10 exploradores aventureros que cambiaron el mundo con sus expediciones


10 adventurous explorers who changed the world with their expeditions

We have all heard of great and famous explorers of unknown places on Earth such as Columbus, Marco Polo, Neil Armstrong, Amelia Earhart etc. But the world has always been full of people thirsty to learn more, to go further, to set no limits to curiosity and their desire not to leave this world without exploring the unexplored.

In this post we show you 10 of the greatest adventurers, their expeditions and the contributions they have left to humanity and the Earth.


May French Sheldon - 10 exploradores aventureros que cambiaron al mundo con sus expediciones

With the aim of demonstrating that women could also be explorers, May French Sheldon managed to organize an expedition to Kilimanjaro, in which, with her imperturbable and decisive, but sensitive personality, she earned the affection and respect of her companions and the trust of the tribes he met. It is known, with reason, as the “White Queen of Kilimanjaro”.

Born in 1847, in Pennsylvania. His mother was dedicated to the study of medicine and his father owned numerous plantations. In 1891 she decided to leave everything to go to discover Mombasa followed by a team of 150 people who decided to accompany her.

May's luggage, in addition to incorporating the essential material for an expedition of that magnitude, also included a series of luxury objects such as a zinc bathtub, sheets, porcelain cutlery and a large wardrobe, which could be interpreted as an intention of the woman by travel really comfortable, but really, it was part of a strategy that he would use when establishing contact with the tribes. She would rather act like a grateful hostess or foreigner than do it with violence. Thus, the crockery was used to offer a good banquet to the natives, and the rest of the objects became gifts of all kinds that he gave to the natives of the lands he visited.

After many nights of camping and contact with the peoples of the region, the White Queen found the region of the Masais north of Kilimanjaro. In 1982, he published a memoir called "From sultan to sultan" where he recounted in detail his experiences, emotions and the beauty of the African landscape.

When she returned, May was made a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society of Great Britain and various anthropological associations. Once again, from the warmth of her home, she could breathe easy, because after so many adventures she had shown the world that, with will and tenacity, women were more than capable of doing the same as men.


Mary Kingsley- 10 exploradores aventureros que cambiaron al mundo con sus expediciones

The story of this fearless woman begins with a trip to Africa accompanied by a tea bag, a toothbrush and a comb; and we say that her story begins with the trip because, before that, Kingsley's life was based on trying to understand why her brother could study for a university degree at Cambridge, while she was limited to studying German to translate the articles that his father wrote.

Fortunately or unfortunately, Mary's luck changed when she was not yet 30 years old, and both of her parents died. He was then aware that it was going to be a few months until someone would take care of him again, and he felt, for the first time in his life, free. He decided that it was time to consider traveling.

In her imagination, she had visualized the African continent as a very attractive destination, but in 1893 it was quite difficult for a woman to travel alone to Africa. Despite criticism and limitations, Mary managed to board a ship in Liverpool bound for Sierra Leone. Later, it undertook the exploration of the coast of the gulf of Guinea until Luanda, Angola, and later it entered Nigeria.

The objective of his expeditions was to learn about and integrate into the customs of the local peoples. In addition, his scientific work was focused on participatory observation, which meant coexistence with the tribes. Mary is one of the forerunners of cultural anthropology and one of the first ethnographers to carry out authentic fieldwork.

One of the events that let us see the explorer's character and daring was when she managed to get out of a confrontation with a leopard, hitting it with a jug of water.


Ronald Amundsen- 10 exploradores que cambiaron al mundo con sus expediciones

Leading the expedition that reached the South Pole for the first time in history is a very valid reason to affirm that an explorer has transformed the world. Roald Amundsen's career was full of adventures and exploits, but without a doubt, this was the most important of his life. This Norwegian man always had his objectives clear, and he achieved them; he was the first to reach the South Pole, and the first to fly over the North Pole.

Tenacious and visionary, Amundsen was born in 1872 in Norway, into a family of sailors and fishermen who dreamed of following in the footsteps of Fridtjof Nansen, a compatriot who crossed Greenland when he was young.

When both of his parents die, Roald decides to abandon his medical studies to replace them by boarding a boat dedicated to fishing for seals. His experience on this and on the successive ships on which he was boarding allowed him to join an expedition to the Antarctica, which ended up becoming the first march to experience an Antarctic winter in history.

After overcoming this experience and returning home, Admundsen's mind begins to outline a very clear objective: to check if there is a pass that connects the Atlantic and Pacific oceans through its northern border; and thus discover the Northwest Passage.

he Decides to buy a small sealing fishing boat and, in 1903, sets out to sea together with 6 companions in search of his life goal. During the voyage, the ship ran aground in Ross Strait and the crew had to spend the winter on King William Island, where they fraternized with the Eskimos and observed how they lived in that environment. The discoveries they were making in King William were so stimulating that when summer arrived, the expedition members decided to stay on the island for another year. Finally, on August 13, 1905, they resumed a difficult navigation between Victoria Island and the Continent. On August 27 they find a whaler coming from San Francisco, arrived from the west. They had accomplished the mission.

