AMERIGOmItalian Medieval Italian form of EMMERICH. Amerigo Vespucci (1451-1512) was the Italian explorer who gave the continent of America its name (from Americus, the Latin form of his name).
BURTONmEnglish From a surname that was originally taken from an Old English place name meaning "fortified town". A famous bearer of the surname was Sir Richard Burton (1821-1890), an explorer of Africa and Asia.
CHRISTOPHERmEnglish From the Late Greek name Χριστόφορος (Christophoros) meaning "bearing CHRIST", derived from Χριστός (Christos) combined with φέρω (phero) meaning "to bear, to carry". Early Christians used it as a metaphorical name, expressing that they carried Christ in their hearts. In the Middle Ages, literal interpretations of the name's etymology led to legends about a Saint Christopher who carried the young Jesus across a river. He has come to be regarded as the patron saint of travellers.... [more]
CLARKmEnglish From an English surname meaning "cleric" or "scribe", from Old English clerec originally meaning "priest". A famous bearer of the surname was William Clark (1770-1838), an explorer of the west of North America. It was also borne by the American actor Clark Gable (1901-1960).
DIOGOmPortuguese Portuguese form of DIEGO. This name was borne by the 15th-century Portuguese explorer Diogo Cão.
ERICmEnglish, Swedish, German, Spanish Means "ever ruler", from the Old Norse name Eiríkr, derived from the elements ei "ever, always" and ríkr "ruler, mighty". A notable bearer was Eiríkr inn Rauda (Eric the Red in English), a 10th-century navigator and explorer who discovered Greenland. This was also the name of several early kings of Sweden, Denmark and Norway.... [more]
FERDINANDmGerman, French, Dutch, English, Slovak, Czech, Slovene, Croatian, Ancient Germanic From Ferdinando, the old Spanish form of a Germanic name composed of the elements fardi "journey" and nand "daring, brave". The Visigoths brought the name to the Iberian Peninsula, where it entered into the royal families of Spain and Portugal. From there it became common among the Habsburg royal family of the Holy Roman Empire and Austria, starting with the Spanish-born Ferdinand I in the 16th century. A notable bearer was Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan (1480-1521), called Fernão de Magalhães in Portuguese, who was the leader of the first expedition to sail around the earth.
FERNÃOmPortuguese Portuguese form of FERDINAND. This name was borne by the Portuguese explorer Fernão de Magalhães (1480-1521), better known in English as Ferdinand Magellan.
FRANCISm & fEnglish, French English form of the Late Latin name Franciscus meaning "Frenchman", ultimately from the Germanic tribe of the Franks, who were named for a type of spear that they used. This name was borne by the 13th-century Saint Francis of Assisi, who was originally named Giovanni but was given the nickname Francesco by his father, an admirer of the French. Francis went on to renounce his father's wealth and devote his life to the poor, founding the Franciscan order of friars. Later in his life he apparently received the stigmata.... [more]
FRASERmScottish, English (Rare) From a Scottish surname that is of unknown meaning. A famous bearer of the surname was Simon Fraser (1776-1862), a Canadian explorer.
GEORGEmEnglish, Romanian From the Greek name Γεώργιος (Georgios), which was derived from the Greek word γεωργός (georgos) meaning "farmer, earthworker", itself derived from the elements γῆ (ge) meaning "earth" and ἔργον (ergon) meaning "work". Saint George was a 3rd-century Roman soldier from Palestine who was martyred during the persecutions of Emperor Diocletian. Later legends describe his defeat of a dragon, with which he was often depicted in medieval art.... [more]
HEf & mChinese From Chinese 河 (hé) meaning "river, stream", 和 (hé) meaning "harmony, peace", or 荷 (hé) meaning "lotus, water lily" (which is usually only feminine). Other characters can form this name as well. A famous bearer was the 15th-century explorer Zheng He.
HENRIQUEmPortuguese Portuguese form of Heinrich (see HENRY). This was the name of a 15th-century Portuguese naval explorer (known as Henry the Navigator in English).
