Chronology of European exploration of Asia

Chronology of European exploration of Asia

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Encyclopedia
This article attempts to list every significant event in the history of the Europe
Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

an exploration of Asia
Asia
Asia is the world's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the eastern and northern hemispheres. It covers 8.7% of the Earth's total surface area and with approximately 3.879 billion people, it hosts 60% of the world's current human population...

. It proposes a chronological inventory of these events including every people involved and the places they helped to demystify (from a European point of view).

Antiquity


330 BC: Alexander the Great conquers parts of Central Asia
Central Asia
Central Asia is a core region of the Asian continent from the Caspian Sea in the west, China in the east, Afghanistan in the south, and Russia in the north...

 and parts of northwestern India
History of India
The history of India begins with evidence of human activity of Homo sapiens as long as 75,000 years ago, or with earlier hominids including Homo erectus from about 500,000 years ago. The Indus Valley Civilization, which spread and flourished in the northwestern part of the Indian subcontinent from...



300 BC: Seleucus Nicator, founder of the Seleucid Empire
Seleucid Empire
The Seleucid Empire was a Greek-Macedonian state that was created out of the eastern conquests of Alexander the Great. At the height of its power, it included central Anatolia, the Levant, Mesopotamia, Persia, today's Turkmenistan, Pamir and parts of Pakistan.The Seleucid Empire was a major centre...

, forays into northwestern India but is defeated by Chandragupta Maurya
Chandragupta Maurya
Chandragupta Maurya , was the founder of the Maurya Empire. Chandragupta succeeded in conquering most of the Indian subcontinent. Chandragupta is considered the first unifier of India and its first genuine emperor...

, founder of the Maurya Empire
Maurya Empire
The Maurya Empire was a geographically extensive Iron Age historical power in ancient India, ruled by the Mauryan dynasty from 321 to 185 BC...

, and they become allies soon after.

250-120 BC: Greco-Bactrian rule in parts of Central Asia
Central Asia
Central Asia is a core region of the Asian continent from the Caspian Sea in the west, China in the east, Afghanistan in the south, and Russia in the north...

 and parts of the Punjab region
Punjab region
The Punjab , also spelled Panjab |water]]s"), is a geographical region straddling the border between Pakistan and India which includes Punjab province in Pakistan and the states of the Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Chandigarh and some northern parts of the National Capital Territory of Delhi...

.

180 BC-10 AD: Rule of the Indo-Greek kingdom
Indo-Greek Kingdom
The Indo-Greek Kingdom or Graeco-Indian Kingdom covered various parts of the northwest regions of the Indian subcontinent during the last two centuries BC, and was ruled by more than 30 Hellenistic kings, often in conflict with each other...

 in parts of northwestern India
North India
North India, known natively as Uttar Bhārat or Shumālī Hindustān , is a loosely defined region in the northern part of India. The exact meaning of the term varies by usage...

.

30 BC-640 AD: The Romans begin trading with India
Roman trade with India
Roman trade with India through the overland caravan routes via Anatolia and Persia, though at a relative trickle compared to later times, antedated the southern trade route via the Red Sea and monsoons which started around the beginning of the Common Era following the reign of Augustus and his...

.

100 AD-166 AD: Sino-Roman relations
Sino-Roman relations
Romano-Chinese relations were essentially indirect throughout the existence of both empires. The Roman Empire and Han China progressively inched closer in the course of the Roman expansion into the Ancient Near East and simultaneous Chinese military incursions into Central Asia...

 begin.

Middle ages



~500-1000: The Radhanite
Radhanite
The Radhanites were medieval Jewish merchants. Whether the term, which is used by only a limited number of primary sources, refers to a specific guild, or a clan, or is a generic term for Jewish merchants in the trans-Eurasian trade network is unclear...

s were medieval Jewish
Judaism
Judaism ) is the "religion, philosophy, and way of life" of the Jewish people...

 merchant
Merchant
A merchant is a businessperson who trades in commodities that were produced by others, in order to earn a profit.Merchants can be one of two types:# A wholesale merchant operates in the chain between producer and retail merchant...

s who dominated trade
Trade
Trade is the transfer of ownership of goods and services from one person or entity to another. Trade is sometimes loosely called commerce or financial transaction or barter. A network that allows trade is called a market. The original form of trade was barter, the direct exchange of goods and...

