Famous Sailors



Famous Sailors and their Discoveries—The Shaping of History

Many people are intrigued with discovery, which makes them very curious about the famous sailors that made these sometimes life-changing findings. Sailors make up a very essential part of our history, and as a result of them, many countries were “rediscovered” connecting various parts of the world. Due to their accomplishments and multiple discoveries, this article aims at highlighting famous sailors from around the world.

Sailing was a very important part of life before the development of airplanes and cars. Sailors attempted to determine if the Earth was flat or round, but moreover, sailing was a part of everyday life during these times. Trading was done via water transportation enabling access to goods from other places. Sailors participated in multiple different trips that proved to be an adventure for the entire crew—some never returning home and being lost at sea. However, these sailing adventures were frequently funded by royalty and with a purpose. Specifically, those from countries such as Spain and England were constantly sailing, trying to make major discoveries before the other. These discoveries assisted with advancing the country and sailors financially, while also creating almost instant fame that was definitely desired. Therefore, let’s delve into some of the most famous sailors and their discoveries.

One of the most famous sailors that are covered in almost every history class includes Leif Ericson, the Norse sailor who was the first European person to visit the continent of North America in the 11th century. Obviously Christopher Columbus (another Italian sailor) is frequently given this accomplishment, however; he merely discovered and named several islands in the Caribbean and was not the one to make the initial discovery of the American continent. Furthermore, Sir Walter Raleigh (English) is also a very important sailor in history since he founded the first English colony in North America, which was located on the east coast of the continent on Roanoke Island.

Along with these sailors, there are many others that are notable and definitely worth examining. The Portuguese sailor Ferdinand Magellan is credited with being the first person to command an expedition that circumnavigated the globe (although he himself died before reaching the end of the voyage). Another great sailor includes Abel Tasman, a Dutch sailor who actually discovered New Zealand in the 17th century. About a hundred years later, James Cook, the English sailor, and his crew created a map of New Zealand’s north and south islands. Furthermore, he also explored parts of Australia before becoming the first European to visit Hawaii.

Important sailors that specifically are significant to Canadian discovery include Samuel de Champlain and Jacques Cartier. Samuel Champlain is noted for founding the first permanent settlement in Canada, Quebec City, in the 17th century. Jacques Cartier was a French sailor who discovered and explored the St. Lawrence River and the surrounding area 50 years before, in the 16th century.

As you can see, sailing plays a very important part of the history of the entire world. These sailors made essential discoveries that enabled a connection between different continents and peoples. These sailors risked their lives to make these discoveries since navigating the globe was definitely not as easy as it is today. Their navigational equipment was definitely sub-par to that of today’s society, but nonetheless without advanced technology these amazing discoveries were made. Although they have not been discussed here, there are other sailors that are definitely worth mentioning including the following: Vasco de Gama, Henry Hudson, Sir Francis Drake, Pedro Alvares Cabral, and others.

In conclusion, multiple famous sailors from around the world are extremely important throughout history. These sailors assisted with mapping out the oceans as well as several different countries. Due to their discoveries, a variety of colonies were developed in these “newly” discovered areas, which has some responsibility for the widespread population of each country that we see in today’s world. These sailors are essential to understanding history as a whole as well as our true family origins.