Timeline of Exploration

Year Event
120 Ptolemy creates the first flat map of the world.
870 Swedish Viking Garðar Svavarsson circumnavigates Iceland.
870 Náttfari becomes the first permanent resident of Iceland.
874 Ingólfur Arnarson builds his homestead in present-day Reykjavík.
982 Eric the Red discovers Greenland.
1002 Leif Ericson discovers North America.
1271 Marco Polo goes to China.
1418 João Gonçalves Zarco and Tristão Vaz Teixeira discover Porto Santo.
1419 Gonçalves and Vaz discover Madeira.
1427 Diogo de Silves discovers the Azores.
1434 Gil Eanes passes Cabo de Não and rounds Cape Bojador.
1443 Nuno Tristão passes Cape Blanco.
1444 Dinis Dias reaches the mouth of the Senegal River.
1446 The Portuguese reach Cape Verde and the Gambia River.
1450 Prince Henry the Navigator builds school for sailors.
1453 Turkish Empire cuts off the land route for spices from Asia to Europe. Search for sea route begins.
1456 Alvise Cadamosto and Diogo Gomes explored the Cape Verde Islands.
1460 Pêro de Sintra reaches Sierra Leone.
1470 Cape Palmas is passed.
1472 Fernão do Pó discovers Bioko.
1473 Lopo Gonçalves is the first to cross the equator.
1474 Ruy de Sequeira discovers São Tomé and Príncipe.
1482 Diogo Cão reaches the Congo River, where he erects a “padrão” (pillar of stone).
1485 Cão reaches Cape Cross, where he erects his last padrão.
1487 Bartholomeu Dias discovers the southern tip of Africa.
1492 Columbus sails to the New World.
1497 John Cabot discovers Newfoundland while he searches for the Northwest Passage.
1497 Vasco da Gama sails to India and back.
1502 Amerigo Vespucci returns from his explorations of the New World. American continents named after him by German mapmaker.
1513 Vasco Nunez de Balboa discovers the eastern shore of the Pacific Ocean.
1519 Ferdinand Magellan and his crew sail around the world from 1519-1522.