I’ve long been fascinated by the incredible feats of the brave and extremely tough men who set off from Europe and Scandinavia in search of fabled lands. It’s possible that those featured in this article were preceded by unknown explorers but here we mention those whose exploits are confirmed in history.
The man commemorated on the 1968 USA stamp above is Leif Erikson, the first known European to have discovered continental North America before Christopher Columbus. There are many other statues of Erikson in various cities in America and many countries have featured the exploits of the 10th Century Icelander on postage stamps such as those below.
Then we have Columbus himself. Christopher Columbus was born in Genoa, Italy, in 1451. his four transatlantic voyages (1492-93, 1493-96, 1498-1500, 1502-04) opened the way for European exploration, exploitation, and colonisation of the Americas.
To commemorate the 500th anniversary of his death, in 2006 Montserrat issued the stamp sheet shown below. And, further below a 1992 joint issue from Italy, Portugal, Spain and USA celebrating the 500th anniversary of Columbus’s birth.
Bartolomeu Dias (1450-1500) was a Portuguese navigator and explorer who led the first European expedition to round the Cape of Good Hope (1488), opening the sea route to Asia via the Atlantic and Indian oceans. He is usually considered to be the greatest of the Portuguese pioneers who explored the Atlantic during the 15th century.
When we talk about ‘The Americas’ we seldom think of the origin of the title. But the Italian explorer and navigator Amerigo Vespucci (1454-1524) was the man largely responsible for discovering parts of what we now know as South America, hence the connection.
TO BE CONTINUED