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Explorers who circumnavigated the globe

Posted on February 08 2021

Explorers who circumnavigated the globe

Photo via the Smithsonian

A sketch of a ship, made in 1700

Photo via the Smithsonian

Martín Ignacio de Loyola by ship from 1582-1584 and 1585-1589

Martín Ignacio de Loyola, also known as Martín Ignacio Martínez de Mallea, was the first person to circumnavigate the globe in (both east and west). On his first trip, from 1582-1584, he and his crew departed from Cádiz, Spain, and traveled west across the Atlantic Ocean. Arriving at Veracruz, Mexico, he then travelled overland and set sail again from Acapulco, on Mexico’s Pacific coast. When he reached China, he was captured as a suspected spy and sent to Guangzhou for a year. When he was freed, ever the explorer, he continued his circumnavigation and ended up back in Spain in 1584. His second trip, from 1585-1589, started in China—although how he got to that point is lost to history—and sailed east toward Spain. He was later ordained as a Bishop of Paraguay in 1602.


Geraldine Mock

Photo via the Public Domain

Geraldine Mock by monoplane in 1964

Geraldine Mock was the first woman to . She was one of the first women aeronautical engineering students at Ohio State University and began planning her trip around the world—just because she wanted to see it—during flights with her husband. She received her pilot’s license in 1958. The monoplane that she flew around the world was a that she nicknamed “Charlie.” Her trip began and ended in Columbus, Ohio, and ended up taking 29 days, 11 hours, and 59 minutes.


Valentina Tereshkova

Photo by RKK Energiya via NASA

Valentina Tereshkova by spacecraft in 1963

Valentina Tereshkova is the first woman to go into space. She became interested in joining the Soviet space program after the successful 1961 mission of Yuri Gagarin, the first man in space. She was accepted into the program because of her skills in parachute jumping. At the time, when returning to Earth, cosmonauts had to parachute from their capsule before hitting the ground, and she had completed 126 successful parachute jumps. Aboard the space capsule Vostok 6, she orbited Earth a total of 48 times and spent over 70 hours in space.

Thomas Stevens in Japan

Photo via Japan Biking

Thomas Stevens by bicycle from 1884-1886

Thomas Stevens was the first person to  . He grew up the son of laborers and worked at a Wyoming railroad mill and Colorado mine. He came up with the idea for his trip while working in Colorado. His vehicle was a black-enameled Columbia 50-inch penny-farthing bicycle with nickel-plated wheels, and he packed only four things for the two-year trip: socks, a spare shirt, a raincoat that doubled as a tent and bedroll, and a pocket revolver. His trip started in San Francisco and finished in Tokyo, and he took steamers across the stretches of ocean. Thomas Wentworth Higginson, a writer for the Massachusetts Bicycle Club, said of Stevens: “Instead of going round the world with a rifle, for the purpose of killing something … this bold youth went round the globe to see the people who were on it.”


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