List of maritime explorers

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{land, century, early}
{theory, work, human}
{service, military, aircraft}
{country, population, people}
{work, book, publish}
{island, water, area}
{area, part, region}
{math, energy, light}
{mi², represent, 1st}

This is a list of notable maritime explorers throughout the history of Humanity.

Purpose of the list

The purpose of the list is to enable the reader to navigate between Wikipedia entries of diverse maritime explorers from a central encyclopedic point of reference.


A maritime explorer is the noted leader of the expedition [1] which primarily depends on a naval vessel mode of transportation to reach previously unknown or less known parts of the planet's maritime and coastal regions.

Some explorers combined expeditionary roles with naturalist studies and scientific research, means of establishing communication with other populations, commercial trade, and military missions such as establishment of colonies.

List scope

Necessarily the list can only relate to individuals and their missions which used watercraft for much of their duration. Maritime exploration has not diminished in importance with the emergence of the aircraft, and remains an important part of contemporary scientific research.

Although human maritime exploration is very ancient, only explorers known in recorded histories of their cultures are noted here. As such they represent three global maritime regions (in English alphabetic order): the Atlantic Ocean, the Indian Ocean and the Pacific Ocean and their sub-regional seas as points of origin of the exploration missions.

Notability criteria

The list includes explorers which had contributed, and continue to contribute to human knowledge of the planet's geography, weather, biodiversity, human cultures, the expansion of trade, or established communication between diverse populations.

Although many maritime explorers also used force as part of their missions, these are not considered as a reason for exclusion from the list because it represents a subjective contemporary view of the use of force.

Ocean explorers

See also

References and notes

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