world.
On his second voyage (1772–1775), he sailed as far south as the
Antarctic Circle and explored many islands in the South Pacific
and South Atlantic. In 1776, he set off on his third voyage,
returning to the South Pacific before heading north as far as
the Arctic Ocean. James never completed
this voyage. He was killed on the island
of Hawaii in 1779, but still lives on
as a hero to all explorers.

Three naturalists, led by
Joseph Banks, were on
board the Endeavour. They
collected many specimens
of plants and animals from
the places they explored.
There were also two artists
with them to sketch the
new discoveries.

On James’s second voyage, he became
the first person to venture into the
Antarctic Circle. However, ice and fog
prevented him from reaching Antarctica.

27

E
N
B
N
A
E
J French botanist and AexpRlorET
er

1740 -1807

T

he first woman to sail around the world went undercover –
as a man! At a time when naval ships carried a silly “no girls
allowed” rule, Jeanne Baret dressed in men’s clothes to join
France’s first ever around-the-world voyage. She used her
knowledge of plants to find many weird and wonderful flowers and trees
that were brought back to France for the first time.

or
t
c
c
e
o
l
l
b
r
e
h
From
ory-maker
t
s
i
h
to

28

nn
Je a

Jeanne got a job as a housekeeper for Philibert de Commerson,
who also happened to be mad about plants. His wife died and
the two began to fall in love. When Philibert was asked by
the explorer Louis-Antoine, Comte de Bougainville, to
be the botanist for an expedition around the world,
he asked Jeanne to come too.

eB

a

Jeanne was born in the beautiful French countryside of the Loire Valley.
Her family were probably poor farm-workers who couldn’t afford to send
her to school. However, she came to learn about botany (the study of
plants). Jeanne is said to have been so knowledgeable that she was
t
known as “the herb woman”.
re

Philibert named
the flowering vine
“Bougainvillea” after
the captain of the Étoile.

Ba

re

t

There was only one problem – the French Navy did not allow
women onboard. So Philibert and Jeanne hatched a plan. She
would pretend to be a man and Philibert would hire her as his
assistant. Jeanne took on a man’s name, flattened her chest with
bandages, and dressed in a set of men’s clothes. She turned up just
as the ship was ready to depart and introduced herself as “Jean”.
The plan worked and they set sail onboard the Étoile.

Je

an

More than 100 men lived aboard the Étoile,
which sailed around the world from 1766
to 1769.

Philibert was often ill and stayed on the ship while Jeanne went hunting for plants
at the Étoile’s stopping points. She came across exotic vines and strange flowers
that no one from Europe had seen before. She even named a few! It was on
the South Pacific island of Tahiti that her fellow sailors finally found out her
secret. The couple stayed with the ship until it stopped at Mauritius for
supplies. While living on the island, Philibert passed away. Jeanne finally
finished her global journey when she sailed back to France a
few years later. She lived there for the rest of her life.

Philibert named
a plant “Baretia”,
after Jeanne. It is now
known by a name
given to it earlier –
“Turraea”, after a
director of the Padua
Botanic Garden.

On the journey, Philibert
created
a herbarium (book of dri
ed
plants) of hundreds of spe
cies.

29

F

or over 50,000 years, the Aboriginal people were the only ones
who lived in Australia. But then the British Empire came in
1788 and took over using force. The British began to explore the
country with the help of Aboriginal guides who knew their
home better than anyone else. One such person was
Bungaree. The Aboriginal leader from the
Broken Bay area in New South Wales was
chosen because he was hugely respected
among his people.

The route that Bungaree took when
sailing around Australia and
mapping its coastline.

In 1798, Bungaree was employed on
board the HMS Reliance to Norfolk
Island, off Australia’s east coast.
This is when he met Matthew
Flinders, a navigator who was so
impressed by Bungaree’s attitude
and communication skills, that he
hired him to become his guide and
translator for his next voyages.

BOO
NGAREE
F
B

EF
CHI

TH
RI
E BR
OKEN BAY T

E

O

Bungaree, or Boongaree,
was a leader of the
Kuringgai people from
the Broken Bay area.
He was given this metal
breastplate by Governor
Lachlan Macquarie.

Bungaree joined Matthew
on a voyage around Australia
between 1801 and 1803. Flinders
created the first complete map
of Australia.

NGAREE
BUAboriginal

Australian explorer
1775-1830
30

Matthew described Bungaree as
“a worthy and brave fellow” who
played an important role in the
expeditions. When Bungaree and
Matthew sailed around Australia, Bungaree became the first
person born there to circumnavigate the continent. Matthew
chose the name “Australia” and, later, Bungaree became the
first person to be described in writing as “Australian”.
In 1817, Bungaree joined Phillip Parker King on the
HMS Mermaid to voyage to northwest Australia,
where again he proved himself to be a
skilled peacekeeper and interpreter.
Bungaree was a natural entertainer
who loved impersonating different
governors. The good relationship that
Bungaree had with the British was special
but, unfortunately, not typical. Aboriginal
people were treated very badly by the
British and forced to hand much of their
land over to them.

Abor

Bungaree, who is known to have
worn European clothes he was
given, welcomed visitors to
Australia and educated them on
Aboriginal culture. He showed
the visitors how to throw a
boomerang, a curved piece of
wood traditionally used to hunt.

igina

s
ck
tra
ar
oo
ng
Ka

Four p e

itting

r

l

es

Rive

op

ng

psite

mera

m
Ca

Aboriginal people are the indigenous,
or original, people of Australia. They
have always had a deep respect for
nature — canyons, rocks, and waterfalls
are sacred to them. Verbal storytelling is
an important part of their culture.
They also use symbols to tell stories
in their art. Aboriginal people still
live throughout Australia.

l boo

Aboriginal culture

31

E
H
W
T
T
A
M HENSON
polar explor
an
c
i
r
e
m
A
1866 -1955

er

In the early 1900s, dog sleds were the only
mode of transport that could help people
cover long distances on snow and ice.

M

atthew Henson was an African-American orphan who would one
day explore the freezing northernmost reaches of the Earth. In his
time, black people in the USA went to different schools to white people
and weren’t allowed to do certain jobs.

Robert Peary

32

Matthew’s parents died when he was very young. With nowhere else to
go, he joined a ship’s crew as a cabin boy at the age of 12. He travelled
all over the world, becoming an experienced sailor and seeing places
that most American children could only dream of, such as China.
Matthew returned to the USA after five years at sea, but he wasn’t
done with travelling yet. His next adventure started when explorer
Robert Peary walked into the shop Matthew was working at. They talked
about sailing, and Robert asked Matthew to be his assistant on an expedition
to the Nicaraguan jungles. Of course, Matthew accepted.

ade
parka m
f
o
o
r
p
r
e
Wate
intestin
of seal

tic

kn

es

Arc

Matthew knew that in order to survive he
needed to speak to Arctic experts – the Inuits.
They wore clothes made out of waterproof
sealskin and the thick, warm skins of reindeer.
They created tools sharp enough to cut through
the tough hides of Arctic animals and trained
dogs to help them hunt.

iv

Life in the snow

Matthew was taught
to drive dog sleds by
the Inuit people who
lived in the Arctic.

e?
l
o
P
h
t
e
a
r
c
r
o
h
o
N
t
e
h
t
n
o
s
per
t
s
r
i
f
Th e
After Nicaragua, the two set out on a series of
expeditions to explore the vast, freezing world
of the Arctic. Matthew learned how to keep
warm in dangerously cold weather and how
to find food through fishing and hunting. He
trained other members of the expeditions and
helped keep everyone alive. With each trip
they headed further into the frozen land.