 between the Christian
Christendom
Christendom, or the Christian world, has several meanings. In a cultural sense it refers to the worldwide community of Christians, adherents of Christianity...

 and Islamic worlds during the early Middle Ages
Early Middle Ages
The Early Middle Ages was the period of European history lasting from the 5th century to approximately 1000. The Early Middle Ages followed the decline of the Western Roman Empire and preceded the High Middle Ages...

 and travelled as far as Tang dynasty
Tang Dynasty
The Tang Dynasty was an imperial dynasty of China preceded by the Sui Dynasty and followed by the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms Period. It was founded by the Li family, who seized power during the decline and collapse of the Sui Empire...

 China.

568: The Byzantine general Zemarchus
Zemarchus
Zemarchus was a Byzantine official, diplomat and traveller in the reign of Justin II.In the middle of the 6th century, the Göktürks conquered the Sogdiana and thus gained control of the silk trade, which then passed through Central Asia into Sassanid Persia. The Persian king, Chosroes I, dreading...

 travels to Samarkand
Samarkand
Although a Persian-speaking region, it was not united politically with Iran most of the times between the disintegration of the Seleucid Empire and the Arab conquest . In the 6th century it was within the domain of the Turkic kingdom of the Göktürks.At the start of the 8th century Samarkand came...

 and the court of the Western Turkic Kaganate.

1160-1173: The Navarrese
Kingdom of Navarre
The Kingdom of Navarre , originally the Kingdom of Pamplona, was a European kingdom which occupied lands on either side of the Pyrenees alongside the Atlantic Ocean....

 Jewish Rabbi Benjamin of Tudela
Benjamin of Tudela
Benjamin of Tudela was a medieval Jewish traveler who visited Europe, Asia, and Africa in the 12th century. His vivid descriptions of western Asia preceded those of Marco Polo by a hundred years...

 visits Syria
Syria
Syria , officially the Syrian Arab Republic , is a country in Western Asia, bordering Lebanon and the Mediterranean Sea to the West, Turkey to the north, Iraq to the east, Jordan to the south, and Israel to the southwest....

, Palestine
Palestine
Palestine is a conventional name, among others, used to describe the geographic region between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River, and various adjoining lands....

, Baghdad
Baghdad
Baghdad is the capital of Iraq, as well as the coterminous Baghdad Governorate. The population of Baghdad in 2011 is approximately 7,216,040...

, Persia
History of Iran
The history of Iran has been intertwined with the history of a larger historical region, comprising the area from the Danube River in the west to the Indus River and Jaxartes in the east and from the Caucasus, Caspian Sea, and Aral Sea in the north to the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman and Egypt...

, and the Arabian Peninsula
Arabian Peninsula
The Arabian Peninsula is a land mass situated north-east of Africa. Also known as Arabia or the Arabian subcontinent, it is the world's largest peninsula and covers 3,237,500 km2...

.

1180-1186: Pethahiah of Regensburg goes to Baghdad.

1245-1247: The Italian Giovanni da Pian del Carpine
Giovanni da Pian del Carpine
Giovanni da Pian del Carpine, or John of Plano Carpini or John of Pian de Carpine or Joannes de Plano was one of the first Europeans to enter the court of the Great Khan of the Mongol Empire. He is the author of the earliest important Western account of northern and central Asia, Rus, and other...

, accompanied by Stephen of Bohemia, and later by Benedykt Polak
Benedykt Polak
Benedict of Poland was a Polish Franciscan friar, traveler and explorer....

, reaches Karakorum
Karakorum
Karakorum was the capital of the Mongol Empire in the 13th century, and of the Northern Yuan in the 14-15th century. Its ruins lie in the northwestern corner of the Övörkhangai Province of Mongolia, near today's town of Kharkhorin, and adjacent to the Erdene Zuu monastery...

 in present-day Mongolia
Mongolia
Mongolia is a landlocked country in East and Central Asia. It is bordered by Russia to the north and China to the south, east and west. Although Mongolia does not share a border with Kazakhstan, its western-most point is only from Kazakhstan's eastern tip. Ulan Bator, the capital and largest...

. First European embassy to the Great Khan.

