|1st century AD
||Chinese invent the first compass.
||Ptolemy creates the first flat map of the world.
||Eric the Red discovers Greenland.
||Leif Ericson discovers North America.
||Marco Polo goes to China.
the Navigator builds school for sailors.
||Turkish Empire cuts off the land route for spices from Asia
to Europe. Search for sea route begins.
||Bartholomeu Dias discovers the southern tip of Africa.
||Columbus sails to the New World.
||John Cabot discovers
Newfoundland while he searches for the Northwest Passage.
||Amerigo Vespucci returns from his
explorations of the New World. American continents named after him
by German mapmaker.
||Vasco Nunez de Balboa discovers the
eastern shore of the Pacific Ocean. Juan Ponce de Leon searches for
the Fountain of Youth in Florida.
|1519 - 1522
||Ferdinand Magellan and his crew
sail around the world.
||Hernando Cortez defeats the Aztec
||Francisco Pizarro defeats the Inca
||Jacques Cartier discovers
the St. Lawrence River and the Great Lakes.
|1539 - 1542
||Hernando De Soto explores the
southeastern United States.
||Francisco Vasquez de Coronado
explores the southwestern United States and discovers the Grand Canyon.
||Sir Francis Drake
becomes the first Englishman to sail around the world.
||Father Jacques Marquette
and Louis Jolliet explore the Mississippi River.
||Rene-Robert de La Salle explores
the Mississippi River from the Great Lakes to the Gulf of Mexico.