Matthew and
ts that the spot
es
gg
su
h
rc
ea
es
R
t distance from
was just a shor
d
he
ac
re
t
er
ob
R
th Pole.
the actual Nor

In 1909, Matthew, Robert, and a small team of
Inuits arrived at a point closer to the North Pole
than anyone had been known to reach before.
Many people believed they had reached the pole
itself. However, because Matthew was black,
Robert was the one celebrated for the historic
expedition. It wasn’t until much later that
Matthew was given the praise he deserved.
33

ROALD AMUNDSEN
Norwegian polar explorer 1872-1928

G

rowing up in a family of shipowners, Roald always dreamed of sailing to the polar
regions. At 21, he chanced upon an opportunity to join an Arctic expedition.
After several more voyages – to both the Arctic and Antarctica – Roald found
out that Robert Peary had claimed the North Pole, and so he set his sights on
becoming the first person to reach the South Pole. When he heard that British
Navy officer Robert Falcon Scott was heading to Antarctica with the aim of reaching the pole,
Roald set off immediately on the ship Fram. He desperately wanted to get there before Scott.
On 19 October 1911, Roald and four teammates left their base camp, on the edge of Antarctica’s
ice shelf, and set out to the pole. They took four sleds, each pulled by 13 husky dogs. On
14 December – 56 days later – they successfully reached the South Pole. That was more than
a month before Robert got there. Amundsen’s experience with huskies had given him the edge.
These athletic, thick-coated pack dogs were suited to the extreme cold and bred to pull sleds.

Two teams raced to reach the South Pole.
Between 1901 and 1904, Robert led a research expedition in
Antarctica. He reached the most southerly point that anyone had
ever visited, but it was still 850 km (530 miles) short of the South Pole.
On his return to Britain, he was treated as a hero. He started planning
a trip back – to reach the South Pole. With a crew of 65 men, Robert
sailed on the ship Terra Nova, reaching Antarctica a few days after
Roald. However, Robert underestimated the power of huskies and
instead chose to use a combination of dogs, horses, motor vehicles, and
old-fashioned walking! The final-leg team of five men
arrived at the South Pole on foot on 17 January 1912,
78 days after setting off. They were devastated to see
that Roald had already been there. On the return
journey from the South Pole, Robert and his four
teammates died from cold, hunger, and exhaustion.

bert
As well as motor sleds, Ro
his
on
s
dog
d
an
brought ponies
n.
itio
ped
ill-fated ex

ROBERT FALCON SCOTT
British polar explorer 1868-1912

34

First to th
e
pole!
On 14 December
1911, Roald reached
the South Pole and
planted the Norwegian
flag in the ice.

Inuits taught
In the Arctic, Canadian
how to use
Roald hunting skills and
o began to
als
He
ds.
sle
huskies to pull
s, which kept
wear their fur-lined clothe
clothes worn
the body warmer than the
explorers.
by other European polar

Was it a race?
Roald saw his expedition as a race
against Robert to reach the South
Pole. However, Robert was more
focused on scientific research.
Getting to the pole would be an
extra reward. Because Roald had
more experience as a polar explorer,
he and his crew reached the South
Pole one month before Robert.

Roa

t’s route

ld’s

R o be r

Robert’s team
photographed and
filmed Antarctic
wildlife, including
penguins, whales,
and seals.

rout
e

South Pole

Ross Ice
Shelf
Ross Island

On 17 Ja
nu
South Po ary 1912, Scott
reached
le to find
the
that Am
u
n
already
been the dsen had
re.

Bay of Whales

Roald and his crew
sailed to Antarctica
on the Fram. They
set up a base camp
at the Bay of Whales.

Robert and his crew sailed on
the Terra Nova. They arrived in
January 1911 and set up a base
camp on Ross Island, 640 km
(400 miles) from Roald’s base.

At their base camp on Ross
Island, Robert and his crew built
a large hut with bunk beds for
their big expedition team.

35

Electrometer
Robert’s team took several scientific
instruments on the expedition,
including this electrometer. It was
used to measure small changes in
electricity levels in the atmosphere.

Medical kit
The expedition carried a mini
medical kit containing painkillers
and a syringe. It was an essential
part of their equipment that
allowed them to quickly treat
injuries like frostbite.

SCOTT’S
SUPPLIES
A

lthough Robert Scott and his four companions
died on their way back from the South Pole,
they (and those who survived) left behind
journals revealing the details of their journey, as
well as many belongings that give us a good idea
of what life was like on the ice.

Chemistry set
Robert carried a mini chemical laboratory,
which was used to conduct experiments in
Antarctica. As part of the scientific
mission of the expedition, the
team also collected many
animal specimens,
plant fossils, and
even penguin eggs.

36

Sun compass
Robert used a sun compass
together with a watch to navigate
during the journey. By comparing
the position of the Sun in the sky to
the time of day, he could work out a
north-south direction.

Matchbox
Robert’s matchbox was found at
Cape Royds, Antarctica. The
matches were used to light stoves
for cooking and to keep the
team warm.
Sun co m

pas

s

M a g n e t i c c o mp

as

s

Clasp knife
Robert had a clasp knife that had his
name and an image of a penguin carved
into it. He most likely carried it on his
belt, and used it in various daily tasks.

Snowshoes
These snowshoes were
worn by Captain Oates, who
got frostbite during the return
journey from the South Pole.
In a state of utter exhaustion
he famously walked out into
a blizzard to die.

Food and drink
When the team was out on the ice, they would
survive on hoosh, a stew made from pemmican
(minced meat with fats) and biscuits. However, at
their base camp they ate fresh bread and seal meat
cooked in curry. On special occasions, they even had
roast beef, penguin stew, and champagne!

37

ERNEST
L
E
K
T
C
A
H
SAnglo-Irish polar expOlorN
er
1874 -1922

W

The Endurance got its
name from Ernest’s
family motto:
“By endurance
we conquer”.

hat’s the coldest you’ve ever been? In Antarctica, temperatures
plummet as low as -70°C (-94°F), which is so chilly that icicles
form on your eyelashes. However, this extreme weather didn’t stop
Ernest Shackleton from exploring Antarctica. In fact, he led three
expeditions there and became one of the most famous polar
explorers ever. Ernest wanted to be the first to reach the South Pole,
but when Roald Amundsen got there first, he came up with another
plan to be a record-breaker: he would walk across the continent of
Antarctica, from one side to the other. This meant crossing thousands
of kilometres of completely unexplored land.
He didn’t succeed, but the failure
was a spectacular adventure.

Trapped
The crew survived by
eating animals such
as seals and penguins.

38

“Endurance” means to carry on
through setbacks or suffering, and
Ernest’s crew certainly did that.
When the Endurance ship got stuck
in ice, Ernest kept morale up by
playing games of football or chess
and keeping to a routine. The crew
tried to rescue the Endurance, but
after 281 days they realized she was
doomed and had to abandon ship.

In 1914, Ernest and his crew set off to Antarctica on
board the Endurance. They never made it, though, as
the ship got stuck in ice in the Weddell Sea, just off
Antarctica’s coast. They were trapped for nine months
before escaping onto the ice when the ship sank. The crew then
spent five months floating on a sheet of ice before they used the ship’s
boats to land on a small island close to Antarctica called Elephant Island.
Unfortunately, Elephant Island didn’t provide much sanctuary. It was too far
north for rescue parties to find it and the crew wouldn’t survive there long.
With no time to lose, Ernest and five other men braved the rough seas in a
small boat, making it to South Georgia in the Atlantic Ocean after 17 stormy
days. Still, their journey was not over. They crossed mountains and glaciers
until they found help, and Ernest returned to Elephant Island to rescue the
others. When he got there he shouted, “Are you well?” The reply came,
“We are all well, Boss”. Amazingly, everyone survived. It is easy to see
why, above everything, Ernest is remembered for his endurance.

There were 69 dogs taken
on the trip. Samson, the
big dog, is being held by
Leonard Hussey.

Ernest selected
his crew of 28
men very carefully.
Thousands applied
to take part.

The stranded men on Elephant Island wave
Ernest off as he heads to South Georgia.

39

E
S
U
Q
C
JA
OUSTEAU
C
French oceanographer,

inventor, and conservationist
1910-1997

J

acques Cousteau was a pioneer of
undersea exploration. This daring
Frenchman introduced millions of people
to the wonders of nature hidden below
the sea’s surface. However, the sea was
not always Jacques’s passion. As a young
man, he trained to be in the French Navy,
hoping to become a pilot. Unfortunately,
Jacques had to give up his dreams of flying
after breaking his arms in a car accident.
Later, while swimming in the sea to
strengthen his arms, he decided to spend
his life exploring the oceans instead.

One day, Jacques had an idea while
swimming underwater. He was going to
find a way to dive deeper and longer. In 1943,
he made this a reality by helping to create the
aqualung – the first SCUBA (Self-Contained
Underwater Breathing Apparatus) device.
Now divers could swim freely underwater
for long periods of time.

40

I am an
explorer, not
a settler...
My job is to
reveal and
then move on.

