James Cook (1728-1779)
Captain James Cook is one of the foremost figures in the history of navigation and exploration. He mapped much of the vast territory he explored in his three voyages, paving the way for others to travel. During his first voyage, (1768-1771) Cook circumnavigated the islands of New Zealand and mapped them with incredible accuracy. His second voyage (1772-1775) also advanced the European body of geographic knowledge by disproving the existence of a large southern continent sometimes called Terra Australis. Cook’s third and final voyage (1776-1779), a search for the Northwest Passage, was responsible for charting the majority of the western coast of North America up to the Bering Strait. Although the famous captain did not return home from his final journey, he paved the way for many explorers and travelers to follow in his footsteps. He pioneered the accurate cataloguing of a variety of data including the use of longitude and latitude to effectively plot courses and make maps.
Ferdinand Magellan (c.1480-1521)