European Exploration of America Timeline

  • Jan 1, 986

    First European to encounter North America

    First European to encounter North America
    Viking Ship
    A viking explorer sailing from Greenland to Iceland is caught in a storm and blown off course. He claims to have seen land never seen before while he was lost. He tells of this when he gets home. If he hadn't got lost and came across the North American Coast, it would have remained unnoticed by any Europeans for longer.
  • Period: Jan 1, 986 to

    European Exploration of America Timeline

  • Jan 1, 1003

    Leif Ericson arrives on the Canadian Coast

    Leif Ericson arrives on the Canadian Coast
    Leif EricsonA viking by the name of Leif Ericson is determined to find out if the viking who claims to have seen undiscovered land is telling the truth, so he sets off to find out. He comes across what he calls Markland (Labrador) and Vinland (Newfoundland). In Newfoundland, he sets up a settlement, trades with the First Nations, and lives there for three years.He was the first European explorer to set up a settlement and live on North American soil.
  • May 5, 1453

    The fall of Constantinople

    The fall of Constantinople
    ConstantinopleIn 1453, the city of Constantinople, which was the gateway from Europe to Asia, was taken over by the Ottoman Turks. Europeans were forced to find a new trade route to the Orient. Explorers looked west. Little do they know that an entire continent blocks their way. If Constantinople hadn't fallen to the Turks, then explorers would not have a reason to travel west in search of a new route. Therefore, this was a very important event leading up to the exploration of North America.
  • Oct 12, 1492

    Christopher Columbus arrives in the Carribbean

    Christopher Columbus arrives in the Carribbean
    Christopher ColumbusIn 1492, Christopher Columbus arrived in what he thought was India, but what was actually a Carribbean island. He was the first explorer to reach the Americas while searching for the Orient. His discovery lead to others being interested in coming to this new land.
  • May 2, 1497

    John Cabot's attempt at finding the Northwest Passage

    John Cabot's attempt at finding the Northwest Passage
    John CabotIn 1497, John Cabot landed in Newfoundland in search of the Northwest Passage. He didn't find the passage, but instead found the plentiful cod fish off the Grand Banks.
  • May 10, 1534

    Jacques Cartier's journey up the St. Lawrence

    Jacques Cartier's journey up the St. Lawrence
    Jacques CartierIn 1534, Jacques Cartier sailed up the St. Lawrence. He came in contact with an Iroquois group and their leader, Donnaconna. He talks Donnaconna into letting him take his two sons back to France. They learn French, which allows Jacques to use them as guides who take him farther up the St. Lawrence on his second voyage.
  • The creation of New France and Quebec City

    The creation of New France and Quebec City
    New FranceIn 1608, Samuel de Champlain founded New France and Quebec City. This is where many of the French colonies existed. He helped establish the settlements and he also mapped the coast accurately. He was also the first European to explore and map the Great Lakes.
  • Henry Hudson's Journey

    Henry Hudson's Journey
    Henry HudsonHenry Hudson looked for a route to China when he sailed to North America in 1609. He sailed through Hudson Strait and into Hudson Bay, where the ice trapped him and his crew for the winter. His crew mutanied and abandoned him. Although he had a tragic fate, he did discover Hudson Bay, named after him in honor of him.
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    The Voyage of the Nonsuch

    Two French explorers, Pierre Radisson and Medard Chouard, proposed the idea of sailing around the northern tip of Quebec and then down through Hudson Bay to get furs from the north. This allowed huge ocean-going vessels to load up on furs. The best furs come from the north, so this was a good idea to get the best ones first. It also helped the development of Canada, as this drew fur traders into the north, eager to get ahold of the best furs first.
  • Reaching the Great Plains

    Reaching the Great Plains
    Henry KelseyIn 1690, an explorer named Henry Kelsey reached the Great Plains. He was the first European explorer to do this.
  • Reaching the Rocky Mountains

    Reaching the Rocky Mountains
    Anthony HendayIn 1754, Anthony Henday was the first European explorer to reach the Rocky Mountains.
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    David Thompson's mapping period

    Over two decades, David Thompson travelled around the North American northwest using his tools to study the movements of the planets and map western Canada. He drafted the first European-style map of western Canada. It covered 3.9 million square kilometers.
  • Alexander MacKenzie reaches the Western Sea

    Alexander MacKenzie reaches the Western Sea
    Alexander MacKenzie"Alexander MacKenzie, From Canada by Land, 22 July 1793" is what he wrote on a rock on the Pacific Coast. He was the first explorer to reach the West Coast of Canada.
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    Lewis and Clark Expedition

    The Lewis and Clark expedition was the expedition initiated by Thomas Jefferson to explore the territory aquired in the Louisiana Purchase, and the territory beyond the rocky mountains. This expedition took place from 1804-1806. On this expedition, they discovered new plants, animals, geographical features, and Indian tribes.
  • The Crossing of the Athabasca Pass

    The Crossing of the Athabasca Pass
    Athabasca PassIn 1811, David Thompson became the first white man to cross over the Athabasca Pass.