Aqualung
The aqualung was the first
diving gear that let humans
truly explore the underwater
world. Before this, divers had
to hold their breath or use an
air tube from a boat.

Jacques continued to invent many other tools for
studying the ocean. They included the diving
saucer – a small submarine for two people –
and several underwater cameras. In 1950, he
converted a naval boat, called Calypso, into a
floating laboratory. Over the next decades,
Jacques, his wife Simone, and the crew of
Calypso had countless adventures, circling
the world many times.

c
Ja

Wherever Calypso sailed, Jacques and his
Jacques’s diving saucer, called
crew would dive and film whatever they
Denise, explored ocean depths
saw – stunning coral reefs, pods of
of up to 300 m (980 ft).
whales and dolphins, hungry sharks, and
sunken wrecks (some ancient, others from World War II).
Jacques shared his findings with the world in his many books
and documentaries. The way humans were mistreating the oceans
also became a cause for him. He was involved in stopping France
from dumping nuclear waste in the ocean, and he helped reduce the
numbers of whales being killed for their meat, oil, and blubber. In
1973, Jacques created the Cousteau Society. This foundation raises
money to explore and protect the environment for the benefit of
future generations. Jacques died in 1997, but his foundation
and family continue his conservation work.

qu
es

s
e
i
r
ta l d .
mad
n
e
m wor
u
e mor
c
o
d
e than 100 dersea
about the un

Jacques made the first ever
underwater TV documentaries.
His series The Undersea World of
Jacques Cousteau was a worldwide
sensation. Each episode focused on
a different subject, such as a type
of sea animal, a coral reef, or
a sunken wreck.

41

E
Y
R
E
D
H
A
H
R
O
H
T wegian adventurer and ethnographLer
Nor

1914 -2002

N

obody believed Thor Heyerdahl would succeed when, in
1947, he built a simple wooden raft to sail across the
Pacific Ocean. He had limited sailing experience and only
learned to swim as an adult, but he had a point to prove.
Thor was an ethnographer – someone who studies different
cultures. He came up with a theory that ancient people might
have sailed all the way from South America to settle on
Polynesia (a group of islands in the South Pacific), but no one
believed him. To prove his idea was possible, he announced a
plan to sail from Peru to Polynesia, using only the tools that
would have been available at the time. No one thought he could
do it, but Thor was willing to risk his life to show he was right.
He chose a team of five men and built a raft with logs chopped
from the jungle. They named the raft Kon-Tiki after the Inca
Sun god and set off, taking a parrot with them for company.

oute
Kon-Timkeiricra, to Polynesia, Thoursaanndds

A
tho
Peru, South
nths sailing
To get from more than three mo
.
n
a
e
acific Oc
ent
his crew sp ometres across the P
of kil

PACIFIC
OCEAN
AUSTRALIA

Polynesian
Islands

New Zealand

42

Callao, Peru

SOUTH
AMERICA

The Incas lived in
Peru around 1,000
years ago. Thor
painted their
Sun god onto
the raft’s sail.

The epic journey took Thor and his team across 7,000 km (4,000 miles) of ocean.
They sailed the way ancient people would have – navigating using the Sun, stars, and
wind, and living off fish caught from the sea. The voyage was riddled with danger. At
one point a huge whale was circling them. They battled rough seas, strong currents, and,
unfortunately, lost the parrot during a storm. They sailed on, and after 101
days finally made a rough landing on Tuamotus, near Tahiti. It was just in
time, as the raft’s handmade mast had snapped in two!
The trip was a success and Thor had proved that
his theory was possible, but many
historians were still sceptical.

?
s
a
e
s
h
ug
o
r
he
t
e
v
i
v
r
u
s
t
f
a
r
le
p
sim

A Spanish-speaking
parrot called Lorita
was brought along
on the journey.

n
a
C

a

Thor caught fish,
including shark, to
eat during the voyage.

Nine balsa logs were tied
together using hemp rope to
make the base of the Kon-Tiki raft.

Thor continued to go on expeditions to
Polynesia, including to Easter Island where
he examined the ancient archaeological sites.

43

BARBARA
HILLARY

American polar explorer
1931-present

G

ew
York nurse.
..

Barbara’s life has been one big adventure.
As a child, her mother couldn’t afford to take
her on exciting holidays, but Barbara loved
playing outside and reading adventure
stories. After a successful career as a nurse,
Barbara became ill. As she recovered, she
became determined to explore. Her
favourite books are still real-life stories
of survival – just like this one!

rowing up in the neighbourhood of Harlem in
New York City, USA, Barbara’s family didn’t
have a lot of money. Her father died when she was
two years old. Her mother, Viola, encouraged
Barbara and her sister to be strong, independent
thinkers and to work hard at school. After
going to university, Barbara became a nurse,
where she focused on improving the
quality of life for the elderly. By the time
she was 67, Barbara had survived
cancer not once but twice. Her lungs
were damaged, but Barbara
had always tried to live
life to the fullest, and
would not let
this stop her.

From N
44

The North Pole
is in the Arctic.

Barbara saw polar bears from
less than 1.5m (5 ft) away in
Manitoba, but they weren’t cute
and cuddly. Barbara thought
they had cold, dark eyes, and
looked at her like she was lunch!
Barbara on
skis, hauling
her sled.

After retiring from nursing, Barbara
realized that she had not travelled as
much as she wanted to. The idea of going
on a cruise ship seemed much too slow and
boring – Barbara wanted to challenge herself.
One day she saw an advert for a trip to see
polar bears in their natural habitat, in Manitoba,
Canada. She signed up at once, and the adventure
turned out to be life-changing. She learned dogsledding and how to ride a snowmobile, and
realized she had a passion for exploring cold,
remote environments. Barbara decided that
she would be the first African-American
woman to reach the North Pole.

The South
Pole is
in the
Antarctic.

explorer
r
a
l
o
p
...to
Barbara spent months training for her expedition. She worked
out, learned to ski, and hauled heavy sleds – and this was not
easy to do in New York City! She also had to raise money and
support for her expedition. Barbara remained determined, even
when others doubted that she could succeed. On 23 April 2007,
at the age of 75, Barbara achieved her goal – she reached the
North Pole! As she stood there, filled with excitement and pride,
she dedicated her journey to her mother. Four years later, when
she was 79, she also became the first African-American woman
to make it to the South Pole. Now in her late eighties, Barbara is
still exploring, and her thirst for adventure is as strong as ever.

When she finally reached the North
Pole, Barbara was so thrilled that she
took off her gloves and got frostbite.

45

A
I
E
E
V
A
L
R
L
SY biologist and environmentalist

e
n
i
r
a
American m

1935-present

T

he sea quite literally knocked Sylvia Earle off her feet when she was
hit by a wave as a young girl, and she has been in a love affair with
it ever since. As a child, the coast was Sylvia’s playground. She would
spend hours playing along the waterfront in the seagrass beds. Much of
her life has been spent in and under the waves: she learned to scuba
dive while at university and never looked back, eventually getting a
PhD and becoming a research scientist. Throughout her career, she has
led more than 100 underwater expeditions that have taken her all
over the world. They have secured Sylvia’s status as a protector of the
oceans, and earned her the nickname “Her Deepness”.
Having logged over
7,000 hours of diving,
Sylvia has met many
fish species, including
this green moray eel.

Coral reefs are
underwater
structures
made from sea
creatures. These
beautiful habitats can
be home to thousands of plants
and animals, but human activity
has damaged the condition of
many of them.

46

ion
ic ate
in abou
th t
es
ea.

In 1970, Sylvia led the first all-female team of aquanauts
(people who work underwater) on the Tektite II project. Their
mission was to study fish and habitats at the bottom of the ocean,
and to investigate how people could live and work safely under
the sea for extended periods. The team lived in underwater
laboratories for up to three weeks at a time. After this mission,
Sylvia’s life changed forever. The female crew were widely
celebrated for their success, which helped women to
be given more scientific opportunities in the future.

After seeing the effects of pollution on coral reefs
and other ocean life first-hand, Sylvia became a
passionate conservationist. She launched Mission
Blue, a programme that creates marine protected
areas around the globe. The declining health of the
ocean is of huge concern to Sylvia, and she wants
everyone to understand how we impact the sea
each time we eat seafood or throw plastic and
other rubbish into it. Sylvia is respected as a
pioneer in ocean exploration and conservation,
and continues to inspire people through her
work to save the oceans.

