Annie Edson Taylor

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About Annie Edson Taylor

She was the first person to survive going over Niagara Falls inside of a barrel.

Early life

She wanted to become a dance instructor.

Trivia

She was featured in the film Niagara: Miracles, Myths and Magic.

Family of Annie Edson Taylor

She grew up alongside eight siblings at her father’s flour mill. She later married David Taylor, with whom she had a son.

Close associates of Annie Edson Taylor

She was influenced by David Livingstone.

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Aurel Stein

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About Aurel Stein

Hungarian archaeologist who uncovered the Silk Road in three expeditions.

Early life

He was a professor in India before setting off on his famous journeys.

Trivia

He found many priceless artifacts during his exploration, including ancient Buddhist arts and tablets inscribed with ancient business deals.

Family of Aurel Stein

His parents were Jewish, but baptized both him and his brother to increase their chances of success in life.

Close associates of Aurel Stein

He was inspired by Sven Hedin ‘s writings on China to make his own expedition.

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Marco Polo

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About Marco Polo

Thirteenth-century explorer and namesake of the swimming pool game. He was the first European to keep a detailed journal of his experiences in China, and his writings became points of inspiration of Christopher Columbus.

Early life

He was raised by his aunt and uncle and grew up learning about merchant subjects, and the handling of cargo ships.

Trivia

Without his book, II Milione, early Europeans would have known little about Central Asia or China.

Family of Marco Polo

He married Donata Badoer, with whom he had three children.

Close associates of Marco Polo

Another famous Italian explorer was Amerigo Vespucci.

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Ferdinand Magellan

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About Ferdinand Magellan

Famous Portuguese explorer who sought a westerly route for spices. He planned the first successful expedition to circumnavigate the world.

Early life

Due to his family’s heritage, he became the page to the Portuguese royal court after his parents’ death.

Trivia

He was the first explorer to sail from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean.

Family of Ferdinand Magellan

He had two children with his wife, Maria Caldera Beatriz Barbosa, the daughter of his friend Diogo Barbosa.

Close associates of Ferdinand Magellan

He went out on his voyage shortly after Christopher Columbus discovered the Americas.

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Joseph Banks

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About Joseph Banks

Explorer and naturalist who accompanied James Cook on several round-the-world sea voyages. 

Early life

He became interested in the natural world as a child, and made that the subject of his studies at Oxford. 

Trivia

Although he had little formal scientific training, he collected and observed many samples which helped scientists back home.

Family of Joseph Banks

He inherited a considerable sum from his father, which financed his seafaring adventures.

Close associates of Joseph Banks

He was a member of the Royal Navy’s scientific expedition to the South Pacific with James Cook.

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John Smith

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About John Smith

English soldier, author, and explorer who was credited with the establishment of the first English settlement in North America.

Early life

He left home at age sixteen and became a sailor, and later served as a mercenary to Henry IV of France.

Trivia

He trained settlers to farm and survive in the very first English colony in North America: Jamestown.

Family of John Smith

His father’s death inspired him to leave home as a teenager to pursue a sailor’s life.

Close associates of John Smith

He was portrayed by Colin Farrell in the 2005 film The New World.

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