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Early Explorers

TermDefinition
Christopher Columbus First European to cross the Atlantic Ocean and return home. He believed he landed in the West Indies, but he had really landed in the Bahamas/San Salvador. He claimed land for the Spanish in the Bahamas and Central & South America.
Juan Ponce de Leon He searched for the Fountain of Youth but did not find it. He did, however, claim Florida for Spain.
Vasco Nunez de Balboa Spanish explorer who crossed the Isthmus of Panama to become the first European to "discover" the Pacific Ocean.
Amerigo Vespucci A Spanish explorer who set out to find out exactly what Columbus discovered. He realized that Columbus had actually landed in a whole "new world." America is named after him.
Hernando de Soto A Spanish explorer who was sent to claim land in North America for Spain. He explored much of the Southeast and became the first European to cross the Mississippi River.
John Cabot Italian explorer who was sent by England to find a route to the Indies. He claimed land from Newfoundland (Canada) to New Jersey for England. On his second voyage, he disappeared and was never heard from again.
Jacques Cartier French explorer who traveled down the St. Lawrence River while searching for a Northwest Passage. He claimed land in Canada for France.
Henry Hudson Sent by the Dutch and English to search for a Northwest Passage. Claimed land in present-day New York and explored the Hudson River and Hudson Bay. On his final voyage, his crew mutinied and set him adrift in a rowboat in Hudson Bay.
Columbian Exchange The exchange of goods and ideas between Europeans and Native Americans that began with Columbus' first voyage.
isthmus A narrow strip of land connecting two larger bodies of land (ex: Panama is an isthmus connecting North and South America.)
peninsula A piece of land surrounded on three sides by water (ex: Florida is a peninsula.)
St. Lawrence River The river that connects the Great Lakes to the Atlantic Ocean. It is also the border between the United States and Canada in many places. Explored by Jacques Cartier.
Leif Erikson A Viking who established settlements in Greenland, Iceland, and Newfoundland (Canada) around 1000 A.D.
Marco Polo An Italian merchant who explored large parts of China and India. He wrote a book about his travels that inspired many others to become explorers.
Northwest Passage A water route from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific ocean through North America (it doesn't exist)!
Created by: leonardkids4
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