Ec o w
solvin arrio
g th r
e p Syl
ro
ble

ss st
a
p
s pla
i
f
a
vi m o

Sylvia showing algae to the engineer on
the Tektite II mission. The project took
place near the Virgin Islands, USA.

47

D
B
T
R
A
A
L
R
L
E
B
ROerican oceanographer 1942-present

Am

R

obert Ballard is an ocean explorer who had a seemingly impossible
goal: to find the Titanic. When it set sail in 1912, the Titanic was the
largest ship ever built and was thought to be unsinkable. But, in one of
the deadliest sea disasters in history, it sank after crashing into an
iceberg. Many explorers were desperate to find the wreck, but the
Titanic’s location was a mystery. It lay undisturbed for 70 years –
until Robert came up with a plan to find it.

What was the Titanic?
The Titanic was a huge, luxurious passenger ship.
In 1912, it set off on its first voyage, from the UK
to the USA, but catastrophe struck when it sank in the
middle of the Atlantic Ocean. More than 1,500 people died.
This tragedy shocked the world, and people have been
fascinated by the Titanic ever since.

48

An underwater
robot was used
to find the
Titanic.

The book by Jules Verne that
inspired Robert’s interest in the sea.

Growing up by the water in San Diego, USA, Robert always loved
the ocean. He had dreams of exploring the underwater world in a
submarine like Captain Nemo in his favourite book, Twenty
Thousand Leagues Under the Sea. His dream came true when he got
a job building small submarines. He then joined the US Navy, where
he used his expertise to develop underwater robots that could be
controlled from afar. He became sure that he could use machines
like these to finally find the Titanic.

Robert led the mission to look for the Titanic
using his new underwater robot, the Argo. This
cutting-edge machine was specially adapted to
survive deep-sea conditions. Robert used the
Argo to sweep back and forth across the ocean
floor for many days. He finally struck lucky
when the video monitors showed the murky
picture of a boiler – part of a ship’s engine. The
Titanic had been found! The wreck gave clues as
to why it had sunk and they found that it had
broken in two as it went down. This successful
mission made Robert world famous, as it
was one of the greatest ocean discoveries
of the century.

Robert’s main exploration ship is named Nautilus.
Expeditions are streamed live on the internet.

Robert took photographs of
the Titanic’s wreck, including
this image of one of the
ship’s propellers.

49

The Transglobe
Expedition made
Ranulph the first
person to travel
around the globe
along the Earth’s
polar axis.

Ginny was
the expedition
coordinator. She
became the first
woman awarded a
Polar Medal for
her vital role.

RANULPH
FIENNES
British explorer 1944-present

R

anulph Fiennes, “the world’s greatest living explorer” according
to the Guinness Book of Records, has completed a huge variety
of daring and record-breaking expeditions. From having to cut off his
frostbitten fingertips to completing seven marathons in seven days in
seven continents, Ranulph pushes the limits of human endurance.
Ranulph’s wife, Ginny, came up with the idea for one of his most
ambitious adventures: the Transglobe Expedition, which involved
travelling the Earth vertically, from pole to pole. The journey
would cover more than 160,900 km (100,000 miles) and use many
different modes of transport – from canoes to ships, and from
sledges to 4x4 trucks. It took Ranulph and Ginny seven years to
plan the expedition. The UK’s Prince Charles
described Ranulph as “mad but
marvellous” for attempting it, but
attempt it he did. In 1979, Ranulph
set off from Greenwich in London,
UK, with a crew of volunteers.

Money for expedition
equipment came from
almost 2,000 sponsors.
Even their shoelaces
were sponsored!

Ranulph sailed the Arctic
and Antarctic oceans on a
vessel named Benjamin
Bowring. It was designed
for icy conditions.

50

First, they travelled to
Algeria and crossed the Sahara
Desert on 4x4s. Along the way, they collected
specimens, including bats, for the British Museum. Next,
part of the team sailed to Antarctica and lived in huts for
the winter while conducting experiments. Ginny was
vital in making sure the expedition ran smoothly and she
communicated with the crew via radio. Ranulph and two
others reached the South Pole on snowmobile, stopping at
Robert Scott’s hut on the way. They also found time to
play the South Pole’s first ever game of cricket!
Continuing on to the South Pacific and then Canada,
they sailed through the dangerous Northwest
Passage, a route through the Arctic Ocean. The
last challenge was crossing the North Pole
A small Twin
using sledges and snowmobiles. On 29 August
Otter plane
1982, they returned to Greenwich. They had
followed the
expedition team,
successfully completed their historic journey!
but it was only

Ranulph and his friend Charlie
Burton reached the North Pole on
11 April 1982 after a hard trek
across the ice fields.

used for support.

Ranulph didn’t just stop there – he has
continued to challenge himself past the age that
many people would retire. He climbed Mount
Everest when he was 65, after his first
two attempts failed due to a heart
There i s no b
ad
condition. As you can see, he’s a person
w
e
a
t
her, only
who doesn’t give up – which is probably
inappropriate
the secret to his success!

Snowmobiles
were used to
pull the sledges.

clothing.

Ranulph cleverly
converted sledges
into a canoe that
he used in the
Arctic waters.

Ranulph’s Jack Russell
terrier, Bothie, became
the first dog to have
visited both poles.

51

A
E
T
K
G
N
SU HONG
rean mountaineer

o
K
h
t
Sou
1966 -present

The Three Poles

T

he saying “Where there’s a will, there’s a way”
means that it’s possible to achieve what you
want, if you set your mind to it. South Korean
mountaineer Sung-Taek Hong is a great example
of someone whose determination has led him to
achieve several jaw-dropping feats of human
endurance. Not content with just skiing to the
South Pole, this intrepid explorer has gone on to
climb Mount Everest – the highest mountain
in the world – and trek to the North Pole. He has
also undertaken other extreme expeditions most
of us can only dream about.

Sung-Taek grew up surrounded by nature in rural South Korea,
but it wasn’t always his plan to be a mountaineer. His first love was
the sport judo. Sung-Taek became a judo champion in high school, and
went on to study it at university. However, one day he seriously hurt
an opponent during a match, which really upset Sung-Taek. He quit
judo, and decided to start climbing mountains instead. Years of judo
training meant that Sung-Taek was incredibly strong, which was
ideal for mountaineering. He was soon picked for an expedition to
the Himalayas – the first of his many professional mountain climbs.

52

Sung-Taek is famous for
reaching all “Three Poles”.
He climbed to the summit
of Everest in 1995, skied
to the South Pole in 1994,
and walked to the North
Pole in 2005.

In 2005, Sung-Taek walked about
1,600 km (990 miles) to the
North Pole. As well as the harsh
Arctic conditions, he was also at
risk of attack from polar bears!

Sung-Taek scaled Everest in 1995.
It is sometimes called the “Third
Pole” because of the vast amount
of ice in this mountainous part of
the world.

“The key to success
is both physical and
mental strength.”
Sung-Taek also skied
and walked to the
South Pole. He
started out from
Patriot Hills Base
Camp in late
November 1993
and arrived at
the pole on
1 January 1994.
In 2011, Sung-Taek travelled across
Greenland by dog sled. The journey
involved travelling over an inland
glacier – a slow-moving river of ice.

Sung-Taek crossed the Bering Strait
on foot in 2012. In winter, the strait
freezes over, forming an ice bridge
between Russia and Alaska, USA.

53

LAND

54

T

hrough dense jungles and dry deserts, and
across frozen mountains and deep rivers,
explorers have pushed themselves to the limits
of human endurance to investigate our planet.
These expeditions, while often challenging and
dangerous, have allowed us to collect a wealth
of knowledge about geography, history,
and different cultures.

55

XUANZANG
Chinese Buddhist monk 602-644

O

ne of the earliest explorers to write about his travels was a
Buddhist monk named Xuanzang. He grew up in China, and
under the influence of his brother began to follow the Buddhist
religion when he was just 13 years old. By the age of 20 he was a
monk, and desperate to learn more.
Xuanzang travelled all over China tracking down Buddhist writings
to study. However, he found a few errors in them and decided to go in
search of the original writings in India, where Buddhism came from. In
629, he set off on the adventure of a lifetime – a 16-year pilgrimage to India. There, he
would study with Buddhist masters and visit places where the Buddha – on whose
teachings Buddhism is based – had lived a thousand years earlier.
G i ant Wil d

Go

os e

56

ing

a

The Monkey K

od

Xuanzang wrote about his travels in a book titled Great
Tang Records on the Western Regions. He described all the
places he passed through, including their local customs,
language, politics, and even the climate.
Much later, in the 16th century, Journey to the West was
published. This Chinese novel is based on Xuanzang’s
journey. It turned the journey into a fascinating folktale
that featured several mythical characters, including the
Monkey King. The novel became a classic in China.

