Exploration is the act of searching or traveling for the purpose of discovery, e.g. of unknown people, including space (space exploration), for oil, gas, coal, ores, caves, water (Mineral exploration or prospecting), or information.

Although exploration has existed as long as human beings, its peak is seen as being during the Age of Discovery when European navigators traveled around the world discovering new lands and cultures.

Other uses

The term may also be used metaphorically, for example persons may speak of exploring the internet, sexuality, etc.

In scientific research, exploration is one of three purposes of research (the other two being description and explanation). Exploration is the attempt to develop an initial, rough understanding of some phenomenon.

Notable explorers

*Pytheas (380 – "c." 310 BC) - Greek explorer. First to circumnavigate Great Britain and to explore Germany. Reached "Thule", most commonly thought to be the Shetland Islands or Iceland.
*Brendan the Navigator (c. 484 – c. 577) - Irish monk, allegedly found Iceland and America in the 6th century.
*Dicuil (born in the 8th century) - Irish monk and geographer, author of "De mensura Orbis terrae".
*The Papar - Irish monks who lived in Iceland, 8th-9th centuries, before the Vikings.
*Erik the Red (950 - 1003) - Norwegian Viking explorer. After being cast out from Iceland, he sailed to Greenland and settled there.
*Leif Ericson (980 - 1020) - Icelandic explorer. Believed to have been the first European to land in North America.
*Friar Julian (traveled in 1235) - Hungarian Dominican friar.
*Marco Polo (1254 - 1324) - Italian explorer.
*Ibn Battuta (1304 - 1377) - Moroccan explorer.
*James of Ireland (fl.1316 - 1330) - Irish companion of Odoric of Pordenone.
*Simon FitzSimon (fl.1323), Irish author of a "itenerum" through Egypt and the Holy Land.
*Zheng He (1371 - 1433) - Chinese explorer.
*João Fernandes Lavrador (1445? - 1501) - Portuguese explorer. First European reaching Labrador/Newfoundland. Fernandes charted the coasts of Southwestern Greenland and of adjacent Northeastern North America around 1498. In 1501, Fernandes set sail again in discovery of lands and was never heard from again.
*John Cabot (c. 1450 - 1499) - Italian explorer for England. Discovered Newfoundland and claimed it for the Kingdom of England.
*Bartolomeu Dias (c. 1450 - 1500) - Portuguese explorer. He sailed from Portugal and reached the Cape of Good Hope.
*Christopher Columbus (1451 - 1506) - Genoese explorer for Spain. Sailed in 1492 and discovered the "New World" of the Americas.
*Amerigo Vespucci (c. 1454 - 1512) - Italian explorer for Spain. Sailed in 1499 and 1502. He explored the east coast of South America.
*Juan Ponce de León (c. 1460 - 1521) - Spanish explorer. He explored Florida while attempting to locate a Fountain of Youth.
*Piri Reis (c. 1465/1470 – 1554/1555) - Ottoman explorer.
*Pedro Álvares Cabral (c. 1467 - c. 1520) - Portuguese explorer, generally regarded as the European discoverer of Brazil.
*Vasco da Gama (c. 1469 - 1524) - Portuguese explorer. The first European to sail from Europe to India by rounding the Cape of Good Hope.
*Vasco Núñez de Balboa (c. 1475 - 1519) - Spanish explorer. The first European to cross the Isthmus of Panama and view the Pacific ocean from American shores.
*Francisco Pizarro (c. 1475 - 1541) - Spanish explorer. Conquered the Inca Empire.
*Juan Sebastián Elcano (1476 - 1526) - Spanish explorer. Completed the first circumnavigation of the globe in a single expedition after its captain, Magellan, was killed.
