Samuel De Champlain known as the father of New France, Samuel de Champlain explored much of what is now Canada. Champlain established the French colonies of Port Royal and Quebec City among others, and utilized the navigable waters of the Great Lakes to link the middle of North American with the trade routes of the Atlantic.
Juan Ponce de León was famous for his quest for the fountain of youth. But is there more myth than truth to this legend? Learn more about de Leon's journeys to the Caribbean and the Americas.
Amerigo Vespucci was the first person to realize that the land across the Atlantic was not Asia, but a new continent. Vespucci explored the South American coast, journeying down to the Amazon river.
John Cabot Five hundred years after the viking exploration of North America, Italian explorer John Cabot became the first known European to reach its mainland. Honing his sailing skills in the Meditteranean, Cabot followed in Columbus's footsteps to explore the Atlantic in search of a route to Asia.
Hernan Cortes now one of the most remembered conquistadors of all time, Hernán Cortés conquered vast parts of Mexico for Spain. While Cortés brought about the end of the Aztec civilization, his legacy is marred by his brutal treatment of Mexican natives.
Christopher Colombus brilliant explorer? Or violent conqueror? Almost no other explorer inspires as much controversy as Christopher Columbus. Find out more about this Italian explorer's historic journey to the Carribean in 1492.
Hernando De Soto as one of Spain's conquistadors, De Soto explored South and Central America in pursuit of treasure. Known for his ruthless tactics, De Soto enslaved indigenous tribes during his travels to build his wealth and ability to explore.
Francisco Vázquez de Coronado sought the fabled golden cities thought to be farther north of what was then New Spain. His exploration through the American Southwest turned up no golden cities, but made him the first European to see the Colorado river and the Grand Canyon.
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