Brave Explorers in History

Brave adventurers & explorers who ventured around the globe, and some who went outside the world to explore space.
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Humans have always been curious about what is over the next rise or what they can they discover about the world around them. Whether it's the land, the seas, or the skies, the urge to move beyond the known and find new - sometimes exotic - things is a part of the human condition.

There is no place in the world that has escaped human curiosity. From moving out of Africa at the dawn of human existence to reaching into outer space in the 1960's, explorers have furthered our knowledge about ourselves and our world. The Vikings "discovered" what we now know as North America in about 1000 CE - humans from Asia had inhabited the continent thousands of years earlier. Columbus sailed to the Caribbean in 1492 - and thereby encouraged other Europeans such as Sir Francis Drake and Magellan to circumnavigate the globe. In 1272, Marco Polo left Europe and traveled overland to China. Adventurers have tried to find a Northwest Passage in North America, sailed to Antarctica, and dived to the depths of the deepest oceans. Men (and some women) have traveled into space and set foot on the Moon. The only limits to our collective curiosity have been the technology that was necessary to explore hostile environments. The courage of explorers is boundless.

Without the adventurous spirit of our forefathers (and mothers), we would not have become who we are today. This is a collection of images of the people who pushed us to explore our physical boundaries.
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Photograph shows expedition members Edward A. Wilson, Robert F. Scott, Edgar Evans, Lawrence Oates, and Henry Robertson Bowers at the South Pole standing in front of Roald Amundsen's tent.
Captain Lawrence Edward Grace ("Titus") Oates, born March 17th 1880 and died March 16th, 1912, was an English explorer best remembered for his self-sacrifice during an expedition into the Antarctic. This particular photo of Captain Oates was taken around 1910 or 1911 during his journey with Robert Falcon Scott's expedition to the South Pole. Having relatively little experience, he was accepted in thanks to his strength and expertise with horses, but I believe that Robert was upset with his choice given that Lawrence and he argued continually during the expedition. During their expedition the team ran into multiple issues due to the extreme weather, status of the animals, and other ailments. Lawrence Oats himself fell prey to a combination of frostbite and scurvy, causing him immense pain in his feet during the return journey home. After days of agony, Lawrence asked that the rest of the group proceed without him as his condition slowed the group and risked them running out of food. With the team not willing to leave him behind, Lawrence Oates excused himself for a 'long walk' and left the tent to never return. Captain Robert Falcon Scott wrote in his diary "We knew that poor Oates was walking to his death, but though we tried to dissuade him, we knew it was the act of a brave man and an English gentleman". Unfortunately, his valiant effort did not save the rest of the team. The rest of the expedition, including Captain Scott died just a few days later, only twenty miles away from the nearest supply depot.
A photo of Amelia Earhart, standing with Mayor James Walker of New York
People in this photo:
Jul 24, 1897 - 1937
Arctic explorer Donald MacMillan in fur suit at wheel of ship Bowdoin
Added Jan 7, 2012 by: Ancient Faces
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Herr Oscar [i.e. Oskar] Iden-Zeller, the first white man to cross the Tschaun Mts., Siberia, on foot
People in this photo:
Unknown - Unknown
A photo of Frederick Albert Cook. He claimed that he reached the North Pole a year before Peary did, although Peary is credited.
A photo of Captain Benard, an Arctic explorer.
Added Dec 31, 2011 by: Ancient Faces
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A photo of an unnamed explorer, with Indian, on raft, in the Amazon Jungle, South America
Whoa camel - I'm in control: Harriett Chalmers Adams an explorer and contributor to National Geographic magazine, holding on to camels in the Gobi desert. Photo courtesy of the Library of Congress.
People in this photo:
Oct 22, 1875 - Unknown
Added Aug 21, 2011 by: Kathy Pinna
Kathy Pinna
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A photo of Thor Heyerdahl
People in this photo:
Oct 6, 1914 - Apr 18, 2002
Added Jul 24, 2019 by: Amanda S. Stevenson
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A photo of a portrait of Sir Francis Drake (1615–1687) BIRTH 1615 • EN DEATH 1687 • New Jersey, United States
People in this photo:
1615 - 1687
Added Oct 28, 2016 by: Angie Hopkins
Angie Hopkins
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A photo of Jacques Cousteau, famous undersea explorer.
