Exploration of North America

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**Pre-Columbian Exploration:**
– Norse sailors settled Greenland in the 980s
– Norse village found in Newfoundland
– Viking voyages unknown in Europe until 1492
– Columbus’ voyages spread news of the New World
– Cabot discovered North America in 1497

**Further Nautical Explorations:**
– Pedro Álvares Cabral discovered Brazil in 1500
– Ponce de León reached Florida in 1513
– Balboa first European to see the Pacific Ocean in 1513
– Fagundes explored Newfoundland, Labrador, and Nova Scotia in 1519-1521
– Verrazzano explored the Atlantic coast in 1524

**Exploration in the 16th Century:**
– Spanish explorers crossed the Southwest and North American Southeast
– Cabeza de Vaca and Vásquez de Coronado explored the Southwest
– Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo explored the North American coast
– Spanish claim to the Pacific Coast of California in the mid-1500s
– Portolà expedition established Catholic missions from Baja California northward in the 18th century

**European Exploration of North America:**
– Hudson explored the Hudson River, Hudson Strait, and Hudson Bay
– Cartier claimed the St. Lawrence region for France in 1534
– De Soto led the first European expedition into the modern-day U.S. in 1539
– Samuel de Champlain founded Quebec City in 1608
– René-Robert Cavelier explored the Great Lakes region and Mississippi River

**Exploration of North America from 18th Century to Present:**
– Anthony Henday saw the Rocky Mountains in 1754
– Samuel Hearne found the Coppermine River in 1769–71
– Alexander Mackenzie discovered the Mackenzie River in 1789
– Simon Fraser reached the Pacific via the Fraser River in 1808
– David Thompson mapped over 90,000km of land and drafted the first European-style map of western Canada

The exploration of North America by European sailors and geographers was an effort by major European powers to map and explore the continent with the goal of economic, religious and military expansion. The combative and rapid nature of this exploration is the result of a series of countering actions by neighboring European nations to ensure no single country had garnered enough wealth and power from the Americas to militarily tip the scales over on the European continent. It spanned the late 15th to early 17th centuries, and consisted primarily of expeditions funded by Spain, England, France, and Portugal. See also the European colonization of the Americas.

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