P
ag

On his journey, Xuanzang travelled some 16,000 km
(10,000 miles) through Central Asia and India. Along the
way, he survived blizzards, cyclones, and attacks from
bandits. In 645, he returned to China with 520 cases of
sacred writings and figurines of the Buddha. A temple
named the Giant Wild Goose Pagoda was built in Xi’an,
China, to house Xuanzang’s collections.

To leave China, Xuanzang had to cross the
massive Pamir mountain range, in today’s
Tajikistan. He wrote about the dangers of
travelling through snow.

Before heading southwards to India,
Xuanzang travelled to Lake Issyk-Kul,
in today’s Kyrgyzstan. He wrote about
the fish (and dragons!) that lived in
its waters. Travellers prayed to
them for good luck.

In India, Xuanzang visited
the Mahabodhi Temple. It was
(and still is) home to a descendant
of the Bodhi tree – the fig tree
under which the Buddha sat
and meditated.

On his way home, Xuanzang
travelled through the Taklamakan
Desert in northwestern China. He
described the desert in his book as
being desolate and haunting.

57

Paris

Rome

In Paris, Bar Sauma spent
a month with King Philip
IV of France, nicknamed
Philip the Fair, who
welcomed him warmly
and gave him many gifts.

On the journey back to
Baghdad, Bar Sauma
stopped in Rome and
received a special
blessing from Pope
Nicholas IV.

Constantinople
Bar Sauma wrote about
the beauty of Hagia
Sophia, a Christian
cathedral that was later
converted into a mosque.

Bordeaux
Bar Sauma then continued through
France to Bordeaux. There he met
King Edward I of England, who
put on a great feast to celebrate
his arrival.

EUROPE

Sicily
Bar Sauma sailed past the island of Sicily
in modern-day Italy, and witnessed the
volcanic eruption of Mount Etna. Later
on, he saw a sea battle in the same area.

B
N
A
A
R
B
B
S
AUMA
A
R
I

n the 13th century, Rabban Bar Sauma undertook an epic journey from China to
Europe, writing about all the interesting people and cultures he encountered
along the way. Most people have heard of Marco Polo (see pages 60–61), who
undertook the same journey in reverse, but Bar Sauma remained mostly unknown
until his travel journals were uncovered more than 500 years after his trip.
Bar Sauma was born in Zhongdu (modern-day Beijing) into a Christian family. When he
was 20 years old, Bar Sauma decided to become a monk and for decades lived simply,
becoming a religious teacher and gaining the title “Rabban”, which means “Master”.
Around 1260, he decided to go on a pilgrimage to the holy land of Jerusalem with
one of his students, Markos. They travelled across Asia before reaching Baghdad
(in modern-day Iraq), where they heard news that there was fighting on the road
ahead, so they halted their journey and stayed there for many years.

58

Baghdad
Eventually they reached Baghdad but could not
continue on to Jerusalem. After many years
Bar Sauma was sent on a diplomatic mission
to Western Europe.

ASIA

Maragha
Bar Sauma and Markos stopped at the city
of Maragha, in present-day Iran. There they
met Patriarch Denha I, the head of the
Eastern Christian Church.

Kawshang
They passed through the city of Kawshang,
China, where local lords gave them animals
to ride on, as well as rugs, gold,
and silver.

Khotan
The way to Khotan
was challenging, as they
had to pass through a
vast, empty desert. The
travellers arrived in
Khotan in the middle
of a war.

Start
Bar Sauma set off from
Zhongdu, China, on a
pilgrimage to Jerusalem with
his student Markos.

Turkic-Chinese monk 1220 -1294
In 1287, the Mongol ruler Arghun gave Bar Sauma an important mission. He
wanted him to visit Europe and persuade the Christian kings to join him in
fighting against the powerful Muslim empire for possession of Jerusalem. The
now elderly Bar Sauma again set out on a journey west, this time accompanied
by a large group of priests and interpreters.
His first stop was Constantinople (modern-day Istanbul) in Turkey. From there,
he sailed across the Mediterranean Sea and travelled through Italy and France.
Bar Sauma was given lavish gifts by the European rulers, and friendly messages
to carry back to Arghun, but none of them wanted to form an alliance. By 1288
he was back in Baghdad. Even though Bar Sauma didn’t succeed in his mission, his
journey helped to lay down the foundations for a closer relationship between
the East and West.

Rabban Bar
Sauma’s name
in Chinese
characters

59

P
O
L
O
O
C
R
MA
nt and explorer
a
h
c
r
e
Venetian m 1254 -1324

During Marco’s time,
Venice was the richest
city in Europe.

W

e are very lucky to live in a world
where you can hop on a plane and
travel almost anywhere within 24 hours.
However, it wasn’t so easy hundreds of
years ago – it took Marco Polo three years
to travel from Europe to Asia! When he
was 17 years old, Marco left his home in
Venice, in modern-day Italy, and set sail
with his father and uncle to trade goods
in Asia. They had to sail across the
Mediterranean Sea and journey over
tall mountains and harsh deserts to
reach their destination.

60

Shangdu
Venice

Marco and his fellow travellers used an ancient
network of routes that linked the West and East,
called the Silk Road.

While crossing the Gobi Desert with a group of
merchants, Marco and his family were attacked by
violent bandits under the cover of a sandstorm.

When they arrived in Shangdu, China, Marco and his
family were welcomed by Kublai Khan, the ruler of
the huge and powerful Mongol Empire. Marco
learned the language and became an official
messenger for Kublai Khan, who sent him on
Modern-day
missions all over the country. He also travelled to
paiza tablets
Myanmar, India, and Tibet – places that few
Europeans had ever visited.

Kublai Khan gave Marco
a paiza tablet, which was
carried by Mongol officials
to show their authority
while travelling, a bit like
a modern passport.

Marco’s travels lasted for around 24 years. His return
journey was completed mostly by ship in a voyage filled
with storms and outbreaks of illness. Marco arrived back
in Italy in the middle of a war between Venice and
another powerful city, Genoa. Less than a year later,
Marco was captured by the Genoese, and thrown into
prison. There, he became friends with a fellow prisoner
named Rustichello. Marco shared with him stories from
his travels, and Rustichello wrote it all down,
eventually publishing them in a book called Livre des
Merveilles du Monde (Book of the Marvels of the World).
It was an instant hit. Marco was eventually freed and
became a successful and wealthy merchant.

61

O
C
R
A
M
POLO’S
E
U
N
L
C
F
E
N
IH

Porcelain
In Marco’s book he talks about seeing “the most
beautiful vessels of porcelain large and small”
in China. Porcelain is a material made using
high-quality clay baked in traditional ovens
called kilns. It was invented in China more
than 2,000 years ago during the Han Dynasty.

ave you ever paid for something with paper
money, or enjoyed some spicy food? You might
have Marco Polo to thank! During his travels, Marco
saw many Chinese inventions in action, and later
described them in his book – introducing them to
Europe for the first time.

ing Marco Polo
Italian stamp featur

Postal system
In China, second class messages
(less important) were carried on
foot, while first class messages
were transported by people on
horseback. Many countries use a
similar system with different
classes of mail today.

62

Writings

Many people have
used
mistakes in Marco
’s account
to suggest that he
never
actually reached C
hina
himself, and just us
ed other
people’s stories. Th
e debate
goes on to this day.
..

Coal
Coal had been used as fuel
in China for more than 1,000
years, though it was unknown
in Europe before Marco’s travels.
He described coal as “black
stones which burn like logs”.

k note
nasty ban
Ming Dy

os

Silk is naturally produced
by insects such as silkworms,
and used to be very rare and
valuable outside China. It
was originally worn only by
emperors, but spread through
trade. Marco witnessed the
trading of silk in China.