While this was the explorer's most acclaimed achievement, there were many more; he wanted to reach, and did reach, the South Pole, he learned to fly by participating in the first flyby of the North Pole, and in his repetition of the experience he crashed into the ice. His body was never found.


10 exploradores aventureros que cambiaron el mundo con sus expediciones- Henry Morton Stanley y David Livingstone

“Doctor Livingstone, I suppose” is the mythical phrase that has remained from the most famous reunion in history. On November 10, 1871, Henry Stanley found explorer David Livingstone in a remote village near Lake Tanganyika, after almost a year searching for him, who had not given signs of life for two years and more than 6 wandering through the interior of the continent. .

Livingstone set foot in Africa for the first time hand in hand with the London Missionary Society with the intention of taking the word of God to the southern regions, but his travels and experiences hardened in him a spirit of explorer who could not refuse to live Thanks to following his instinct, Livingstone traveled where no foreigner had traveled before, which allowed him to make discoveries such as Lake Ngami, which awarded him the medal of the Royal Geographical Society or give the name to Victoria Falls. He crossed Africa from Luanda to Mozambique and became a born student of the river systems of the great central African basin.

Stanley for his part, far from being an intrepid explorer, earned his living as a journalist and the New York Herald newspaper offered him 20.000 dollars in exchange for searching, finding and returning to report it to the most famous explorer of the 19th century: Dr. Livingstone.

When Stanley found him, she stayed with him for five months. During that time, the journalist accompanied the doctor on his expeditions and adventures. Stanley proposed to Livingstone to return to him, but Livingstone flatly refused. In March 1872 both said goodbye to never see each other again. The doctor died the following year in a small town on Lake Bangweulu in Zambia.


Alexandra David Neel- 10 Exploradores aventureros que cambiaron al mundo con sus expediciones

The first western woman to set foot in Tibet. More specifically, the city of Lhasa, the capital of the country, whose entry was strictly prohibited to all foreigners.

This woman of French origin, writer, thinker and adventurer, was born in 1868 in the nucleus of the European high society of the moment. Although his mother gave him an education based on faith, religion and appearances, his father showed him the revolutionary and real side of life, he transmitted values ​​such as ambition, curiosity and nonconformity. Thus, before turning 25, the young woman had already visited India and Tunisia, and toured parts of Spain on a bicycle. All this she managed to do alone, without companions. Her life consisted of a succession of trips, experiences, learning and adventures, but her main objective was still to cross the capital of Tibet and every time she tried, she ended up being arrested and deported. In the end, in order to gain access to the city, Alexandra drew up a plan. She and her adventure partner disguised themselves as beggars and, in the words of David Neel, this is what happened: "We told everyone we were going in search of medicinal herbs. Yongden posed as my son. We decided to travel at night and rest during the day. Travel like ghosts, invisible to the eyes of others." When they reached the entrance to the city, a sandstorm helped them to remain unnoticed.After four months and two thousand kilometers on foot through the Himalayas, Alexandra achieved her goal.


Eileen Collins- 10 exploradores aventureros que cambiaron al mundo con sus expediciones

"We feel the same fascination as men for space, and it will become easier every time because prejudices and barriers are finally falling down."

Eileen Collins changed the history of space aviation on July 20, 1999, the day she became the first woman in history to command a space shuttle. She is known as “the rocket woman” and it is not surprising, since, in addition to piloting the shuttle, she was the first commander of a special mission and participated in four space flights.

His trajectory is, to say the least, remarkable, starting with the fact that he was born into a humble family that could not easily afford to pay for his studies at the university; However, the pilot managed to study and graduate in Science and Mathematics in 1976 and, later, in 1979 she graduated in Mathematics and Economics. She was the only woman in her promotion. That same year (1979) she was also a member of the Ninety-Nines, a group of pioneering women in demanding the rights of female aviators. The following year he obtained his pilot rating at an Air Force Base in Oklahoma.

After two years at the Air Force Academy he earned a reputation as a good pilot, and a year later he passed the tests to become an astronaut. Her position in charge of a space flight in 1995 would make her a great professional, which would later help NASA decide that she was the one to command, for the first time in its history, a shuttle.


Michael Fay- 10 exploradores aventureros que cambiaron al mundo con sus expediciones

In 1999, J. Michael Fay walked a journey that began in the Republic of the Congo and ended 456 days later on the coast of Gabon. The explorer wore open-toed sandals throughout the journey, and did not replace them with other footwear at any time. The flesh that protruded from the sandal meant that, on the eleventh day of the route, Fay's feet were full of worms that had begun to penetrate her toes to the point of rotting them.