1245-1248: The Italian Ascelin of Lombardia, Simon of St Quentin
Simon of St Quentin
Simon of St Quentin was a Dominican friar and diplomat who accompanied Ascelin of Lombardia on an embassy which Pope Innocent IV sent to the Mongols in 1245...

 and Andrew of Longjumeau
Andrew of Longjumeau
André de Longjumeau was a 13th century Dominican missionary and diplomat and one of the most active Occidental diplomats in the East in the 13th century. He led two embassies to the Mongols: the first carried letters from Pope Innocent IV and the second bore gifts and letters from Louis IX of...

 go to Armenia
Armenia
Armenia , officially the Republic of Armenia , is a landlocked mountainous country in the Caucasus region of Eurasia...

 and Persia.

1249-1251: Andrew of Longjumeau
Andrew of Longjumeau
André de Longjumeau was a 13th century Dominican missionary and diplomat and one of the most active Occidental diplomats in the East in the 13th century. He led two embassies to the Mongols: the first carried letters from Pope Innocent IV and the second bore gifts and letters from Louis IX of...

 guide a French ambassador to the great Kuyuk Khan. His brother Guy and several others — John Goderiche, John of Carcassonne, Herbert "Le Sommelier", Gerbert of Sens, Robert (a clerk), a certain William, and an unnamed clerk of Poissy go with him. They reached Talas
Talas, Kyrgyzstan
Talas is a small town in northwestern Kyrgyzstan, located in the Talas River valley between two imposing mountain ranges. Its geographical location is and its population is 32,538 . It is the administrative headquarters of Talas province. The town was founded by East Slavic settlers in 1877...

 in northwestern Kyrgyzstan
Kyrgyzstan
Kyrgyzstan , officially the Kyrgyz Republic is one of the world's six independent Turkic states . Located in Central Asia, landlocked and mountainous, Kyrgyzstan is bordered by Kazakhstan to the north, Uzbekistan to the west, Tajikistan to the southwest and China to the east...

.

≈1254: The Flemish William of Rubruck
William of Rubruck
William of Rubruck was a Flemish Franciscan missionary and explorer. His account is one of the masterpieces of medieval geographical literature comparable to that of Marco Polo....

 reached China
China
Chinese civilization may refer to:* China for more general discussion of the country.* Chinese culture* Greater China, the transnational community of ethnic Chinese.* History of China* Sinosphere, the area historically affected by Chinese culture...

 and Mongolia through Central Asia.

1264-≈1269: First travel of the Italians Niccolò and Maffeo Polo
Niccolò and Maffeo Polo
Niccolò and Maffeo Polo were the father and uncle respectively of Marco Polo, the Venetian explorer. Before the birth of Marco, the two became merchants, and established trading posts in Constantinople, Sudak in the Crimea, and in a western part of the Mongol Empire...

 to China. In 1266, they reach Kublai Khan
Kublai Khan
Kublai Khan , born Kublai and also known by the temple name Shizu , was the fifth Great Khan of the Mongol Empire from 1260 to 1294 and the founder of the Yuan Dynasty in China...

's seat at Dadu
Khanbaliq
Khanbaliq or Dadu refers to a city which is now Beijing, the current capital of the People's Republic of China...

, now known as Beijing
Beijing
Beijing , also known as Peking , is the capital of the People's Republic of China and one of the most populous cities in the world, with a population of 19,612,368 as of 2010. The city is the country's political, cultural, and educational center, and home to the headquarters for most of China's...

, China.

1271-1295: Second trip of Niccolò and Maffeo Polo
Niccolò and Maffeo Polo
Niccolò and Maffeo Polo were the father and uncle respectively of Marco Polo, the Venetian explorer. Before the birth of Marco, the two became merchants, and established trading posts in Constantinople, Sudak in the Crimea, and in a western part of the Mongol Empire...

 to China. This time with Marco
Marco Polo
Marco Polo was a Venetian merchant traveler from the Venetian Republic whose travels are recorded in Il Milione, a book which did much to introduce Europeans to Central Asia and China. He learned about trading whilst his father and uncle, Niccolò and Maffeo, travelled through Asia and apparently...

, Niccolo's son, who would write a colorful account of their experiences.