Eur

Silk

ern

China had been using paper
money for hundreds of years
before it spread to Europe. It
was much easier to carry
than heavy gold or silver
coins. According to Marco,
all of Kublai Khan’s army
were paid in paper money.

Mod

Paper money

Glasses
Some people think that Marco Polo
introduced the concept of eyeglasses
to the West, although he does not
describe them in his book. Eyeglasses
didn’t appear in Europe until the
13th century.

Spices
Many countries, including Greece and Egypt,
were already using spices in medicine and
perfume. Marco described where to find
spices and inspired later explorers to voyage
in search of these.

63

I

bn Battuta was a Moroccan geographer,
judge, and botanist – but above all else,
he loved to travel. He was one of the
most famous travellers of his time,
having explored all of the known
The Alhambra
Islamic world (roughly 40 countries
After his last trip to Mecca, Ibn
today) over 30 years. He ventured as
returned to Morocco but decided
to
continue further north to Spain.
far east as China, and as far south as
He visited the impressive Alhambra,
sub-Saharan Africa, covering around
a castle that dates back to 1238.
120,000 km (75,000 miles). Ibn wrote
detailed descriptions of all the places he
visited, which helps us to understand
what life was like in those countries
Tangier
back in the 14th century.

EUROPE

Hagia Sophia
In 1332, Ibn spent a month in
Constantinople (modern-day Istanbul),
Turkey, and particularly admired
the Hagia Sophia, which was then a
Christian cathedral.

Lighthouse of Alexandria

Red

Ibn visited the Lighthouse of Alexandria
At only 21 years old, Ibn left his home
in Egypt, which dated back to about 280 bce,
in Tangier, Morocco, to make hajj – a
twice during his travels. He went there
first in 1326, and then again in 1349
Muslim pilgrimage to the holy city of
when the lighthouse was in ruins.
Mecca (in modern-day Saudi Arabia).
According to Islamic belief, Muslims
Mecca
As the holiest city in
are supposed to make hajj at least
Islam, Mecca was the
place Ibn was always
once in their lifetime. As he was so
MALI
drawn back to. He made
During his travels, Ibn was
young, Ibn was sad to leave his
four separate journeys to
particularly impressed by
the site over his lifetime.
religious
sites.
In
Mali,
he
visited
parents, but he felt a strong urge to
the famous cities of Timbuktu
go to Mecca. He travelled by himself
and Gao, and described the
spectacular
mud-walled mosques.
on the journey, passing through Syria
and Palestine before arriving in Mecca.
This trip was expected
to take 18 months to complete, but instead,
Kilwa Kisiwani
Ibn caught the travel bug and did not return
Ibn stayed in Kilwa
Kisiwani, a medieval trading
home again for about 24 years!
town off the coast of

Sea

AFRICA

During his nearly 30 years of travelling, Ibn made
three more visits to Mecca to make hajj.
On one of these expeditions, he stayed in
the city for two years just to learn and
study with other Islamic scholars.

64

Tanzania, between 1331
and 1332 and said it
was one of the world’s
most beautiful cities.

T
T
A
U
B
T
N
B
I Moroccan traveller and Ajud
1304 -1368

ge

The Registan
Ibn also visited the Registan, the
main square of Samarkand (in
modern-day Uzbekistan). He
described Samarkand as “one of
the greatest and finest of cities”.

ASIA
INDIA
Arriving in India in 1333, Ibn was
hired by the Sultan (Islamic king)
of Delhi. He worked as the
Sultan’s judge for seven years.

CHINA
China amazed Ibn in
many ways. He was
particularly impressed
by the high-quality
porcelain, as well as the
skills and talent of the
people who made it.

Dhow boat
Adam’s Peak
On his way to China,
Ibn made a stop in Ceylon
(modern-day Sri Lanka)
for a trek to Adam’s Peak.
The mountain is a sacred spot
for Muslims, Buddhists, and Hindus.

After living in Mecca
for a year, Ibn set sail
on a dhow, a traditional
sailing vessel commonly
used in the Red Sea and
Indian Ocean. It was his
first time at sea, but he
managed to sail from the
Red Sea to East Africa.

Ibn returned home briefly during his travels, but
found that both of his parents had died, and so he set
out on his final journey. He travelled to southern Spain, then
across the Sahara Desert until he reached the famous Muslim
city of Timbuktu. Finally finished with his travels, Ibn went
home to Tangier, where he was ordered to write about his
epic journeys by the Sultan of Morocco. With help from the
Sultan’s secretary, his stories were turned into a famous book
titled Rihla (Travels).

65

HERNÁN CORTÉS
Spanish conquistador
1485-1547

In November 1519, Hernán met
Moctezuma, the ruler of the Aztecs.
A native woman known as La Malinche
acted as an interpreter for Hernán.

C

uriosity and thirst for knowledge motivated some early explorers.
However, other explorers had different motives. Hernán Cortés
was one such explorer. His greed for power and money caused the
deaths of thousands of native people and destroyed the empire of
the Aztecs – the most powerful people in Mexico at that time. He
changed the history of Mexico, forever.

The Aztec Empire covered
a large part of today’s central
and southern Mexico. Hernán
Cortés conquered it for Spain.

66

At the age of 19, Hernán left his home in Spain and sailed across
the Atlantic Ocean to America, also known as the “New World”.
He became a “conquistador” – a soldier-explorer whose job was
to conquer lands for the Kingdom of Spain. After hearing rumours
about the riches in Mexico, he persuaded the Spanish Governor of
Cuba, Diego Velázquez, to let him explore Mexico. Diego gave his
permission, but then changed his mind because he disliked Hernán!
However, Hernán disobeyed Diego’s orders and left for Mexico.

Who were the Aztecs?

Moctezuma gave Hernán this chest
ornament of a double-headed serpent.
It is a symbol of the rain god Tlaloc.

The Aztecs were a people who ruled a large empire in Mexico
between the 14th and 16th centuries. The Aztec Empire was
powerful, wealthy, and rich in culture. At its heart was an
alliance of three city-states – small nations made up of a city
and its surrounding territory. The capital, Tenochtitlán, was
strategically located in an area with good sources of food and
water. With a huge army of fierce warriors, the empire expanded
rapidly by conquering other city-states in Central America.

Hernán and his men landed in Mexico and made their way to
Tenochtitlán. This was the bustling capital city of the Aztecs.
When Hernán arrived, they thought he was the pale-skinned
god who was prophesied to come from the east. The Aztec
ruler Moctezuma welcomed Hernán with extravagant gifts.
However, things quickly turned sour. Hernán had to
leave the city to deal with Diego, and when he came back
Moctezuma was dead and Hernán’s army was under siege.
The Spanish managed to fight their way out, and Hernán
returned the following year to attack Tenochtitlán. The Aztecs
resisted for many weeks until Hernán and his soldiers overcame
them. Hernán’s army then destroyed the city and took control of
Mexico. The conquest may have brought huge wealth to Spain,
but it wiped out the Aztecs and their culture and language.

Hernán sent this map of Tenochtitlán to
the Spanish king. The Aztec city was built
on an island in a lake. Mexico City now
covers the site of the old city and the area
of the lake, which was later drained.

67

A
R
N
O
D
T
E
S
N
A
B
E
T
S
E Moroccan explorer c.1500-1539
E

steban Dorantes was one of the first great explorers of the southern
United States. He was the first African to set foot in what is now Texas,
and spent years trying to reach Mexico. Sadly, because he was a slave,
he appears in hardly any historical records. It’s now time to tell his story,
which is one of survival and perseverance.
The port city of Azemmour, Morocco, where Esteban was born, was
captured by Portuguese forces in 1513. Along with many other Moroccans,
Esteban was sold into slavery. He was bought by a Spanish soldier named
Andrés de Dorantes in around 1522, and took his surname. In 1527, the two
embarked on a Spanish expedition to conquer Florida and the Gulf Coast.

Esteban’s
expedition
In 1527, Esteban and Andrés set
off from Spain. They reached
Florida, before sailing to Texas
and continuing on foot to Mexico.

Before they reached
Texas, nobody from
Europe or Africa had
ever been there.
Florida

The group
reached Mexico
City, Mexico, in
1536, after a long,
dangerous journey.

68

la

m

on
r

Only four men, including Esteban and Andrés, were still alive by
1534. They escaped their captors and began their adventurous
journey towards Mexico. Along the way, they lived with native tribes
and became shamans (spiritual healers). The tribes treated them like
gods, and called them the “children of the Sun”. Esteban was a
respected member of the group, as he picked up languages easily and
could communicate with the locals. The group eventually found their
way to Mexico in 1536, completing their mammoth eight-year trek.

