Jedediah Smith

Jedediah Smith, the first of the legendary Mountain Men of the American West, died May 27, 1831. The Mountain Men were primarily trappers and not explorers or naturalists, but Smith deserves mention here because he was the first person who was not a Native American to...

Archibald McMurdo

Archibald McMurdo, a British naval officer, died Dec. 11, 1875, at age 63. McMurdo was a lieutenant on the HMS Terror when it was sent in search of a Northwest Passage, 1836-37, but the ship was frozen in and battered by the Arctic ice, barely making it back to...

Amiel Weeks Whipple

Amiel Weeks Whipple, a US army officer and engineer, died May 7, 1863. In 1853, the U.S. Congress appropriated $150,000 for four western surveys, in search of the best route for a transcontinental railroad. Whipple was given charge of the expedition that explored the...

Alexander von Humboldt

Alexander von Humboldt, a German explorer and naturalist, died May 6, 1859, at the age of 89. In 1799, Humboldt embarked with his botanist friend Aimé Bonpland on an expedition to South America. For five years they explored the Orinoco River, journeyed to Cuba,...

Ferdinand Ritter von Hochstetter

Ferdinand Ritter von Hochstetter, a German/Austrian geologist, was born Apr. 30, 1829. In 1856, Hochstetter was selected as the geologist for the Novara expedition, the first scientific voyage ever sponsored by Imperial Austria, which circumnavigated the globe in...