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

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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 ...

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See Barlow [Finch], William

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Bartram, John (1699–1777), botanist and explorer in America, was born on 23 May 1699 on a farm at Marple, Pennsylvania, near Darby, the elder of two sons of William Bartram (d. 1711), farmer, and his first wife, Elizabeth (d. 1701), daughter of ...

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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 ...

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H. E. D. Blakiston

revised by Christopher J. Schmitz

Blakiston, Thomas Wright (1832–1891), army officer and explorer, was born at Lymington in Hampshire on 27 December 1832, the second of three sons of John Blakiston (1785–1867), army officer, and his wife, Jane, daughter of the Revd Thomas Wright of Market Harborough, Leicestershire...

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Borough, William (bap. 1536, d. 1598), explorer and naval administrator, was born at Borough House, Northam Burrows, Northam, Devon, to Walter Borough (1494–1548) and Mary (née Dough) and baptized on 18 August 1536 in St Mary's, Northam. His childhood experiences included voyages made with his elder brother, ...

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Browne, Maurice (1555/6–1583), adventurer and courtier, was the fourth son of John Browne, merchant, of London, and his third wife, Christian, daughter of William Carkett of London. He was thirteen at the time of the visitation of London in 1568. John Browne died in September 1570, leaving ...

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William John Burchell (1781–1863) by Mary Dawson Turner (after John Sell Cotman, 1816) © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Burchell, William John (1781–1863), explorer and naturalist, was born in Fulham on 23 July 1781, one of three children and the only son of Matthew Burchell (d. 1828), botanist and the owner of the Fulham nursery. He was educated at Raleigh House Academy, Mitcham, Surrey...

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Cabot, Sebastian (c. 1481/2–1557), explorer and cartographer, was the son of the explorer and navigator John Cabot (c. 1451–1498) and his wife, Mattea.

Neither the place nor the date of Cabot's birth is entirely certain. His father appears to have been of Genoese origin, but was a citizen of ...

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Carver, Jonathan (1710–1780), explorer and writer, was born at Weymouth, Massachusetts, on 13 April 1710, the son of David Carver (d. c.1727), town official, and Hannah Dyer. The family moved to Canterbury, Connecticut, when Jonathan was a boy. He remained in ...

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Cavendish, Thomas (bap. 1560, d. 1592), explorer, was baptized on 19 September 1560 in St Martin's Church, Trimley St Martin, Suffolk, the third son of William Cavendish (d. 1572) of Grimston Hall, Trimley St Martin, and his wife, Mary Wentworth (d...

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Cheesman, (Lucy) Evelyn (1881–1969), entomologist and explorer, was born on 8 October 1881 at Court Lodge, Westwell, near Ashford, Kent. She was the third of the five children of Robert Cheesman (d. 1915), a gentleman farmer, and his wife, Florence Maud, née...

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See Radisson, Pierre-Esprit [called Oninga]

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 ...

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Colquhoun, Archibald Ross (1848–1914), explorer, colonial administrator, and author, was born at sea off the Cape of Good Hope in March 1848, the fifth of six children of Dr Archibald Colquhoun (c.1804–1890) of Edinburgh, an employee of the East India Company...

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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).

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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 ...

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Drake, Sir Francis (1540–1596), pirate, sea captain, and explorer, was born about February or March 1540 in Crowndale, near Tavistock, Devon, the eldest of five known children of Edmund Drake (d. 1566) of Tavistock. Edmund's wife is unknown, though she may have been named ...