Gi

ste

In 1528, the fleet arrived at Florida, where 300 men travelled
inland through swamps. Many caught deadly diseases, while others
died from injuries sustained from fighting Native Americans. Eager
to get away from danger, and in an attempt to reach Mexico by sea,
the remaining men quickly built five makeshift boats and set sail.
sna k e
in g
After a treacherous journey, where many men drowned when
k
ck
xican b l a
their boats capsized, the 80 survivors washed up on the coast Me
of Texas. The group were enslaved by the Karankawa people
and remained in their custody for years.

Esteban and his group would
probably have encountered
animals such as the Mexican
black kingsnake and the gila
monster, a type of lizard
native to what is now the
southwest USA.

69

Alexander’s nickname
as a child was “the little
apothecary”, due to his love
of collecting and labelling
shells, plants, and insects.

From
Berlin to Bogotá

A
N
X
DER
E
L
A HUM
N
B
O
O
L
i
e
c
n
s
t
i
n
s
t
a
VGerm 1769-1 and geogrDaphTer
859

E
Mount Chimborazo in
Ecuador, South America,
was thought to be the tallest
mountain in the world for
much of Alexander’s life.

ven as a child in Berlin, Alexander loved venturing into the
wild to find glinting rocks or unusual plants. He went on to
study mining at university and got a job supervising mines, where
people unearthed seams of gold beneath the ground. However,
he wanted to learn more about nature – which plants grew
where across the far reaches of the Earth. Alexander’s friend,
the explorer Georg Forster, encouraged him. He listened eagerly
to tales of Georg’s journey to the Pacific with Captain Cook.
Alexander was set on becoming a scientific explorer.

On the night of 11 Novem
ber
1799, Alexander witnesse
da
spectacular meteor showe
r,
known as the Leonids,
in Venezuela.

70

The opportunity finally came in 1797 when Alexander was
given permission to explore South America by the ruling
Spanish government. Not much was known in Europe about
this land because Spain didn’t want anyone getting to its valuable
silver mines. Alexander set sail with plant expert Aimé Bonpland
by his side. Once there, they waded across marshes, cut their
way through the thick vines of rainforests, and inched along
narrow mountain trails. Alexander studied and drew many
plants and animals. He recorded the temperature and even
how blue the sky was!

Crossing the Andes from Bogotá, Colombia, Alexander
set a world record by climbing higher up the gigantic
Mount Chimborazo than any known person before
him. Here, he realized that everything in nature was
closely connected – that groups of plants and animals
rely on one another and on the environment for
survival. It took Alexander more than 20 years to
publish all the information, maps, and drawings from
his South American adventure in 30 huge books.

Alexander
spent four m
onths
exploring th
e course of
the
Orinoco Riv
er in the Sou
th
American ra
inforests.

r
Alexande t
ha
noticed t s can
eel
electric als by
kill anim ting
electrocu
them!

Alexander recorded
information about
thousands of plants
and animals. He
brought back around
60,000 specimens!

71

MERIWETHER WILLIAM
LEWIS & CLARK
American army
captain 1774-1809

Captain
wis
iw
Mer ether Le

Lieutenant
William Clark

The expedition
team spotted lots of
grizzly bears during
their epic journey.

O

ne of America’s greatest adventure stories began in 1803, when the USA
bought a huge portion of land from France. President Thomas Jefferson
announced a plan for an epic expedition to explore this new territory, which makes
up the western part of the United States, partly in order to open up trade with
Native American tribes. President Jefferson chose his secretary, army captain
Meriwether Lewis, to lead the expedition. Meriwether selected his friend William
Clark, also a member of the US Army, as his co-commander. In 1804, they set off
on what would be the biggest adventure of their lives.
Over the next two years, Meriwether and William, or Lewis and Clark as they
are better known, travelled almost 13,000 km (8,000 miles). President
Jefferson instructed them to find a route to the Pacific Ocean, and to make
notes on what they observed along the way. On their journey, the team
encountered many Native American tribes that had been living in the area for a
long time. Every tribe was different – some included people that fished and slept
in wooden houses, others hunted buffalo and lived in teepees. Lewis and Clark
met each tribe the same way: they explained that President
Jefferson was the new “Great Father”, presented
them with medals and gifts, and put on a parade.
Most tribes welcomed them, thanks to the
help of a young Native American woman
called Sacagawea.

Lewis recorded seeing many
prairie dogs along the way.
They sent one as a gift to
President Jefferson.

72

American lieutenant
1770-1838

There were around 50
people in the expedition
group, including
Clark’s slave, York.

SACAGAWEA
Native American explorer
1788-1812

Many Native American tribes
shared peace pipes with Lewis
and Clark, in return for gifts
that were given to them.

S

acagawea was only 16, and heavily pregnant, when she joined the
Lewis and Clark expedition as their translator and guide. She had
expert knowledge of the terrain and plants they could eat, and she was
a quick-thinker. On one occasion the boat they were in almost capsized,
but Sacagawea dived into the water to save their important belongings.
In the summer of 1805, the expedition team arrived at the fork of the
Missouri River, the longest river in the United States. They then came
across tall, snow-covered mountains, but had no way of crossing them.
Sacagawea thought that she recognized the area and that they were
near her old tribe – the Shoshones. She was right: they found a group
of Shoshone, whose chief was none other than her long-lost brother,
Cameahwait! Thanks to Sacagawea, the Shoshones allowed them to buy
horses they needed to cross the mountains and continue their journey.

As a child, Sacagawea was
captured from the Shoshone
tribe, but she was reunited
with her long-lost brother
during the expedition.

Sacagawea gave birth to her son Jean Baptiste during the expedition. Many
of the Native American tribes the group encountered had never
seen outsiders before, but the presence of Sacagawea and
her baby made Lewis and Clark appear friendly, and meant
they mostly avoided violence. Through Sacagawea’s
guidance, they eventually made it to the Pacific.
Sacagawea directed Lewis
and Clark through a
mountain pass to the
Yellowstone River,
Montana.
Sacagawea
carried her baby
on her back for
most of the
journey.

73

FORT CLATSOP

A

fter 18 months of non-stop travelling, in November 1805 Lewis
and Clark’s expedition group saw the Pacific Ocean for the very
first time. However, winter was fast approaching, so the group needed
to build a camp. They chose a site near present-day Astoria, Oregon,
where there was freshwater and shelter.
It took just three weeks to build the camp and everyone was moved
in by Christmas Day. They named it “Fort Clatsop” after the local
Clatsop people. They stayed at the camp for 106 days.

The crew slept in
bunk beds in
this room.

Expedition route

began near St. Louis
Lewis and Clark’s expedition
d almost 13,000 km
in Louisiana. They travelle
stern United States. They
(8,000 miles) across the we
the Columbia River, and the
crossed the Missouri River,
lly reach the Pacific Ocean.
Rocky Mountains to eventua

Paci

fic Ocean

Fort Clatsop

74

Saint Louis

North
America

The entrance of
the camp was
made of wooden
gate posts. The
space between
the buildings was
a parade ground.

Clark’s

compa

ss

Lewis and Clark both
kept journals to record
their observations.
Lewis made detailed
sketches of the plants
and animals they saw.
They described 178
new plant species
and 122 animals.

Lewis’s jo

urnal

Lewis and Clark received this
decorated robe made from
buffalo hide from a native
tribe. The robe was painted
with a battle scene.

The store room was
used to store barrels
and hang meat.
The orderly
room was used
as an office.

Sacagawea, her husband, and
their baby all shared a bed.

Lewis and Clark had the
biggest room in the camp.
Here, they wrote their
journals and drew maps.

Inside their room was a
fireplace with a chimney
that kept the camp warm.
The dogs also slept here.

75

CHARLES
DARWIN
English naturalist
1809-1882

Beetle from
Charles’s
collection

T

he Darwin family were passionate about gardening, and from a
young age Charles was no exception. Growing up, he loved spending
time in the garden, learning about plants from his parents. Charles was
encouraged by his father to study medicine at Edinburgh University
in Scotland, but he couldn’t handle the blood and gore of surgery. So he
dropped out of medical school and instead went to study at Cambridge
University in England, where he spent his free time collecting beetles.
After graduating in 1831, the opportunity of a lifetime came
knocking when he was offered a job as a naturalist in a
scientific expedition on board the HMS Beagle.

