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A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
Africa Antarctica Arctic Australia Canada Mexico North America South America Space Undersea Women
1300's and Earlier 1400's Early 1500's Late 1500's 1600's 1700's 1800's 1900's Glossary of Exploration Terms

F

FIENNES, RANULPH
Sir Ranulph Twistleton-Wykeham-Fiennes (March 7, 1944- ) is an English explorer and author who has led over 30 expeditions to the North and South Poles, the desert, the Nile, and many other remote places. In 1982, Fiennes led the first polar circumnavigation of the Earth. In 1992, Fiennes and others found the legendary Lost City of Ubar in the desert of Oman. In 1993, Fiennes and Dr. Mike Stroud made the first unsupported walk across the continent of Antarctica, each man dragging a 500-pound sledge.

Fiennes holds many world exploration records. The Guiness Book of Records described Fiennes as "the world's greatest living explorer."

For more information on Fiennes, click here.

FLINDERS, MATTHEW
FlindersMatthew Flinders (March 16, 1774 - July 19, 1814) was an English explorer, naval officer and navigator who circumnavigated (sailed entirely around) Australia and mapped much of its coastline. He and George Bass were the first Europeans to realize that Tasmania was an island; they sailed around it.

For more information on Flinders, click here.

FRANKLIN, JOHN
Sir John Franklin (1786-1847) was an English explorer and Admiral who proved the existence of a Northwest Passage (a water route from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean through Canada). In 1819 to 1822, Franklin surveyed part of the northwestern Canadian coast east of the Coppermine River. On a second expedition, from 1825 to 1827, Franklin explored the North American coast from the mouth of the Mackenzie River, in northwestern Canada, westward to Point Beechey (Alaska, USA).

In 1845, Franklin sailed from England with an expedition of 128 men to Canada in search of Northwest Passage. The ship became trapped in ice, and the desperate, freezing and starving survivors resorted to cannibalism. A small contingent of the expedition (without Franklin) may have reached Simpson Strait, the final part of the Northwest Passage. Scottish explorer John Rae determined that Franklin and his expedition had died of starvation and exposure in the Arctic; Eskimos at Pelly Bay told Rae of Franklin's fate. Lead poisoning from poorly-canned food may have also hastened their death.

For more information on Franklin, click here.

FRASER, SIMON
Simon Fraser (1776-1862) was a fur trader and explorer. Fraser, his mother, and his siblings, British loyalists, emigrated from America to Canada after the American Revolution (in 1784). In 1792, Fraser began working for the North West Company of Montreal, and was soon sent to Lake Athabasca, Alberta. Fraser established Fort McLeod in 1805, Fort St. James and Fort Fraser in 1806, and Fort George in 1807. He explored the interior of British Columbia, trying to find a trade route to the Pacific Ocean for the North West Company. He followed what he thought was the Columbia River to its mouth at Musqueam, but it was not the Columbia, it was another unknown river. This river was later called the Fraser River (named by David Thompson).
FROBISHER, MARTIN
Sir Martin Frobisher (1535?-1594) was an English privateer (a pirate licensed by the British government), navigator, explorer, and naval officer. After years of sailing to northwestern Africa, and then looting French ships in the English Channel, Frobisher sailed to northeastern North America to search for a Northwest Passage (a sea route across northern Canada from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean, making the trip to Asia easier).

For more information on Frobisher, click here.

FUCA, JUAN DE

Juan de Fuca (15??-1601?) was a Greek navigator who sailed for Spain under a Spanish name; his original name was Apostolos Valerianos. De Fuca sailed up the western coast of North America from Mexico to Vancouver Island in 1592, looking for a passage from the Pacific Ocean to the Atlantic Ocean. He was perhaps the first European to see this area. He sailed through the Strait of Juan de Fuca (which was named for him in 1725) and believed it to be the beginning of a route to the Atlantic Ocean (it is not). This strait connects the Pacific Ocean to the Puget Sound and the Georgia Strait, and is located between the Olympic Peninsula of Washington state, USA, and Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada.

After sailing back to Acapulco, Mexico, de Fuca was not rewarded by Spain for his journey, and his discovery of the strait was not entirely believed until Captain Vancouver retraced de Fuca's route 200 years later.

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