Discovery of America

America the New World - Voyage of Christopher Columbus

Discovery of America - Voyage of Christopher Columbus

This article on  Discovery of America provides facts and information about:

  • The European Countries discovery of America
  • The names of the famous explorers involved in the Discovery of America
  • Fast facts and information about the  Discovery of America by England, France and Spain
  • Interesting information about the  famous men who discovered America
  • The discovery of America by famous explorers such as Christopher Columbus, John Cabot & Henry Hudson
American Colonies Index

History of the first explorers and the Discovery of America

The first explorers and the discovery and the subsequent colonization of America, the New World

The Discovery of America
The Discovery of America involves the voyages of discovery of many famous and courageous explorers of America who undertook the 3000 mile journey from Europe to North America across perilous, unchartered seas. These adventurous men were searching for:

  • New trade routes
  • New enterprises and riches
  • New lands to build an empire for their mother country
  • Many were looking to spread Christianity among indigenous peoples
  • Refer to the French in America and the Spanish in America

Discovery of America Fact File
The facts file is a chart containing fast, interesting information and list of the names of the explorers credited with taking a part in the Discovery of America, the dates of the explorations and the country of origin of each of the explorers. Facts about the discovery of the New World also included details of important events that each explorer initiated.


Discovery of America Fact File

FactsName of ExplorerSponsor CountryDateFacts about the Explorers
and the Discovery of America
Discovery of America Fact 1Leif EricsonNorwayca1000

Leif Ericson was a Northman, the son of Eric the Red who had founded a colony in Greenland. Leif Ericson was the first European to visit the New World. He found many grape-vines and called it Vinland or Wineland

Discovery of America Fact 2Christopher ColumbusSpain1492

Christopher Columbus was searching for a new trade route to China (Cathay). Columbus took possession of the new land for Ferdinand and Isabella, King and Queen of Aragon and Castile

Discovery of America Fact 3John CabotEngland1497

John Cabot sailed from Bristol, England, he crossed the North Atlantic and reached the coast of America north of Nova Scotia. Like Columbus Cabot thought North America was China. John Cabot claimed the land for England

Discovery of America Fact 4Amerigo VespucciSpain1499

Amerigo Vespucci demonstrated that the New World was not Asia but a previously-unknown fourth continent.

Discovery of America Fact 5Vasco de BalboaSpain1513

Vasco de Balboa crossed the Isthmus of Panama to the Pacific Ocean to become the first European to lead an expedition to reach the Pacific from the New World

Discovery of America Fact 6Ponce de LeonSpain1513

Juan Ponce de Leon sailed around the southern end of Florida and back to the West Indies in 1513. In 1521 Ponce de Leon visited Florida again and was wounded by an Indian arrow, and returned home to die.

Discovery of America Fact 7Ferdinand MagellanPortugal1519

Ferdinand Magellan led the first expedition around the world, sailing through the Straits of Magellan and entered the Pacific Ocean

Discovery of America Fact 8Hernando CortesSpain1519

Hernando Cortes began the first phase of the Spanish colonization of the Americas and conquered the Aztec empire.

Discovery of America Fact 9Giovanni da VerrazzanoFrance1524

Giovanni da Verrazzano was Italian born and led the first French expedition to America. He explored the coast of North America between the Carolinas and Newfoundland, including New York Harbor and Narragansett Bay

Discovery of America Fact 10Jacques CartierFrance1534

Jacques Cartier explored the coast from the Cape Fear River to Nova Scotia. He visited the Gulf of St. Lawrence and sailed up the St. Lawrence River to Montreal


Discovery of America Fact File

Discovery of America Fact File
The facts file is a chart containing fast, interesting information and list of the names of the explorers who played important roles in the discovery of America.

.Amerigo Vespucci arrives in the New World

Amerigo Vespucci arrives in the New World

Discovery of America Fact File

FactsName of ExplorerSponsor CountryDateFacts about the Explorers
and the Discovery of America
Discovery of America Fact 11Hernando
de Soto

Hernando de Soto explored the southeastern United States from Tampa Bay to to South Carolina and was the first European documented to have crossed the Mississippi River

Discovery of America Fact 12Francisco Vasquez de CoronadoSpain1540

Francisco Vasquez de Coronado visited New Mexico and other parts of what are now the southwestern United States between 1540 and 1542. He discovered the Great Plains of Kansas. Coronado had hoped to conquer the mythical Seven Cities of Gold

Discovery of America Fact 13Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo


Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo led the first European expedition to explore the upper California coast

Discovery of America Fact 14Jean RibaultFrance1562

Jean Ribault explored the Carolina coasts and Florida. Jean Ribault became a colonizer of what would become the southeastern United States

Discovery of America Fact 15Sir John HawkinsEngland1562

John Hawkins carried cargoes of negro slaves from Africa to the West Indies and sold them to the Spanish planters

Discovery of America Fact 16Sir Francis DrakeEngland1577

John Hawkins's cousin, Francis Drake made his famous voyage round the world in his ship the Pelican which was later re-named as the Golden Hind. Francis Drake repaired his ship, off the coast of California, and returned home by the way of the Cape of Good Hope

Discovery of America Fact 17Sir Walter RaleighEngland1578

In 1578, Raleigh sailed to America with explorer Sir Humphrey Gilbert, his half brother. In 1584 Sir Walter provided the backing that led to the establishment of the Virginia colony of Roanoke Island and the introduction of tobacco and potatoes in England. 

Discovery of America Fact 18Henry

Sir Henry Hudson was famous for the discovery of the Hudson River, the Hudson Strait and Hudson Bay

Discovery of America Fact 19Samuel de ChamplainFrance1603

Samuel de Champlain was the Founder of Quebec City and discovered Lake Champlain on the border between present day northern New York and Vermont.


Discovery of America Fact File

Discovery of America - The Naming and Origin of the Name
An important part in the history and Discovery of America was the facts behind the name. What was the origin of the name? The name 'America' derives from the Latin version of the first name of the early explorer, Amerigo Vespucci. But who was responsible for the naming of the New World?

The man responsible for naming the land, and the origin of the name, was a German called Martin Waldseemuller. Martin Waldseemuller was working on a world map, based on the work of Ptolemy.  Martin Waldseemuller had read of the voyages of discovery made by Amerigo Vespucci and realised that the New World was two continents. Martin Waldseemuller named the new continent after Amerigo Vespucci.  Martin Waldseemuller printed a wood block map, called "Carta Mariana", with the name "America" spread across the southern continent of the New World.

Martin Waldseemuller printed and sold 1000 copies of the map across Europe. The name stuck, and when the second huge land mass of North America was discovered the names North and South America were applied to the two continents. In 1538 a world map was produced by Gerardus Mercator which was the first to include the names of North America and South America on the two continents.

Mercator World Map

The Discovery of America - The Geradus Mercator World Map

The Discovery of America - Larger view of Mercator's Map showing the name given to North America

The Discovery of America - Close-up view of Mercator's Map showing the names given

The Discovery of America

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