Elizabethan Era 1558 - 1603

Tudors Times 1485 - 1603

Jacobean Era 1603 - 1625

Famous British Explorers

There were various explorers from the Great Britain during the 15th and 16th centuries. They were credited with various achievements. Exploring new countries was one of the most common practices during those times. This was because of a variety of reasons. These explorers opened new chapters of trade and commerce between different countries throughout the world. Exploring new countries had its advantages as well as disadvantages. Some of them led to colonialism in countries of Asia and Africa too.

The famous English explorers were referred to as pirates and privateers by their enemies. The most famous English explorers embarked on their voyages of discovery during the Elizabethan reign of Queen Elizabeth I. The Elizabethan age produced some of the greatest explorers of Britain. Therefore, they were also called 'Elizabethan Explorers'

Some of the famous English explorers

Sir Walter Raleigh, Sir Francis Drake, Sir Martin Frobisher and Sir John Hawkins, Samuel de Champlain, Sir Frances Drake, Henry Hudson, Sir Richard Francis Burton, James Cook, Allan Cunningham etc. However, this list is not exhaustive because there was endless number of explorers. Some of the few explorers are explained below:

Famous British Explorers


Sir Walter Raleigh was born in 1552. He lived till 1618. He became famous for the Discovery of Guiana and establishing the Virginia colony of Roanoke Island in 1584. In 1585, he established the Roanoke colony.


Francis Drake lived from 1545 to 1596. as a British explorer, slave-trader, privateer (a pirate working for a government) in the service of England, mayor of Plymouth, England, and naval officer. He led the second expedition to sail around the world in a voyage lasting from 1577 to 1580, the first person to lead the voyage being Magellan.

Famous British Explorers


John Hawkings who was born in 1532 was an English naval officer, slave trader, privateer. He was also a cousin of Sir Francis Drake. He was the first slave trader supported in his voyage by Queen Elizabeth. Hawkins died on Nov. 12, 1595.


Henry Hudson was an English explorer and navigator.He lived from 1565-1611. xplored parts of the Arctic Ocean and northeastern North America. As a tribute to his greatness, he Hudson River, Hudson Strait, and Hudson Bay are named after him.


James Cook was a famous explorer, perhaps one of the most famous explorers who was also an astronomer. He was famous for expeditions to the Pacific Ocean, Antarctic, Arctic, and around the world. From 1768 to 1771, he led his first expedition. This was to observe Venus as it passed between the Earth and the Sun in order to try to determine the distance between the Earth and the Sun.

Famous British Explorers

His second expedition was from 1772 to 1775 took him to Antarctica and to Easter Island on a voyage intended to show there was no large southern continent. From 1776-1779, a search for a Northwest Passage across northern North America to Asia - he searched from the Pacific Ocean side of the continent. Cook sailed from England on July 12, 1776, on the Resolution was his last expedition.

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