The Most Famous European Explorer: Ranking a Remarkable Legacy

Choose the explorer you think is the most famous!

Author: Gregor Krambs
Updated on Feb 20, 2024 07:07
Welcome to StrawPoll's exciting ranking of the most famous European explorers! We've set sail on a thrilling adventure through history, charting the extraordinary lives and incredible achievements of the fearless pioneers who shaped our world. From the enigmatic depths of the Atlantic Ocean to the vast expanse of the Pacific, these intrepid navigators have left an indelible mark on the annals of time. Now, it's your turn to join the expedition by casting your vote for your favorite trailblazer or suggesting a missing luminary in our ever-growing list. So, hoist your sails, sharpen your compass, and embark on this enthralling journey as we unveil the ultimate ranking of Europe's most renowned explorers. Who will conquer the top spot? Only your votes can decide!

Who Is the Most Famous European Explorer?

  1. 1
    Christopher Columbus
    Sebastiano del Piombo · Public domain
    He is widely regarded as the most famous European explorer due to his discovery of the New World, which led to the colonization of America.
    Christopher Columbus in other rankings
  2. 2
    Marco Polo
    Salviati · Public domain
    He is known for his travels to China and the Far East, where he spent 17 years and wrote a book about his experiences.
    Marco Polo is a popular game played in a swimming pool, primarily enjoyed by children and young adults. It is a combination of a tag and hide-and-seek game.
    • Number of players: At least 2 players
    • Objective: The 'Marco' player closes their eyes and tries to locate and tag the other players ('Polos') by calling out 'Marco'. The 'Polos' try to avoid being caught and respond with 'Polo' when called.
    • Gameplay: The 'Marco' player navigates the pool by listening to the sound of the 'Polos' responding 'Polo'. The 'Polos' can move around and change positions to avoid being caught.
    • Tagging: The 'Marco' player has to tag one of the 'Polos' to switch roles. If a 'Polo' is tagged, they become the next 'Marco'. The game continues until players decide to end it.
    • Rules: The 'Marco' player must keep their eyes closed at all times. 'Polos' cannot leave the pool during the game. The 'Polos' can't remain silent for an extended period or use deceptive tactics to confuse the 'Marco'.
    Marco Polo in other rankings
  3. 3
    He led the first circumnavigation of the Earth, which proved that the world was round.
    Ferdinand Magellan in other rankings
  4. 4
    James Cook
    Nathaniel Dance-Holland · Public domain
    He is known for his voyages to the Pacific Ocean, where he mapped many islands and made contact with many indigenous peoples.
    James Cook in other rankings
  5. 5
    He was the first European to reach India by sea, opening up a lucrative trade route.
    Vasco da Gama is one of the most popular soccer teams in Brazil. Founded on August 21, 1898 by a group of Portuguese immigrants, the team is based in Rio de Janeiro. Vasco da Gama has a rich history and has achieved numerous successes throughout the years.
    • Club colors: Black and white
    • Home stadium: São Januário
    • Nicknames: Gigante da Colina (Giant of the Hill), Bacalhau (Codfish)
    • Crest: A black shield with a white diagonal stripe, a golden star, and the initials CRVG
    • National titles: 4 Campeonato Brasileiro Série A, 1 Copa do Brasil
    Vasco da Gama in other rankings
  6. 6
    He explored the Hudson River and the Arctic regions of North America, where he discovered Hudson Bay.
    Henry Hudson in other rankings
  7. 7
    He explored the coast of South America and wrote letters describing the lands he had discovered, which led to the use of the name "America" for the New World.
  8. 8
    He was the first Englishman to circumnavigate the Earth and played a key role in defeating the Spanish Armada.
    Sir Francis Drake in other rankings
  9. 9
    Leif Erikson
    Mulad · Public domain
    He is believed to have been the first European to reach North America, nearly 500 years before Columbus.
    Leif Erikson in other rankings
  10. 10
    Juan Ponce de León
    Jacques Reich (based on an earlier work by another artist) · Public domain
    He led the first European expedition to Florida, where he discovered the Fountain of Youth (according to legend).
    Juan Ponce de León in other rankings

Missing your favorite explorer?


Ranking factors for famous explorer

  1. The significance of their discoveries
    This includes the impact of their findings on the world, whether it be in terms of cultural, scientific or economic advancements.
  2. The breadth of their expeditions
    This refers to the diversity of places visited and the level of difficulty in exploring new and unfamiliar territories.
  3. The level of notoriety or legacy
    This includes the recognition they have gained over time, their contributions to history and culture, and the way they continue to be remembered and celebrated in modern times.
  4. The obstacles they overcame
    This includes the difficulties they faced in their expeditions, such as harsh environments, hostile locals, or limited resources.
  5. The influence they had on subsequent explorers, scientists, and adventurers
    This refers to the impact they had on the exploration and discovery of new lands, and how they inspired others to follow in their footsteps.

About this ranking

This is a community-based ranking of the most famous European explorer. We do our best to provide fair voting, but it is not intended to be exhaustive. So if you notice something or Explorer is missing, feel free to help improve the ranking!


  • 166 votes
  • 10 ranked items

Voting Rules

A participant may cast an up or down vote for each Explorer once every 24 hours. The rank of each Explorer is then calculated from the weighted sum of all up and down votes.

More information on most famous european explorer

Exploration has been an integral part of human history. European explorers, in particular, have played a significant role in discovering new lands, cultures, and civilizations. These intrepid explorers have braved treacherous seas, harsh weather conditions, and unknown territories to expand the boundaries of human knowledge. From the legendary Christopher Columbus, who discovered the New World, to the great Marco Polo, who traveled to China and back, European explorers have left an indelible mark on history. They have not only discovered new lands but also introduced new technologies, ideas, and products that have transformed the world. However, the question of who is the most famous European explorer is a subject of debate. Many explorers have achieved great feats and left their mark on history. From the likes of Vasco da Gama, Ferdinand Magellan, and Captain James Cook, to the lesser-known but equally important explorers such as Alexander von Humboldt, Gertrude Bell, and Ibn Battuta, each has contributed to the world in their unique way. In this article, we will explore the lives and achievements of some of the most famous European explorers and try to answer the question of who is the most famous among them.

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