1275-1289 & 1289-1328: The Italian John of Montecorvino
John of Montecorvino
John of Montecorvino or Giovanni da Montecorvino in Italian was an Italian Franciscan missionary, traveler and statesman, founder of the earliest Roman Catholic missions in India and China, and archbishop of Peking, and Latin Patriarch of the Orient.-Biography:John was born at Montecorvino...

 (1246–1328) was a Franciscan
Franciscan
Most Franciscans are members of Roman Catholic religious orders founded by Saint Francis of Assisi. Besides Roman Catholic communities, there are also Old Catholic, Anglican, Lutheran, ecumenical and Non-denominational Franciscan communities....

 missionary, traveller and statesman, founder of the earliest Roman Catholic
Roman Catholic Church
The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the world's largest Christian church, with over a billion members. Led by the Pope, it defines its mission as spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ, administering the sacraments and exercising charity...

 missions
Mission (Christian)
Christian missionary activities often involve sending individuals and groups , to foreign countries and to places in their own homeland. This has frequently involved not only evangelization , but also humanitarian work, especially among the poor and disadvantaged...

 in India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

 and China
China
Chinese civilization may refer to:* China for more general discussion of the country.* Chinese culture* Greater China, the transnational community of ethnic Chinese.* History of China* Sinosphere, the area historically affected by Chinese culture...

, and archbishop
Archbishop
An archbishop is a bishop of higher rank, but not of higher sacramental order above that of the three orders of deacon, priest , and bishop...

 of Peking
Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Beijing
The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Beijing is an archdiocese located in the city of Beijing in China.-History:* 1307: Established as Archdiocese of Khanbalik* 1375: Suppressed...

, and Patriarch of the Orient.

≈1318-1329: Travels of the Franciscan monks, the Italian Odoric of Pordenone
Odoric of Pordenone
Odoric of Pordenone was an Italian late-medieval traveler...

 and James of Ireland
James of Ireland
James of Ireland, Irish friar, fl. 1316-1330.James of Ireland was the companion of Odoric of Pordenone on his travels as far as Sumatra and China. The commune of Udine, , voted a sum of money to James for travelling with their fellow citizen.-Sources:* A New History of Ireland, volume one,...

 via India and the Malay Peninsula to China where they stayed in Dadu
Khanbaliq
Khanbaliq or Dadu refers to a city which is now Beijing, the current capital of the People's Republic of China...

 (present day Beijing
Beijing
Beijing , also known as Peking , is the capital of the People's Republic of China and one of the most populous cities in the world, with a population of 19,612,368 as of 2010. The city is the country's political, cultural, and educational center, and home to the headquarters for most of China's...

) for approximately three years before returning to Italy overland through Central Asia.

~1321-1330/1338(?): The French Dominican
Dominican Order
The Order of Preachers , after the 15th century more commonly known as the Dominican Order or Dominicans, is a Catholic religious order founded by Saint Dominic and approved by Pope Honorius III on 22 December 1216 in France...

 missionary Jordanus
Jordanus
Jordanus or Jordan Catalani was a French Dominican missionary and explorer in Asia known for his Mirabilia describing the marvels of the East.-Travels:He was perhaps born at Sévérac-le-Château in Aveyron, north-east of Toulouse...

, made bishop over the whole Indian subcontinent
Indian subcontinent
The Indian subcontinent, also Indian Subcontinent, Indo-Pak Subcontinent or South Asian Subcontinent is a region of the Asian continent on the Indian tectonic plate from the Hindu Kush or Hindu Koh, Himalayas and including the Kuen Lun and Karakoram ranges, forming a land mass which extends...

 in 1329, wrote down his travels through India and the Middle East in his book Mirabilia.

1338-1353: The Italian Giovanni de' Marignolli
Giovanni de' Marignolli
Giovanni de' Marignolli , a notable traveller to the Far East in the fourteenth century , born probably before 1290, and sprung from a noble family in Florence....

, one of four chief envoys sent by Pope Benedict XII
Pope Benedict XII
Pope Benedict XII , born Jacques Fournier, the third of the Avignon Popes, was Pope from 1334 to 1342.-Early life:...

 to Peking.

1401-1402: Travel of Payo Gómez de Sotomayor, first ambassador of Henry III of Castile
Henry III of Castile
Henry III KG , sometimes known as Henry the Sufferer or Henry the Infirm , was the son of John I and Eleanor of Aragon, and succeeded him as King of the Castilian Crown in 1390....

 to the Timurid Empire.

