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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

G

GAGARIN, YURI
Colonel Yuri Alexeyevich Gagarin (March 9,1934 - March 27, 1968) was a Soviet cosmonaut and the first human in space.

Gagarin piloted the Vostok 1 mission which launched April 12, 1961. His flight lasted 108 minutes and orbited the Earth once. The spacecraft was recovered later that day in the Saratov region of the Soviet Union.

For more information on Gagarin, click here.

GAMA, VASCO DA
Vasco da Gama (1460-1524) was a Portuguese explorer who discovered an ocean route from Portugal to the East.

Da Gama sailed from Lisbon, Portugal, around Africa's Cape of Good Hope, to India (and back) in 1497-1499. At that time, many people thought that this was impossible to do because it was assumed that the Indian Ocean was not connected to any other seas.

Da Gama's patron was King Manuel I of Portugal, who sent da Gama, then an Admiral, on another expedition to India (1502-1503). After King Manuel's death, King John III sent da Gama to India as a Portuguese viceroy (the King's representative in India). Da Gama died in India in 1524.

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GARCES, FRANCISCO
Father Francisco Tomás Garcés, (April 12, 1738 - July 18, 1781) was a Spanish Franciscan priest who was a missionary and explorer. Father Garces explored the southwestern part of North America, including what is now Arizona, U.S., southern California, and the Gila and Colorado rivers (including the western Grand Canyon). He visited Hopi and Havasupai Indians, learning much about the area.

From 1768 to 1776, Father Garces explored with Juan Bautista de Anza and alone with native guides. He and Juan Díaz died in a Yuman uprising in the area where the Colorado and Gila rivers meet; they were trying to find a route from Sonora, Mexico to California.

GILBERT, HUMPHREY
GilbertSir Humphrey Gilbert (1539-1583) was an English nobleman, Army officer, member of Parliament, and explorer.

Early in his career, Gilbert started English settlements in Ireland (to try to stop the Irish rebellion) and, much later, sailed to North America in search of a Northwest Passage (a sea route to Asia through North America). He founded an English settlement in Newfoundland.

For more information on Gilbert, click here.

GLENN, JOHN
John Glenn (1921-2016) piloted the first American manned orbital mission on February 20, 1962. He flew NASA's Friendship 7, a Mercury-Atlas 6 spacecraft, to about 162 miles in altitude, going at a maximum orbital velocity of about 17,500 miles per hour. This mission orbited the Earth 3 times and lasted 4 hours, 55 minutes, and 23 seconds, from launch to impact in the Atlantic Ocean. In 1998, 36 years later, Glenn flew a 9-day mission on the Space Shuttle (STS-95). Glenn was the US Senator from Ohio from 1974 to 1998.

For more information on Glenn, click here.
Go to a Cloze Activity on Glenn

GRAY, ROBERT
Robert Gray (1755-1806) was a American explorer who had previously been in the Navy during the Revolutionary War. Gray sailed from Boston, Massachusetts, in 1787, and traveled around South America to the northwest coast of North America and on to China, where he traded furs for tea. He began his journey with Captain John Kendrick on a sister ship. Gray continued west and returned to Boston in 1790. Gray was the first American-born explorer in an American ship to circumnavigate the globe. In 1791, he led another expedition to the northwest coast on a ship called "Columbia." In 1792, Gray sighted, named, and sailed up the Columbia River in Oregon, and also explored Gray's Harbor in what is now the state of Washington. Because of Gray's exploration, the United States now laid claim to the Oregon territory. Gray again continued westwards and circumnavigated the globe again, returning to Boston in 1793.
GRISSOM, GUS
GrissomVirgil "Gus" Ivan Grissom (April 3, 1926 - January 27, 1967) was one of the original seven NASA astronauts. Grissom flew the second manned US space flight, commanded the first two-man Gemini mission, and was killed along with Edward White II and Roger Chaffee in a launch pad fire during a test for the upcoming first Apollo flight, which Grissom was scheduled to command.

For more information on Grissom, click here.

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