*Ferdinand Magellan (1480 - 1521) - Portuguese explorer for Spain. Initiated the first circumnavigation of the globe in a single expedition. Sailed through Strait of Magellan and named Pacific Ocean. Died in the Philippines after claiming them for Spain.
* Giovanni da Verrazzano (c. 1485 - 1528) - Italian explorer for France. Explored the northeast coast of America, from about present day South Carolina to Newfoundland.
*Hernán Cortés (1485 - 1545) - Spanish explorer. Conquered the Aztec Empire for Spain.
*Jacques Cartier (1491 – 1557) - French explorer. Discovered Canada.
*Hernando de Soto (c. 1496 - 1542) - Spanish explorer. Explored Florida, mainly northwest Florida, and discovered the Mississippi River.
*Francisco Vásquez de Coronado (c. 1510 - 1554) - Spanish explorer. Searched for the Seven Cities of Gold and discovered the Grand Canyon in the process.
* Francisco de Orellana (1511-1546) - Spanish explorer in 1541-42 sails the length of the Amazon River.
*Pedro Sarmiento de Gamboa (1532 - 1592) Spanish explorer of the Pacific.
*Sir Francis Drake (c. 1540 - 1596) - English explorer. The first English captain to sail around the world and survive.
*Alvaro de Mendaña de Neyra 1541-1596 - Spanish explorer of the Pacific.
*Willem Barentsz 1550-1597 Dutch navigator and explorer, leader of early expeditions to the far north.
*Pedro Fernandes de Queirós 1565-1614 Portuguese navigator. Explored the Pacific in the service of the Spanish Crown.
*Luis Váez de Torres (c. 1565- ) Spanish or Portuguese navigator. Explored the Pacific in the service of the Spanish Crown.
*Henry Hudson (1570 - 1611) - English explorer. Explored much of the North Atlantic, including Labrador, the coast of Greenland, and Hudson Bay. Presumed dead in a 1611 mutiny of his own crew.
*António de Andrade (1580 - 1634) - Portuguese explorer. First European reaching Tibet. His reports were the only account of the Tibet culture and geography until the second half of the 18th century.
*Abel Tasman (1603 - 1659) - Dutch explorer. Discovered New Zealand and Tasmania.
*Evliya Çelebi (1611 - 1682) - Ottoman traveller.
*Vitus Bering (1681 - 1741) - Danish explorer. Explored the Siberian Far East and Alaska and claimed it for Russia.
*James Cook (1728 - 1779) - English naval captain. Explored much of the Pacific including New Zealand, Australia and Hawaii.
*Jean François La Pérouse (1741–1788) was a French Navy officer and explorer whose expedition vanished in Oceania
*Alessandro Malaspina (1754-1810) - Italian explorer. Explored the Pacific and the west coast of North America in the service of Spanish Crown
*Alexander MacKenzie (1764-1820) Scottish-Canadian explorer who in 1789, looking for the Northwest Passage, followed the river now named after him to the Arctic Ocean and then in 1793 crossed the Rockies and reached the Pacific in 1793, thus beating Lewis and Clark by 12 years.
*Alexander von Humboldt (1769 - 1859) - German explorer and scientist whose work was foundational to the field of biogeography.
*Captain Meriwether Lewis (1774 - 1809) - American explorer and field scientist who led the Lewis and Clark Expedition into the Louisiana Purchase and the Pacific Northwest in 1804-1806.
*Edward Sabine(October 14, 1788 – May 26, 1883) - Irish participant in the Ross and Perry Arctic expeditions.
*Thomas Coulter (1793 – 1843) - Irish botanist and explorer of Mexico and Arizona.
*Charles Wilkes (April 3, 1798February 8, 1877) - American naval officer and explorer who commanded the United States Exploring Expedition
*George Fletcher Moore (10 December 1798 – 30 December 1886) - early Irish explorer of Australia
*Pierre-Jean De Smet (1801 - 1873) - Belgian missionary and explorer in North America.