People in this photo:
1910 - 1997
Added Oct 16, 2016 by: Kathy Pinna
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Neil Armstrong, born August 5, 1930, grew up to be the first man (or woman!) to set foot on the moon. And he did so much more with his life in addition to being an astronaut - he was a test pilot, a university professor, an aeronautical engineer, and served in the Korean War. This little boy grew up to explore a lot of our world, physically and mentally! He was born in Wapakoneta, Ohio to Stephen and Viola (Engel) Armstrong, the eldest of three children. An Eagle Scout, he fell in love with flying at the age of two and never lost that love. In fact, two weeks after his 20th birthday, he became a fully qualified Navy pilot and flew 78 missions in the Korean War (or Korean Conflict). But he is perhaps best remembered as the commander of Apollo 11 (the crew also consisted of Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins) and his famous statement upon stepping onto the moon: "That's one small step for [a] man, one giant leap for mankind." The "a" was not heard due to radio interference, so the well-known phrase became "That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind." After the Apollo 11 flight, Neil Armstrong taught, became active in business, and was still involved in NASA. But we all remember him for his first step onto the moon - and for where we were when we participated in that historic moment. Neil Armstrong died August 25, 2012 in Columbus, Ohio, due to complications following heart surgery. He was 82 years old. His family immediately issued a statment: "Honor his example of service, accomplishment and modesty, and the next time you walk outside on a clear night and see the moon smiling down at you, think of Neil Armstrong and give him a wink."
People in this photo:
Aug 5, 1930 - Aug 25, 2012
Added Aug 25, 2012 by: Kathy Pinna
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A photo of Amelia Earhart, born 120 years ago today on July 24th, 1897. Amelia Mary Earhart was not only an aviation trailblazer and author, but was also a pioneer who challenged gender stereotypes. During her 1937 attempt to circumnavigate the globe with navigator Fred Noonan, she was presumed lost and never found. But new evidence - including information from the National Archives (as well as a photo) - persuasively suggests that she landed in the Marshall Islands and was taken prisoner by the Japanese, dying 2 years later on Saipan. One of Amelia Earhart's most famous flights, the 1928 transatlantic flight that began on June 17th 1928 and lasted 20 hours and 40 minutes has an interesting story. As Amelia was actually a last minute replacement for Amy Phipps Guest, she had not had any training on the particular type of plane that was used (one that relied on specific instrumentation to fly). Therefore pilot Wilmer Stultz flew with her to 'document flying time', however, ended up piloting the plane the entire length of the trip. Once the team landed in Wales Amelia was quoted as saying "Stultz did all the flying—had to. I was just baggage, like a sack of potatoes." In 1932, Amelia Earhart set off alone, at the age of 34, from Newfoundland to a pasture in Culmore, Northern Ireland. She had intended to mimic Charles Lindbergh's solo flight to Paris but had run into major complications along the way. Amelia had multiple flights during her career - all of which pushed the limits and were aimed to break long standing records which (men) had accomplished. With her celebrity status, Amelia constantly focused on gender equality, showing that women could obtain the same objectives as men.
People in this photo:
Jul 24, 1897 - 1937
Added Jul 24, 2012 by: Daniel Pinna
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Sally Kristen Ride,was born on May 26, 1951 in Encino, California. She died on July 23, 2012 in La Jolla, California after a 17-month battle with pancreatic cancer at the age of 61. Her mother was Joyce Ride and her father Dale Ride. She graduated from Westlake high school in 1968. She received her bachelor of science in Physics and bachelor of arts in English from Stanford University in 1973. In 1975 she acquired a master of science. In 1978, she received her doctorate degree in Physics. On June 18, 1983 at 32 years old, she launched aboard the Space Shuttle Challenger as the first (and then youngest) female National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Astronaut. She joined the space agency in 1978 and left in 1987. Sally Ride was a humble individual who focused 100% on fulfilling her role as an astronaut and ignored the media who developed stories based on her being the first U.S. woman in space. Believe it or not, Sally became an astronaut by winning out amongst 8,000 people who responded to an advertisement in a newspaper seeking applicants for the NASA space program. She made a second flight aboard Challenger in 1984. She was set to do another flight, but it was canceled after the 1986 Challenger disaster. She served on the Presidential Commission investigating the accident. Ride helped develop the shuttle's robotic arm. In 1989, she became a Professor of Physics at UCSD and Director of the University of California’s California Space Institute. In 2001, she founded Sally Ride Science to motivate girls and young women to pursue careers in science, math and technology. Ride wrote five children’s science books. Dr. Ride received a myriad of honors and awards included the NASA Space Flight Medal. She was inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame and the Astronaut Hall of Fame.
People in this photo:
May 26, 1951 - Jul 23, 2012
Added Jul 23, 2012 by: Daniel Pinna
Daniel Pinna
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Howard Carter, born May 9th 1874, died March 2nd, 1939 was an English archaeologist who is best remembered for his legendary discovery of the tomb of Tutankhamun. Tutankhamun of course was the famous 14th century BC pharaoh of Egypt. Archaeologist Howard Carter is seen in this photo with a member of his excavation team (name unknown) posing in front of Tutankhamun's sarcophagus located in the Valley of the Kings, Egypt, February 1923.
