Explorers

Pre-Modern Travelers to the Americas
While only Viking explorers such as Gudrid have been widely accepted by mainstream scholars to have reached the coasts of the Americas, other medieval travelers have caught the attention of scholars and novelists as potential New World explorers. We are interested in all travelers, real or fictional, for what they tell us about what travel was like and how the world was imagined prior to 1600.  We are aiming to compile a full list; below are the travelers whose lives and feats we are treating in the first phase of this project. Coverage is linked to contributor interest– contact us if you can help add a new traveler to the list!

Other Influential Medieval Travelers (not to the Americas)

  • Gan Ying (Chinese, 1st century CE, Han dynasty)
  • Zhang Qian (Chinese, 2nd century CE, Han dynasty)
  • Xuanzang (Chinse, 7th century CE, Tang dynasty)
  • Marco Polo (Italian, late 13th-early 14th century)
  • Odoric of Pordenone (Italian, late 13th-early 14th century)
  • John of Mandeville (British, fictional, mid 14th century)