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Sir George Back (1796–1878) by Maull & Polyblank Howarth-Loomes Collection; photograph National Portrait Gallery, London

Article

A. H. Beesly

revised by Andrew Lambert

Back, Sir George (1796–1878), naval officer and explorer, was born on 6 November 1796 at Stockport, Cheshire, the second son of John Back and his wife, Ann. He entered the navy as midshipman of the Arethusa in 1808. He was present at the destruction of the batteries at ...

Article

Best, George (c. 1555–1584), explorer, was the son of Robert Best and Anne Bowman, married at Merstham in 1548. He learned much about geography from his father who worked as an interpreter for the Muscovy Company in London, having escorted the first Russian ambassador to ...

Article

J. K. Laughton

revised by Andrew Lambert

Collinson, Sir Richard (1811–1883), naval officer and explorer, was born on 7 November 1811 at Gateshead, co. Durham, where his father, the Revd John Collinson (c.1791–1857), was rector. His mother was Amelia, née King (b. 1783), daughter of the philanthropist ...

Article

Andrew C. F. David

Cook, James (1728–1779), explorer, was born on 27 October 1728 in the village of Marton in Cleveland, North Riding of Yorkshire, the son of James Cook (1694–1779), a day labourer, and his wife, Grace Pace (1701/2–1765).

Article

Davis [Davys], John (c. 1550–1605), explorer, was apparently a Devon man living at Sandridge in the parish of Stoke Gabriel near Dartmouth. He may indeed have been born there, but his baptism is not recorded in the parish register. Almost all the details of his early life—his parentage, date and place of birth, and upbringing—are unknown; it is unfortunate that his name can be spelt in different ways and that there are records of others of the same name, of equivalent or higher rank, in the same vicinity. His evident education, indicated by his journals, other publications, and navigational skills, is wholly unrecorded. It was at ...

Article

James, Thomas (1592/3–1635), explorer and writer, was born in late 1592 or early 1593, a younger son and one of five children of James ap John ap Richard Herbert of the small Wern-y-cwm Manor in Llanwytherin parish, near Abergavenny, Monmouthshire. Little is known of his early life except that he was admitted to the ...

Article

Shackleton, Edward Arthur Alexander, Baron Shackleton (1911–1994), explorer and politician, was born on 15 July 1911, the younger son and youngest of three children of Sir Ernest Henry Shackleton (1874–1922), Antarctic explorer, and his wife, Emily Mary (1868–1936), second daughter of Charles Dorman...

Article

J. K. Laughton

revised by Elizabeth Baigent

Snow, William Parker (1817–1895), mariner and explorer, son of a naval officer, was born at Poole, Dorset, on 27 November 1817. His father died in 1826, leaving the family ill provided for; his mother took the family to Jersey and Normandy, leaving William...