The route had an extension of 3200 kilometers. Fay collected an enormous amount of data, and he hoped his trip, sponsored by the Wildlife Conservation Society and the National Geographic Society, would draw attention to the last pristine forest in central Africa. And he got it. The Gabonese government, moved by the feat and the value that Fay had dedicated, converted an area of ​​28.500 square kilometers in a system of 13 national parks.

Fray contributed greatly to the transformation of large-scale conservation for the better on the continent.


Nirmal Purja- 10 exploradores aventureros que cambiaron al mundo con sus expediciones

What stands out most about this Nepali mountaineer are the criticisms he has received for his technique and for the resources he has used to become the fastest to climb the highest mountains on the planet. However, no one can deny his achievements: it took him less than a year to climb 14 eight-thousanders.

Away from a life rich in comfort or economic stability, the Nepali attended school and combined his classes and homework with various jobs to help at home, and, surrounded by a large family and deprivations of all kinds, he emerged from childhood became a Gurkha soldier in the UK infantry, where he remained for 16 years. He gave up everything to become a mountaineer.

Nirmal Purja not only became a mountaineer, but also raised a project called "Project Possible 14/7" which consisted of climbing the 14 summits that exceed 8.000 meters high in seven months. It started on April 23 in Nepal, when he conquered Annapurna from 8.091 meters.In 2019 he crowned the 14 'eight thousand' in the fastest way he could. Until then, the record was seven years, 10 months and six days. The Nepali did it in six months and six days.

“If I wanted to break a record, I could have said, 'I'll do it in seven years,' but it wasn't about being better. I wanted to show the world what was possible from a human point of view if you put the rest in and put your mind, heart and soul into it. I wanted to pay tribute to the Nepalese climbers. For the last 100 years we have been in the background. The 'eight thousand' are our terrain. I felt like I had to do something and that's what gave me energy."


Victor Vescobo- 10 exploradores aventureros que cambiaron el mundo con sus expediciones

Traveling (almost) to the center of the Earth is no longer the stuff of Jules Verne's books: in 2019 a team of four people, led by Víctor Vescovo, submerged under the waters of the Pacific to reach the most remote point that anyone has ever reached. They did not descend further, not because of technological limitations, but because they reached the deepest point of the planet's ocean waters.

Although Vescovo considers himself an athlete, close to nature and akin to adventure, he took a path in his life that was far from dedication to exploration, as he is a businessman and investor, however, his His great love for the ocean has led to the fact that, aboard a submersible, he has broken the record for making the deepest dive, located specifically in the Mariana Trench.

The team, led by Vescovo and three others, descended almost 11 km below the surface, a depth of 10.928 meters. From the time they entered the water until they saw the light of heaven again, 12 hours passed. 4 going down, 4 going up, and the rest they spent living the experience of visiting what no one has ever visited, and seeing for the first time, surrounded by darkness and silence, what the icy waters of the Pacific hide.

“70% of the Earth is under water and most of it is more than 4.000 meters deep. It is a hostile environment. That's why we built this submarine, to start scratching at it." (Victor Vescovo).

The discoveries that were made as a result of this adventure were, to say the least, interesting: on the one hand, three new aquatic species were found. In addition, some fish that had never been seen before were discovered in the depths of Challenger Deep.

But the expedition also had its bitter side, because the most interesting and chilling part of the trip, far from the euphoria of discovering that there are still species and animals that we don't know about, is that it was found 11 kilometers from abroad, something very familiar to us : an impressive and alarming amount of plastic. It is sad that before us, the consequences of our worst version reach the bottom of the sea.


Sylvia Earle- 10 exploradores que cambiaron al mundo con sus expediciones

This oceanographer is recognized as a "Heroine of the Planet" by Time magazine, and it is not surprising, in 1980, she descended 381 meters deep in what was the deepest free-diving dive when she walked on the seabed of Oahu in a pressure suit named Jim.

The Heroine was born in New Jersey, in 1935, and at the age of 12 she went with her family to Florida, to live in a house by the sea, which would mark her life ever since her. The fauna and flora that came to the coast greatly attracted his attention until, at the age of 17, he made his first scuba dive and was able to see the sea from within. Oceanographer Sylvia Earle is over 80 years old and has spent more than 7.000 hours underwater.

she was the first chief scientist for the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and while still a student, she was one of the first marine scientists to use scuba gear in her work. And that's just a small part of this ocean explorer's records: she led the first team of female aquanauts to live for two weeks in an underwater habitat.

“As I tread the ocean floor, I know I am entering terrain similar in some respects to a lunar landscape,” Sylvia wrote in National Geographic. “Both are enchantingly similar in appearance and both have been inaccessible and unexplorable until relatively recently”.

As you've already seen, it's not all figured out yet, you can always fly a little higher, fly a little deeper or take a little more risk. We hope that the exploits of these 10 explorers will encourage you to get started in the world of adventure and leave your mark in some inhospitable corner of the planet too!