People in this photo:
May 9, 1874 - Unknown
This is a photo of Landing of Cadillac's wife (at Detroit) added by Ancient Faces on January 11, 2012.
Added Jan 11, 2012 by: Ancient Faces
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Melville, Adm., Artic Explorer; Engineer of the USS Jeannette in 1880s; photographed c. 1910
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Added Jan 11, 2012 by: Ancient Faces
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A photo of Alexander Georg von Bunge
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Christopher Colombus, head-and-shoulders portrait, facing slightly right.
Added Jan 10, 2012 by: Ancient Faces
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Christopher Columbus kneeling in front of Queen Isabella
This is a photo of Title page of History of the United States, vol. I,... added by Ancient Faces on January 10, 2012.
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This is a photo of Vasco da Gama delivers the letter of King Manuel of... added by Ancient Faces on January 10, 2012.
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This is a photo of Columbus at the court of Barcelona added by Ancient Faces on January 10, 2012.
This is a photo of Columbus reception by the King Ferdinand and Queen... added by Ancient Faces on January 10, 2012.
Bank note vignettes showing explorers including Christopher Columbus(?), pilgrims landing in America, women symbolizing arts and sciences, and Benjamin Franklin performing electricity experiment with key and kite]
Added Jan 10, 2012 by: Ancient Faces
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This is a photo of [Bank note vignettes showing pilgrims, Christopher... added by Ancient Faces on January 10, 2012.
Added Jan 10, 2012 by: Ancient Faces
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This is a photo of An Indian Maid pours waters for explorer Hernando De Soto... added by Ancient Faces on January 10, 2012.
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This is a photo of Fresco painting "Explorer Verrazano" located in rotunda,... added by Ancient Faces on January 9, 2012.
Added Jan 9, 2012 by: Ancient Faces
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This is a photo of Fresco painting "Explorer Hudson" located in rotunda of... added by Ancient Faces on January 9, 2012.
Added Jan 9, 2012 by: Ancient Faces
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This is a photo of Fresco painting "Explorer Cabot" located in rotunda of... added by Ancient Faces on January 9, 2012.
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This is a photo of Fresco painting "Explorer Cortereal" located in rotunda,... added by Ancient Faces on January 9, 2012.
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Photograph shows Lt. Henry R. Bowers, Dr. Edward Wilson, and Apsley Cherry-Garrard, full-length portrait, standing in front of their sled, with building in the background, prior to setting off for Cape Crozier to collect penguin eggs, during the British Antarctic Expedition.
Photograph shows Captain Robert F. Scott, sitting at a table in his quarters, writing in his diary, during the British Antarctic Expedition.
Photograph shows Edward Wilson and his pony companion, Nobby
People in this photo:
1872 - 1912
This is a photo of Dr. Wilson added by Ancient Faces on January 9, 2012.
This is a photo of Captain Robert F. Scott on skis / H.G.P. added by Ancient Faces on January 9, 2012.
This is a photo of [Captain Lawrence E.G. Oates, half-length portrait,... added by Ancient Faces on January 9, 2012.
This is a photo of Edgar Evans, petty officer added by Ancient Faces on January 9, 2012.
Photographs show (1) expedition members Capt. Lawrence Oates, Lt. Henry Robertson Bowers, Capt. Robert F. Scott, Dr. Edward A. Wilson, and P.O. Edgar Evans at the South Pole, (2) on skis, towing a sled of provisions, and (3) Scott, Oates, Wislon, and Evans standing near Roald Amundsen's tent.
This is a photo of Avantures mal-heureuses du Sieur de la Salle / J. Van... added by Ancient Faces on January 9, 2012.
This is a photo of De Soto -- Tampa Bay, Florida--1539 / Drawn by Capt. S.... added by Ancient Faces on January 9, 2012.
Added Jan 9, 2012 by: Ancient Faces
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This is a photo of Landing of De Soto in Florida / Warren. added by Ancient Faces on January 9, 2012.
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This is a photo of Henry Hudson descending the Hudson River added by Ancient Faces on January 9, 2012.
This is a photo of Champlain exploring the Canadian wilderness added by Ancient Faces on January 9, 2012.
Added Jan 9, 2012 by: Ancient Faces
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This is a photo of Cartier ascending the St. Lawrence added by Ancient Faces on January 9, 2012.
This is a photo of Columbus explaining his discovery to King Ferdinand and... added by Ancient Faces on January 9, 2012.
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