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Explorers From 1500

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ALBUQUERQUE, AFONSO DEAfonso de Albuquerque (14??-1515) was a Portuguese soldier and explorer who sailed to the Spice Islands (the Moluccas, a group of Islands in Indonesia) in 1507-1511, trying to monopolize trade with this area; from Europe, he sailed around Africa to the Indian Ocean. He was appointed the Viceroy of India by King Emmanuel in 1509. He forcibly destroyed the Indian city of Calicut in January, 1510, and took Goa (in southern India) in March, 1510, claiming Goa for Portugal.

AYLLON, LUCAS VAZQUEZ DELucas VÐ"ÐŽzquez de AyllÐ"Ñ-n (1475-1526) was a Spanish conquistador and explorer who tried to start a colony in North America in 1526. He was the first European colonizer of what is now South Carolina. His attempt to settle the coast of the Carolinas (near the mouth of the Peedee River at Winyah Bay) was unsuccessful.

BALBOA, VASCO NUNEZ DEVasco Nunez de Balboa (1475-1519) was a Spanish conquistador and explorer. He was the first European to see the eastern part of the Pacific Ocean (in 1513), after crossing the Isthmus of Panama overland.

CABEZA DE VACA, ALVAR NUNEZAlvar NuÐ"±ez Cabeza de Vaca [Cabeza de Vaca means "head of a cow"] (1490?-1557?) was a Spanish explorer who sailed to North America from Spain, leaving in 1527. He traveled from Florida to Texas on a raft, then walked from Texas to Mexico City. He also explored the Paraguay River in South America. De Vaca and his fellow travelers were the first Europeans to see the bison, or American buffalo.

CABRAL, PEDRO ALVARESPedro Ð"Ѓlvares Cabral (1467-1520) was a Portuguese nobleman, explorer, and navigator who was the first European to see Brazil (on April 22, 1500). His patron was King Manuel I of Portugal, who sent him on an expedition to India. Cabral's 13 ships left on March 9, 1500, following the route of Vasco da Gama. On April 22,1500, he sighted land (Brazil), claiming it for Portugal and naming it the "Island of the True Cross." King Manuel renamed this land Holy Cross; it was later renamed once again, to Brazil, after a kind of dyewood found there, called pau-brasil. Cabral stayed in Brazil for 10 days and then continued on his way to India, in a trip fraught with shipwrecks (at the Cape of Good Hope), and fighting (with Muslim traders in India). After trading for spices in India, Cabral returned to Portugal on June 23, 1501, with only four of the original 13 ships.

CABOT, SEBASTIANSebastian Cabot (1474?-1557?) was an explorer, mapmaker and navigator of Italian descent. He worked as a cartographer (mapmaker) for England's King Henry VIII, was a captain for Spain's King Ferdinand V, explored for England's King Henry VII, and may have secretly explored for Venice. Sebastian Cabot's father was the explorer John Cabot. Cabot searched for the Northwest passage across North America (1508). He began an unsuccessful trip around the world (1526-1529) in a voyage that supposed to sail to China and the Moluccas (the Spice Islands, in Indonesia), but he only made it as far as the enormous mouth of the Rio de la Plata (a river between Argentina and Uruguay in South America). Later, he began to work for the English again, searching for a water passage across the north of Asia around 1553.

CABRILLO, JUAN RODRIGUEZJuan Rodriguez Cabrillo (? -1543) was a Spanish or Portuguese explorer (his nationality is uncertain). Cabrillo was the first European explorer of the Californian coast. In 1542, he sailed from Acapulco to southern California, claiming California for King Charles I of Spain. Cabrillo named San Diego Bay and Santa Barbara. He died on San Miguel Island (in the Santa Barbara Channel) after a fight with Indians, from complications resulting from a broken leg.

CARTIER, JACQUESJacques Cartier (1491-1557) was a French explorer who led three expeditions to Canada, in 1534, 1535, and 1541. He was looking for a route to the Pacific through North America (a Northwest Passage) but did not find one. Cartier paved the way for French exploration of North America. Cartier sailed inland, going 1,000 miles up the St. Lawrence River. He also tried to start a settlement in Quebec (in 1541), but it was abandoned after a terribly cold winter. Cartier named Canada; "Kanata" means village or settlement in the Huron-Iroquois language. Cartier was given directions by Huron-Iroquois Indians for the route to "kanata," a village near what is now Quebec, but Cartier later named the entire region Canada.

CASTILLO, BERNAL DIAZ DELBernal Diaz del Castillo, also known as Bernal Diaz, (1492-1584) was a Spanish historian and soldier who chronicled the Spanish conquest of Mexico. In 1514, he went to America as a soldier, with Pedrarias DÐ"ÐŽvila, the new governor of Darien. In 1517, he sailed to the Yucatan peninsula of Mexico, with Francisco de CÐ"Ñ-rdoba's expedition. He returned to Mexico in 1518 with Grijalva, and in 1519, with Hernando CortÐ"©s. This last expedition entailed over 100 battles, including the surrender of Mexico City (in 1521). As a reward for his service, he was appointed governor of Santiago de los Caballeros in Guatemala. Bernal Diaz del Castillo published "Verdadera Historia de la Conquista de Nueva EspaÐ"±a", (True History of the Conquest of New Spain) in 1568.

COLUMBUS, CHRISTOPHER Christopher Columbus (1451-1506) was an Italian explorer who sailed across the Atlantic Ocean in 1492, hoping to find a route to India (in order to trade for spices). He made a total of four trips to the Caribbean and South America during the years 1492-1504, sailing for King Ferdinand II and Queen Isabella of Spain. On his first trip, Columbus led an expedition with three ships, the NiÐ"±a, the Pinta, and the Santa Maria.

CORDOBA, FRANCISCO FERNANDEZ DEFrancisco FernÐ"ÐŽndez de CÐ"Ñ-rdoba (? - 1524) was a Spanish explorer and slave trader who explored Mexico (1517) and Nicaragua (1524). For more information on, Cordoba, click here.

CORONADO, FRANCISCO VASQUEZ DEFrancisco VÐ"ÐŽsquez de Coronado (1510-1554) was a Spanish ruler, explorer and conquistador. He was the first European to explore North America's Southwest.

CORTE REAL, GASPARGaspar Corte Real (1450?-1501?) was a Portuguese explorer who sailed to Greenland in 1500, and perhaps also reached the coast of North America (Newfoundland). Gaspar was lost at sea about 1501, and his brother Manuel died trying to find him. For more information on Corte Real, click here.

CORTES, HERNANHernÐ"ÐŽn CortÐ"©s (also spelled Cortez), MarquÐ"©s Del Valle De Oaxaca (1485-1547) was a Spanish adventurer and conquistador (he was also a failed law student) who overthrew the Aztec empire and claimed Mexico

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