*David Livingstone (1813 – 1873) - Scottish missionary and explorer in central Africa. He was the first European to see Victoria Falls, which he named in honour of Queen Victoria.
*Robert O'Hara Burke (1821 – c.28 June 1861) - Irish leader of the Burke and Wills expedition.
*Henry Morton Stanley (1841 – 1904) - Welsh journalist and explorer in central Africa best remembered for his search for David Livingstone, and upon finding him saying: "Dr. Livingstone, I presume?"
* George Comer (1858 - 1937) - American polar explorer. The "Comer Strait" of northern Southampton Island and the "Gallinula comeri" flightless bird of Gough Island were named in his honor.
* Fridtjof Nansen (1861 - 1930) - Norwegian explorer, scientist and diplomat. He was the first to cross the Greenland ice cap in 1888 and drifted across the Arctic ocean with the Fram in 1893-1896 where he attempted to reach the North Pole with Hjalmar Johansen.
* Otto Sverdrup (1854 - 1930) - Norwegian explorer. Joined Fridtjof Nansen acoss Greenland in 1888 and captain on the Fram on the polar drift in 1893-1896 and the 2nd Fram expedition in 1898-1902. Mapped the Northernmost part of Canada in 1898-1902.
*Roald Amundsen (1872 - 1928) - Norwegian explorer. He led the first successful Antarctic expedition between 1910 and 1912. He was also the first ever person to successfully traverse the North West Passage.
*Ernest Shackleton (1874 - 1922) - Irish Explorer, noted for his ill-fated Endurance expedition to Antarctica.
*Hiram Bingham III (1875 - 1956) - U.S. Senator from Connecticut and explorer best known for uncovering Machu Picchu.
*Robert Bartlett (1875 - 1946) - Newfoundland captain. Led over 40 expeditions to the Arctic, more than anyone before or since. Was the first to sail north of 88° N latitude.
*Tom Crean (20 July 1877 – 27 July 1938) - Irish Antarctic explorer.
*Knud Rasmussen (1879 - 1933) - Greenlandic polar explorer and anthropologist. Rasmussen was the first to cross the Northwest Passage via dog sled.
* Auguste Piccard (1884-1962), physicist, balloonist, hydronaut- Explored the stratosphere and the deep sea
*Ahmed Pasha Hassanein (1889 - 1946) - Egyptian explorer, diplomat, one of two non-European winners of Gold Medal of Royal Geographical Society in 1924, King's chamberlain, fencing participant to 1924 Olympics, photographer, author and discoverer of Jebel Uweinat, and writer of "The Lost Oases" book in three languages.
*Colonel Noel Andrew Croft (1906 - 1998) - held the record for the longest self-sustaining journey across the Arctic in the 1930s for 60 years.
*Sir Edmund Percival Hillary (1919–2008) - New Zealand explorer, together with Tenzing Norgay, the first to climb Mount Everest on May 29, 1953.
*Yuri Gagarin (March 9, 1934 – March 27, 1968) - Soviet cosmonaut who on April 12 1961 became the first man in space and the first human to orbit Earth.
*Neil Armstrong (born August 5, 1930) - American astronaut - First human being to set foot on the Moon on July 20, 1969.
*Robert Ballard - born in 1942) - undersea explorer; discovered the shipwreck of the "RMS Titanic"'.
*Dr. E. Lee Spence (1947- ) - undersea explorer and pioneer underwater archaeologist: discovered numerous shipwrecks including "H.L. Hunley" the first submarine in history to sink an enemy ship; and the "Georgiana," said to have been the most powerful Confederate cruiser.
*Reinhold Messner (born September 17, 1944) - Italian mountaineer, first man to climb all the 14 peaks higher than 8,000 meters.
* Frank Cole (1954 - 2000) - Canadian explorer, filmmaker and life extensionist. He was the first North American to cross the Sahara desert in 1990 alone on camel. He was murdered by bandits during a second crossing in 2000.