HENRYmEnglish From the Germanic name Heimirich meaning "home ruler", composed of the elements heim "home" and ric "ruler". It was later commonly spelled Heinrich, with the spelling altered due to the influence of other Germanic names like Haganrich, in which the first element is hagan "enclosure".... [more]
HUDSONmEnglish From an English surname meaning "son of HUDDE". A famous bearer of the surname was the English explorer Henry Hudson (1570-1611).
JAMESmEnglish, Biblical English form of the Late Latin name Iacomus, a variant of the Biblical Latin form Iacobus, from the Hebrew name Ya'aqov (see JACOB). This was the name of two apostles in the New Testament. The first was Saint James the Greater, the apostle John's brother, who was beheaded under Herod Agrippa in the Book of Acts. The second was James the Lesser, son of Alphaeus. Another James (known as James the Just) is also mentioned in the Bible as being the brother of Jesus.... [more]
LEIFmSwedish, Norwegian, Danish From the Old Norse name Leifr meaning "descendant, heir". Leif Eriksson was a Norse explorer who reached North America in the early 11th century. He was the son of Erik the Red.
MARCOmItalian, Spanish, Portuguese, German, Dutch Italian form of Marcus (see MARK). During the Middle Ages this name was common in Venice, where Saint Mark was supposedly buried. A famous bearer was the Venetian explorer Marco Polo, who travelled across Asia to China in the 13th century.
RALEIGHm & fEnglish From a surname that was derived from a place name meaning either "red clearing" or "roe deer clearing" in Old English. A city in North Carolina bears this name, after the English courtier, poet and explorer Sir Walter Raleigh (1552-1618).
RICHARDmEnglish, French, German, Czech, Slovak, Dutch, Ancient Germanic Means "brave ruler", derived from the Germanic elements ric "ruler, mighty" and hard "brave, hardy". The Normans introduced this name to Britain, and it has been very common there since that time. It was borne by three kings of England including Richard I the Lionheart, one of the leaders of the Third Crusade in the 12th century.... [more]
RIO (1)m & fVarious Means "river" in Spanish or Portuguese. A city in Brazil bears this name. Its full name is Rio de Janeiro, which means "river of January", so named because the first explorers came to the harbour in January and mistakenly thought it was a river mouth.
ROALDmNorwegian Modern form of the Old Norse name Hróðvaldr or Hróaldr, composed of the elements hróðr "fame" and valdr "ruler". This name was borne by the Norwegian polar explorer Roald Amundsen (1872-1928) and the British children's author Roald Dahl (1916-1990), who was born to Norwegian parents.
ROSSmScottish, English From a Scottish and English surname that originally indicated a person from a place called Ross (such as the region of Ross in northern Scotland), derived from Gaelic ros meaning "promontory, headland". A famous bearer of the surname was Sir James Clark Ross (1800-1862), an Antarctic explorer.
SACAGAWEAfIndigenous American Probably from Hidatsa tsakáka wía meaning "bird woman". Alternatively it could originate from the Shoshone language and mean "boat puller". This name was borne by a Native American woman who guided the explorers Lewis and Clark. She was of Shoshone ancestry but had been abducted in her youth and raised by a Hidatsa tribe.
STANLEYmEnglish From a surname meaning "stone clearing" in Old English. A notable bearer of the surname was the British-American explorer and journalist Sir Henry Morton Stanley (1841-1904), the man who found David Livingstone in Africa. As a given name, it was borne by American director Stanley Kubrick (1928-1999), as well as the character Stanley Kowalski in Tennessee Williams' play A Streetcar Named Desire (1947).
VASCOmPortuguese, Spanish, Italian From the medieval Spanish name Velasco, which possibly meant "crow" in Basque. A famous bearer was the 15th-century Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama, the first person to sail from Europe around Africa to India.
WALTERmEnglish, German, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Polish, Italian, Ancient Germanic From a Germanic name meaning "ruler of the army", composed of the elements wald "rule" and hari "army". The Normans brought it to England, where it replaced the Old English cognate Wealdhere. A famous bearer of the name was the English courtier, poet and explorer Sir Walter Raleigh (1552-1618). It was also borne by Sir Walter Scott (1771-1832), a Scottish novelist who wrote Ivanhoe and other notable works.