Society

Explorers Who Circumnavigated The Globe

Taking a closer look at 15 important circumnavigations of the globe.

Circumnavigation refers to traveling around something like the continent or any astrological body. The circumnavigation distance should encompass going around the object around the great circle.The great circle distance on earth is about 40,000km which is the minimum distance required to circumnavigate the globe. The most efficient way of circumnavigating the earth is by passing through at least one pair of antipodal points and covering the minimum distance of the equator and spending equal time in both the northern and southern hemispheres.

15. Magellan-Elcano Expedition

Magellan Elcano expedition was a Spanish voyage and the first to circumnavigate the world under the command of Ferdinand Magellan, a Portuguese explorer in search of a maritime route to Spice Island, Indonesia. Although Ferdinand was killed en route in the present day the Philippines, his crew comprising of 18 members completed the round the world voyage under the command of Sebastián Elcano on September 6, 1522.

14. Francis Drake

Francis Drake, a renowned pirate of slaving voyages in the 16th century, was sent to South America in 1577 by Queen Elizabeth II to intercept the gold, silver, and jewelry that the Spanish were shipping to Spain across the Isthmus of Panama.Drake was successful in capturing twenty-six tons of silver, half a ton of gold, and pieces of jewelry. Since he could not sail back along South America, he proceeded to north California traversing through North and South America, Asia, Africa and returning to Europe in 1580 becoming the second person to circumnavigate the globe.

13. Martín Ignacio de Loyola

Martín Ignacio was a renowned missionary in India and China, who circumnavigated the globe twice in his lifetime. His first circumnavigation was made in a westerly direction from 1582-1584 from the Canary Islands while the second was made in an easterly direction between 1585 and 1589. On both accounts, Ignacio took advantage of the crown of Phillip II of Spain which united Spain and Portugal.

12. Pedro Cubero

Pedro was an ordained Spanish priest who enjoyed traveling the world in pursuit of his missionary work. In 1670. Pedro embarked on a journey to East Asia that eventually led him to circumnavigate the globe through the eastern direction. Unlike his predecessors who circumnavigated the globe through marine voyages, Pedro embarked on a land voyage through Western and Eastern Europe, Western and Central Asia and North America.

11. Giovanni Francesco Gemelli Careri

Francesco Careri was a famous 17th-century Italian adventurer and traveler. He undertook an around-the-world trip through land and water in five years by securing passage in trade ships. His trip, which was mainly done for pleasure rather than profit, was recorded in the sixth volume of the Giro Del Mondo, which gives detailed accounts of all the countries he visited.

10. William Dampier

William Dampier was a great English explorer who explored modern day Australia and became the first person to circumnavigate the world three times. As a buccaneer, sea captain, author and scientific observer, William traveled around the world on three accounts for trade purposes. His scientific interests inspired the great works of Charles Darwin while navigational skills and exploratory voyages that extended imperial and commercial interests around the globe prompted the colonization of Australia.

9. Jeanne Baré

Jeanne Bare was the first woman in history to circumnavigate the earth. She was a member of the Louis Antoine de Bougainville's voyage expedition that embarked on a round-the-earth trip between 1766 and 1769. Jeanne masked herself as a man and bordered the Etoile ship in pursuit of plants for her botanical profession. By the time of her death, Jeanne left behind a vestige of plants, seeds, and shells that have been preserved in the national d’histoire naturelle Museum providing future generation with insights of different parts of the world.

8. Robert Gray

Robert Gray was an American trade merchant and sea captain famous for connecting trading voyages in the north Pacific coast of North America between 1790 and 1793 hence pioneering the famous American maritime fur trade in that region. It was through this voyage that Gray completed the first American circumnavigation of the world and discovered the Colombia River in 1792 while exploring the coastline of Oregon County.

7. Adam Johann von Krusenstern and Yuri Lisyansky

The first Russian circumnavigation took place took place in 1803 and was funded by a Russian-American Company headed by Adam Johann von Krusenstern. The voyage involved a two-ship expedition, Hope under the command of Krusenstern and Neva under the command of Lisianski. The aim of the expedition was for Russia to establish trading partnerships with China and Japan as well as examine California as a probable colony in South America.

6. Faddey Bellingshausen and Mikhail Lazarev

Bellingshausen was a prominent cartographer appointed to head the Russian expedition in exploring the Southern Ocean and finding land in the proximity of the South Pole. Mikhail Lazarev was second in command to Bellingshausen and prepared the expedition to Antarctica in 1821. The pair circumnavigated the globe twice and never lost each other on the two trips.

5. Joshua Slocum

Joshua Slocum was a Nova Scotian American seaman and adventurer who became the first person to circumnavigate the globe single-handedly. He documented his adventures in his award-winning bestseller, Sailing Alone around the World. Joshua sailed using one of the gaff rigged sloop oyster boats he rebuilt in Massachusetts and named it the Spay. He disappeared aboard his boat in 1909 while exploring the Amazon River.

4. Harry Pidgeon

Harry Pidgeon was a renowned American sailor and an enthusiastic photographer who set the record as the second person to circumnavigate the globe single-handedly. He was also the first person to use the Panama Canal as the circumnavigation route and also the first solo circumnavigator to go round the earth twice. On both trips, Harry used a 34-foot yawl, which he constructed by himself. Prior to his first trip in 1921, Harry had no experience sailing and relied on adventures from a book in the local library.

3. Edward Beach

Operation Sandblast is the code given to the first submerged circumnavigation of the globe that took place in 1960 under the command of Edward Beach of the United States Navy. The nuclear powered submarine was an American creation that benchmarked America’s technological and scientific prowess during the Cold War. It completed the circumnavigation in 60 days travelling at an average speed of 21mph between February 24th and April 25th 1960.

2. Robin Knox-Johnston

Robin Johnston was an English sailor who became the first person to circumnavigate the world solo on a non-stop trip in 1969. He was one of the nine sailors to compete in the Times Golden Globe Race. He wanted the world to have the opportunity to understand the challenge and delight of ocean racing diverting attention from other activities like the seven summits. He set from Falmouth in June 1968 on his fully packed yacht and returned after 312 days securing his place in history.

1. Marvin Creamer

Marvin Creamer was a college professor and American sailor who sailed through the globe without the help of navigational instruments. Creamer together with his crew boarded a 32-foot boat known as the global star and relied on the stars, sun, currents, and regional biological settings for direction on a round-the-world circumnavigation that took 510 days. He was motivated by the avid stories of ocean-going sailboats in his teenage years.

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