Timeline of European exploration

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**European Exploration in the 15th and 16th Centuries**:
– Portuguese explorers discover various islands and reach the Senegal River.
– Spanish explorers reach Brazil and explore the coasts of North and South America.
– Vicente Yáñez Pinzón, Pedro Álvares Cabral, and others make significant discoveries in the Americas.
– Ferdinand Magellan’s expedition circumnavigates the globe and explores various islands and straits.
Exploration of rivers, islands, and Arctic regions takes place during this period.

**17th Century European Exploration**:
– Russian explorers conquer Siberia and reach the Pacific Ocean via the Arctic.
– Dutch explorers contribute to the mapping of Australia and explore the South Pacific and Oceania.
Exploration of Alaska and the South Pacific continues.
– Significant advancements in exploring the South Pacific, Oceania, and Alaska occur during this century.

**18th Century European Exploration**:
Exploration of the South Pacific, Oceania, and Alaska continues.
– James Cook maps the Pacific, while the French and Spanish explore the Pacific coast of North America.
– Major explorations and mapping efforts in the Pacific and North America characterize this century.

**19th Century European Exploration**:
– Intensified exploration of the polar regions and excursions into Africa occur.
– Notable expeditions like John Franklin’s Arctic journey and Roald Amundsen’s South Pole expedition take place.
– David Livingstone explores Africa, marking significant advancements in African exploration during this century.

**Exploration of Various Regions**:
Exploration of Siberia, Asia, and Australia, including the discovery of new territories and crossing significant landmarks.
Exploration of North America, including mapping of rivers, islands, and coastlines.
– Discovery and exploration of the Pacific Islands, Africa, and South Asia.
Exploration of Siberian rivers, the Far East, and Eastern Russia, with significant discoveries and geographical explorations.
– Detailed travel routes, geographical explorations, and discoveries in Eastern Russia and Siberia.

This timeline of European exploration lists major geographic discoveries and other firsts credited to or involving Europeans during the Age of Discovery and the following centuries, between the years AD 1418 and 1957.

Columbus before the Queen, imagined by Emanuel Gottlieb Leutze, 1843

Despite several significant transoceanic and transcontinental explorations by European civilizations in the preceding centuries, the precise geography of the Earth outside of Europe was largely unknown to Europeans before the 15th century, when technological advances (especially in sea travel) as well as the rise of colonialism, mercantilism, and a host of other social, cultural, and economic changes made it possible to organize large-scale exploratory expeditions to uncharted parts of the globe.

The Age of Discovery arguably began in the early 15th century with the rounding of the feared Cape Bojador and Portuguese exploration of the west coast of Africa, while in the last decade of the century the Spanish sent expeditions far across the Atlantic, where the Americas would eventually be reached, and the Portuguese found a sea route to India. In the 16th century, various European states funded expeditions to the interior of both North and South America, as well as to their respective west and east coasts, north to California and Labrador and south to Chile and Tierra del Fuego. In the 17th century, Russian explorers conquered Siberia in search of sables, while the Dutch contributed greatly to the charting of Australia. The 18th century witnessed the first extensive explorations of the South Pacific and Oceania and the exploration of Alaska, while the 19th was dominated by exploration of the polar regions and excursions into the heart of Africa. By the early 20th century, the poles themselves had been reached.

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