Thursday, January 1, 2009

Six Travelers Who Changed The World Forever


Today, you can circumnavigate the entire world within a day but it has not been like this always. Travelers of the earlier centuries had to get through some of the most difficult routes, encounter deadliest hazards and sail through deep ruffling waters to unknown destinations and that too without food and plagued with unknown diseases. Their unparalleled efforts and ruthless itineraries will continue to inspire and influence the world travelers for generations.

Ibn Battuta

Born on February 24, 1304, Abu Abdullah Muhammad Ibn Abdullah Al Lawati Al Tanji Ibn Battuta is known to be one of the most resilient travelers of the world. He was a Muslim Marinid scholar and jurisprudent from the Maliki Madhhab, a school of Sunni Islamic law. Being one of the gem explorers, Ibn Battuta had spend thirty years in traveling and has covered approximately 73000 miles. His journeys covered nearly the entirety of the known Islamic world and beyond, stretching from North Africa, West Africa, Southern Europe and Eastern Europe in the West, to the Middle East, Indian subcontinent, Central Asia and many more. He faced pirate attacks, muggings and hid in a swamp for a week without any food. His book "Journey" covering his experiences is one of the earliest accounts of the world in the 14th century.

Christopher Columbus

Being a Genoese navigator, colonizer and explorer, Christopher Columbus derives his popularity from some of the most fearless journeys ever made in the history of travel. He was born on 1451, May 20. His voyages across the Atlantic funded by Spain's Queen Isabella resulted in European awareness of the American continents in the Western Hemisphere. Columbus was the one who inducted widespread communication between the Europeans and the indigenous Americans. He is also known for building a settlement on the island of Hispaniola and for initiating the process of Spanish colonization of the "New World." His hardships included temporary blindness, arthritis, flu and even insomnia.

Dom Vasco da Gama

Dom Vasco da Gama is known to be one of the most successful Portuguese explorers in the European Age of Discovery. He has also been the commander of the earliest ships sailing directly from Europe to India. It was 8th July 1497 when four ships along with a crew of about 170 men left Lisbon for India. In 1499, Vasco returned to Portugal where he was rewarded as the man who had succeeded to execute the plan of establishing trade relations with India. He was conferred the title "Admiral of the Indian Seas," and his feudal rights to Sines were confirmed. As a result, the spice trade emerged to be a major asset for the Portuguese economy.

Marco Polo
A trader and explorer from the Venetian Republic, Marco Polo born in 1254 gained worldwide fame for his grand travels. All his travels and contributions have been preserved in the book "The Million" or “The Travels of Marco Polo.” Marco Polo along with his father Niccolo and his uncle Maffeo is known to be one of the first Westerners to travel the Silk Road to China to visit Kublai Khan. Although the Polos were not the first to reach China overland but their trip was the best-documented journey of their time. Marco Polo's description of the Far East and its riches influenced Columbus to try to reach those lands by a western route.

David Livingstone
Doctor David Livingstone was a Scottish Congregationalist and the pioneer of medical missionary and African discovery. Born on 19 March 1813, Livingstone was the first to witness the Victoria Falls and this inspired him to give the English name in honor of his monarch, Queen Victoria. He can be undoubtedly claimed as one of the most popular national heroes of the late-nineteenth century of Victorian Britain. He has directed on a good number of interconnected levels as the Protestant missionary martyr, scientific investigator and explorer, imperial reformer, crusader against slavery and the advocate of commercial empire.

Ferdinand Magellan

The Grand Dad of all travelers – was the man responsible to usher the human spirit of looking beyond the horizon. Born in 1480, this Portuguese maritime explorer found a westward route to the Spice Islands of Indonesia and became the first person to lead an expedition across the Pacific Ocean. This was also the first successful attempt to circumnavigate the Earth in history. He was the first individual to cross all the meridians of the Globe, the first European to reach Philippines and his travels proved that the world was indeed round.

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