A discussion on famous explorers in history would be incomplete without information on famous Spanish explorers. Some of greatest explorations in history were made by
these brave explorers and conquistadors who sailed for Spain. What you will find on this page is a list of some of the main motives that drove these great explorers to
take the great risk involved in their explorations. This is followed by a list of who some of these great Spanish explorers were and where they traveled. Some of the
names listed here will be familiar to every kid from school history lessons and some you may never have heard of.
In the late 1400s Spain was poised to become one of the greatest empires the world had ever seen. With the marriage of Princess Isabella of Castile to Ferdinand of
Aragon political unity was brought to Spain ending years of internal strife. Queen Isabella I and King Ferdinand V of Spain formed a powerful empire. In 1492 they
financed the voyage of Christopher Columbus which resulted in the discovery of America. This discovery set off a frenzy of Spanish exploration and conquest which would
result in Spain's dominance in the New World.
Famous Spanish Explorers Main Motives
Increase the reach of the Spanish empire.
Obtain wealth through acquiring assets such as gold, silver, and spices.
Obtain knowledge of the world.
Spread the Catholic Religion.
Fame and recognition.
Famous Spanish Explorers List and Description
Below is a list of several famous Spanish explorers; many of these explorers are referred to as conquistadors which means a leader in the 16th century Spanish conquest
of Native American Indians.
Hernando Cortes was one of the first Spanish Conquistadors. He attacked and caused the fall of the Aztec Empire and in doing so brought much of modern day Mexico under
Spanish control. He was a ruthless commander known for slaughtering thousands of natives.
Francisco Vasquez de Coronado
This great explorer explored what is now the southwest United States. He also was made governor of the Spanish colony New Galacia.
Vasco Nunez de Balboa
Vasco Nunez de Balboa was a great explorer (conquistador) who is best known for discovering the Pacific coast of the Americas; which he promptly claimed belonged to
Juan Ponce de Leon
Ponce de Leon was the first European to explore Florida and he founded the oldest settlement in Puerto Rico. He is also famous for searching for the Fountain of Youth
in Florida; however there is no historical record that this was ever a motive his explorations.
Hernando de Soto
This famous Spanish explorer is best known for being the first European to journey deep into what is today the United States of America. He is also the first known
European to spot and cross the Mississippi River.
Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo
This explorer is best known for being the first European to explore the coast of what is today the state of California. Mining for gold in modern-day Guatemala brought
him great wealth.