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Sail down the Ivory Coast with the ancient Phoenicians. Meet the Kublai Khan with Marco Polo. Join the Antarctic explorers in their race to reach the South Pole. Discover vast new lands, plumb the depths of the deepest oceans, and venture into outer space. Find answers to everything you've ever wanted to know about the world's greatest adventurers and explorers...
Who was the greatest general & explorer of the ancient world? See page 7.
What was the Silk Road? See page 11.
What caused the Age of Exploration? See page 23.
What was considered the worst crime on the high seas? See page 45.
Who was Ynes Mexia? See page 69.
Who found the source of the Nile River? See page 74.
How did Ballard find Titanic? See page 105.
Who was the first woman in space? See page 135.
Also in The New York Public Library series . . .
Amazing Native American History
Amazing Hispanic American History
Amazing African American History
Amazing Women in American History
About the Author
THE NEW YORK PUBLIC LIBRARY's bestselling reference books include The New York Public Library Desk Reference, The New York Public Library Book of Answers, and The New York Public Library Student's Desk Reference.
BRENDAN JANUARY is the author of many nonfiction children's books.
Read an Excerpt
Throughout history, explorers have ventured into the unknown, often persevering in the face of ridicule, hardship, and death. They increased scientific knowledge, exchanged ideas, established trade, and, for better and for worse, brought the world closer together.
Tens of thousands of years ago, men and women spread through Africa, Europe, and Asia in search of food, a different climate, or safety from powerful enemies. These first explorers settled the world, eventually crossing a land bridge from Siberia into the Americas and traveling by canoe to settle Australia and the islands of the South Pacific. By 11,000 years ago, humans lived on all the continents except Antarctica. Before long, empires developed and began to dominate different areas of the earth. Much exploration was fueled by the desire of these empires for wealth through trade or conquest. Explorers set off in search of both.
Other explorers braved hunger and fatigue to spread the glory of their gods. Beginning in the late eighteenth century and continuing even today, men and women have set out on exploratory expeditions and sought adventure for a variety of reasons. Some searched for knowledge, recording the earth's plant and animal life from the crushing depths of the ocean floor to the dense jungles of Africa and South America. Still others were interested simply in going places where no other human had been before. By experiencing the thundering waterfalls of Lake Victoria, or by climbing the peak of Mount Everest, they felt the joy of great achievement. Another type of explorer took an interest in people. Their endless curiosity led them to remote and often dangerous places todescribe different cultures.
Explorers and adventurers often changed the course of world history by introducing one culture to another. But few of them made true discoveries. Columbus, Magellan, and other heroes of exploration did not "discover" the native peoples of the Americas and the Pacific. After all, these peoples had always known where they were. Most parts of the world have been settled for thousands of years, and many societies were informally knit together by trade.
We live at a time when few places on the earthÑ even the frozen continent of Antarctica--remain isolated from human exploration. It may be more accurate, therefore, to call the astounding "discoveries" of the past 2,000 years "rediscoveries."
This book uses questions and answers to tell tales of explorers around the world. Unfortunately, not all the exciting stories could be included. If you want to know more about a particular explorer or exploration in general, visit the New York Public Library or your local library and check out the books listed in the bibliography and recommended reading list at the end of this book.
Table of Contents
Expanding the Ancient World.
Discovering New Lands.
Exploring Grand Continents.
Exploring Oceans and Finding Islands.
Into the Lands of Ice and Snow.
Soaring High Above.
The New York Public Library's Recommended Reading List.