Exploration by area

*Norse colonization of the Americas
*European exploration of Arabia
*European exploration of Asia
*European exploration of Africa
*European exploration of Australia
*Exploration of the High Alps
*Exploration of Mercury
*Exploration of Venus
*Exploration of the Moon
*Exploration of Mars

See also

*Exploration of Asia
*BSES (British Schools Exploring Society) Expeditions
*Age of Exploration
*Cave exploration
*Confluence exploration/hunting
*Desert exploration
*Global Vision International
*Polar exploration
*Space exploration
*Urban exploration
*List of explorers
*Mineral exploration
*Time travel
*Explorer (newspaper)

External links

* [http://timetoeatthedogs.com Time to Eat the Dogs] - A Blog about Science, History, and Exploration
* [http://www.oceanexplorer.noaa.gov Ocean Explorer] - Public outreach site for explorations sponsored by the Office of Ocean Exploration.
* [http://oceanexplorer.noaa.gov/history/history.html NOAA, Ocean Explorer History]
* [http://oceanexplorer.noaa.gov/gallery/gallery.html NOAA, Ocean Explorer Gallery] - A rich collection of images, video, audio and [http://oceanexplorer.noaa.gov/explorations/podcast/06oceanexplorer_podcast.xml podcast] .
* [http://www.explore.noaa.gov NOAA's Office of Ocean Exploration]
* [http://www.edhelper.com/explorers.htm Explorers worksheets and printables for teachers]
* [http://www.saharasafaris.org/hassaneinbey/ Hassanein Bey of the Libyan Desert, RGS Gold Medalist of 1924] - NGS article of 1924, biography, etc.
* [http://www.nationalgeographic.com/field/explorers National Geographic Explorers] - National Geographic Explorers

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • exploration — [ ɛksplɔrasjɔ̃ ] n. f. • 1455, repris 1797; lat. exploratio 1 ♦ Action d explorer (un pays, une région). L exploration de l Afrique, du Congo à l Éthiopie, par la mission Marchand. Partir en exploration. ⇒ découverte, expédition , voyage… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Exploration — Ex plo*ra tion, n. [L. exploratio: cf. F. exploration.] The act of exploring, penetrating, or ranging over for purposes of discovery, especially of geographical discovery; examination; as, the exploration of unknown countries; (Med.) physical… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Exploration — steht für: alle Tätigkeiten, die mit der Erkundung von Lagerstätten zusammenhängen, siehe Exploration (Geologie) die Erhebung von soziologischen Daten, siehe Umfrage Erkundung, Erforschung, siehe Expedition die diagnostische Erhebung des Kranken… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • exploration — UK US /ˌekspləˈreɪʃən/ noun [C or U] ► the act of searching for something: »oil/gas/mineral exploration ► the act of going to a place to learn about it: »space/marine/Arctic exploration …   Financial and business terms

  • exploration — 1540s, from M.Fr. exploration and directly from L. explorationem (nom. exploratio), noun of action from pp. stem of explorare (see EXPLORE (Cf. explore)) …   Etymology dictionary

  • Exploration — (v. lat.), 1) Ausforschung, Prüfung; 2) die Untersuchung von Krankheiten mittelst der Sinne od. diese unterstützender Werkzeuge, durch die sogenannte physikalische Explorationsmethode (Percussion, Palpation, Auscultation), auch von Wunden durch… …   Pierer's Universal-Lexikon

  • Exploration — (lat.), Ausforschung, besonders die kunstgemäße Untersuchung eines Kranken durch den Arzt. Die E. eines Kranken zerfällt in 1) die Besichtigung (Inspektion), 2) das Betasten, Fühlen (Palpation), 3) wenn anwendbar, das Behorchen (Auskultation) und …   Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon

  • Exploration — (lat.), Ausforschung, Prüfung, Untersuchung; kunstgemäße ärztliche Untersuchung eines Kranken mit Hilfe der physik. Explorationsmethode (Sehen, Hören, Klopfen, Befühlen, thermometrische, chem., mikroskopische Untersuchung); explorieren,… …   Kleines Konversations-Lexikon

  • Exploration — Exploration, Ausforschung; medicinisch die kunstgerechte Untersuchung eines Kranken durch den Arzt, um sichere Erkenntniß eines vorliegenden Krankheitsfalles dadurch zu gewinnen. Die Untersuchung geschieht theils unmittelbar durch die Sinne,… …   Herders Conversations-Lexikon

  • exploration — index analysis, cross examination, cross questioning, discovery, examination (study), indagation, inquiry (request for information) …   Law dictionary

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