The Galápagos Islands

For the next five years, Charles sailed all over the
world. He was often seasick, so he spent as much
time on land as he could. He collected animal
and plant specimens and studied
the rocks of each place he landed.
His most important stop was at
the Galápagos Islands in the
Pacific Ocean, off the coast
of South America.

hen
arc a

Island

Charles observed that
although all of the Galápagos
Islands shared the same
environment, each one had
its own unique species of
animals. This helped him
develop his theory
of evolution.

M

The Galápagos
Islands

Isabe

San Salvador
Island

la
Is
lan

Santa Cruz
Island

HMS Beagle

d
San
Cristóbal
Island
Other animals observed by Charles
included the marine iguana.

76

Floreana
Island

Each island
was home to a
different species
of giant tortoise.
Some have since
become extinct in
the wild.

Even though the Galápagos
Islands are located 1,000 km
(620 miles) from Ecuador,
Charles found that they were
nothing like the mainland. He observed
animals such as marine iguanas, new species
of finches, and giant tortoises – animals not
found anywhere else on Earth!

Green
warbler-finch

Darwin’s finches
Charles discovered different species
of finches that varied from island
to island. The group, now called
Darwin’s finches, is made up
of 14 species.

Back at home, Charles used his findings
from his travels to come up with a new
groundbreaking theory. He proposed that
animals change, or evolve, over time to suit
their environment, and this is why there were
different (but closely related) species on the
different Galápagos Islands. However, he worried
about releasing his ideas into the world. Scientists
who had previously suggested a similar theory,
including Charles’s grandfather, had been heavily
criticised by the Christian Church because the idea
of evolution went against the teachings of the Bible.

Large ground finch

Small tree finch
Medium ground finch

as

s

Charles’s

co m

p

In 1859, Charles published a book containing his research
called On the Origin of Species. Some people were shocked
and even angry, but others argued in support of his ideas. Slowly,
more and more people began to accept Darwin’s theory of evolution.
Ultimately, Charles’s voyage and the work it inspired changed the
way humans saw the natural world forever.

Charles drew
sketches of many
of the creatures
he came across.

77

Tortoises
Charles observed that the
Galápagos tortoise was related
to tortoises on mainland Ecuador,
despite living almost 1,000 km
(620 miles) away. He also noticed that
tortoises on different islands in the
Galápagos had differently shaped shells.
He wondered how this could be...

N
I
’
W
S
R
A
D
E
R
V
I
O
E
C
S
S
I
D
Mockingbirds
On San Cristóbal island, Charles saw mockingbirds
that looked similar to those in South America. But on
Floreana, a neighbouring island, the mockingbirds
were different. Another hint that species might
evolve over time.

Finches
After the Beagle voyage, Charles approached bird
expert John Gould to identify the species he had
collected. Gould observed that all the birds were
finches, despite having different-shaped beaks. This led
Charles to speculate that they had descended from a
common relative, but had changed to adapt to their
environment over time.

78

Shells
The shells in this specimen
drawer were collected by
Charles from various places
in South America between
1831 and 1836.

C

harles’s most important observations were made during the five
weeks he spent on the Galápagos Islands. The specimens he collected
would help him to develop his theory of evolution, as well as providing
solid evidence of his ideas. Charles carefully labelled and shipped most of
his findings back to the UK, where many are still kept today.

Parrot fish

Charles brought back 137 species
of fish from the Galápagos. They
included new species of sea bass,
moray eel, and parrot fish (shown
here in the jar on the left).

Clinus crinitus fish

Fish

79

DAVID
LIVINGSTONE

issionary and doct
Scottish m
o
r
8
1
1813 73

C

an you imagine walking from one side of Africa to the other?
That’s exactly what Dr David Livingstone did, more than 150
years ago! David was one of the greatest early European
explorers of Africa – that is, until he went missing...

David treated
injuries like
snake bites
using medicine
from this chest.

In 1841, David went to Africa as a missionary, which means he
wanted to convert the locals to Christianity. When this mission
failed, he instead focused on exploring parts of Africa that foreigners
hadn’t been to. David was also fiercely opposed to slavery and
passionate about ending the slave trade, which motivated him
throughout his journey. He travelled all over – from South Africa to
Botswana, from Angola to Mozambique – but the journeys were never
easy. He wrote in his diary about witnessing the horrifying killing of
400 slaves. He survived a lion attack and caught several diseases, including
malaria, which he later developed treatment for. But he also came across
spectacular sights, including the Zambezi River and Victoria Falls, a huge
waterfall he named after the British Queen. It was while trying to
find the source of the River Nile that
David went missing, presumed dead.

This compass was
used by David on
his journeys
through Africa.

80

HENRY
MORTON STANLEY

Welsh journalist and explorer
1841-1904

Six years after David Livingstone
disappeared, a writer named Henry Stanley was
sent to Africa in search of the famous explorer. His large
crew faced countless hurdles as they traversed wild jungles
and swamps, but they did not give up! Eventually, they
arrived at Lake Tanganyika, in Tanzania, and found a
sickly European man with a bedraggled beard. Henry
supposedly greeted him with the now-famous question:
“Dr Livingstone, I presume?”

Henry Stanley and his
local guides experienc
ed
many setbacks durin
g the expedition,
including crocodile at
tacks and illness.

,
e
n
o
t
s
ng
i
v
i
L
Dr
?
e
m
u
s
I pre

n

Henry learned that David had become ill and had run out of
money. David did not want to give up on his mission to find
the source of the River Nile, so instead, Henry gave him
fresh supplies to continue. However, David
elmet w
died soon after. Henry vowed to continue
Pith h
or
David’s work. He returned to Africa to
further investigate possible sources of
the River Nile and eventually
succeeded where David had
failed – identifying it as
the Kagera River.
by

He

nr

y

81

HENRI

HOT
MtuOrU
alist and

a
n
h
c
n
e
r
F
1826 -1861

explorer

H

idden deep in the Cambodian jungle lies the ancient city of Angkor.
Between the 9th and early 14th centuries, Angkor was the centre
of the Khmer Empire in Cambodia. However, as the years went by nature
took the city over – creepers, vines, and strangler trees grew wild, surrounding
the buildings and the impressive Angkor Wat temple, built in the early 12th century.
Henri Mouhot found the secluded site in 1860. He wasn’t the first person to
rediscover it, but he did help to introduce it to the rest of the world.
In his twenties, Henri travelled throughout Europe and became interested in the
natural world. After reading The Kingdom and People of Siam, by John Bowring,
(Siam is the old word for Thailand), he was drawn to Southeast Asia. He
wanted to collect plant and animal specimens from remote parts of the
region, and the Royal Geographical and Zoological Societies in
London agreed to sponsor him, after others turned him down.

The profound
stillness of this forest,
and it s luxuriant tropical
vegetation , are indescribable,
and at this midnight hour
impress me deeply.

82

Henri’s adventures began in Bangkok,
the capital of Thailand. From there, he
travelled by elephant, horse, ox, and on foot
through the jungle to Cambodia. Henri faced
many dangers in the jungle – wild animals,
including leopards, were the biggest threat.
During the journey, he wrote about everything
he saw in his diary, and these writings were
eventually turned into a book.
Henri reached the ruins of Angkor in 1860. He was
impressed by how large and spectacular the ancient city
was. Even though it was overgrown with huge plants and trees,
it was filled with beautiful monuments and temples and there
were intricate carvings and sculptures everywhere. Of them all,
he was most fascinated by the temple of Angkor Wat. He made
many sketches and drawings of the area and sent them back home
to France. Today, Angkor is one of the most famous landmarks in
the world – thanks, in part, to Henri Mouhot.

Henri was a talented artist.
He sketched detailed
pictures of the Angkor Wat
temple and of the people,
plants, and animals
he encountered during
the expedition.

Angkor was the capital of
the Khmer kingdom. Angkor
was never lost – the Khmers
always knew where it was
and other Europeans had
even visited it before, such
as Portuguese friar Antonio
da Madalena in 1586.

83

O
C
S
I
C
N
A
R
O
N
E
R
F Ar
O
M
explorer
d
n
a
t
s
i
l
a
ge
r
u