1403-1404: Travel of Ruy González de Clavijo, second ambassador of Henry III of Castile
Henry III of Castile
Henry III KG , sometimes known as Henry the Sufferer or Henry the Infirm , was the son of John I and Eleanor of Aragon, and succeeded him as King of the Castilian Crown in 1390....

 to the Timurid Empire. He passed along the Black Sea coast of Turkey
Turkey
Turkey , known officially as the Republic of Turkey , is a Eurasian country located in Western Asia and in East Thrace in Southeastern Europe...

 to Trabzon
Trabzon
Trabzon is a city on the Black Sea coast of north-eastern Turkey and the capital of Trabzon Province. Trabzon, located on the historical Silk Road, became a melting pot of religions, languages and culture for centuries and a trade gateway to Iran in the southeast and the Caucasus to the northeast...

 and then overland through Armenia
Armenia
Armenia , officially the Republic of Armenia , is a landlocked mountainous country in the Caucasus region of Eurasia...

, Azerbaijan
Azerbaijan
Azerbaijan , officially the Republic of Azerbaijan is the largest country in the Caucasus region of Eurasia. Located at the crossroads of Western Asia and Eastern Europe, it is bounded by the Caspian Sea to the east, Russia to the north, Georgia to the northwest, Armenia to the west, and Iran to...

, Iran
Iran
Iran , officially the Islamic Republic of Iran , is a country in Southern and Western Asia. The name "Iran" has been in use natively since the Sassanian era and came into use internationally in 1935, before which the country was known to the Western world as Persia...

 and Turkmenistan
Turkmenistan
Turkmenistan , formerly also known as Turkmenia is one of the Turkic states in Central Asia. Until 1991, it was a constituent republic of the Soviet Union, the Turkmen Soviet Socialist Republic . Turkmenistan is one of the six independent Turkic states...

 to Uzbekistan
Uzbekistan
Uzbekistan , officially the Republic of Uzbekistan is a doubly landlocked country in Central Asia and one of the six independent Turkic states. It shares borders with Kazakhstan to the west and to the north, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan to the east, and Afghanistan and Turkmenistan to the south....

. He also visited Tehran
Tehran
Tehran , sometimes spelled Teheran, is the capital of Iran and Tehran Province. With an estimated population of 8,429,807; it is also Iran's largest urban area and city, one of the largest cities in Western Asia, and is the world's 19th largest city.In the 20th century, Tehran was subject to...

.

1420-1436: Travels of the Italian explorer Niccolò Da Conti
Niccolò Da Conti
Niccolò de' Conti was an Italian merchant and explorer of the Republic of Venice, born in Chioggia, who traveled to India and Southeast Asia, and possibly to Southern China, during the early 15th century...

 to India and Southeast Asia
Southeast Asia
Southeast Asia, South-East Asia, South East Asia or Southeastern Asia is a subregion of Asia, consisting of the countries that are geographically south of China, east of India, west of New Guinea and north of Australia. The region lies on the intersection of geological plates, with heavy seismic...

.

1470: Travels of Afanasy Nikitin
Afanasy Nikitin
Afanasy Nikitin was a Russian merchant and one of the first Europeans to travel to and document his visit to India. He described his trip in a narrative known as The Journey Beyond Three Seas .-The voyage:In 1466, Nikitin left his hometown of Tver on a commercial trip to India...

, the first Russia
Russia
Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

n to visit India.

1471-79: The Italian Venetian diplomats Caterino Zeno, Ambrogio Contarini, and Giosafat Barbaro
Giosafat Barbaro
Giosafat Barbaro was a member of the Venetian Barbaro family. He was a diplomat, merchant, explorer and travel writer. He was unusually well-travelled for someone of his times.-Family:...

 travel to Persia
Ak Koyunlu
The Aq Qoyunlu or Ak Koyunlu, also called the White Sheep Turkomans , was an Sunni Oghuz Turkic tribal federation that ruled parts of present-day Eastern Turkey, Armenia, Azerbaijan, northern Iraq, and Iran from 1378 to 1508.-History:According to chronicles from the Byzantine Empire, the Aq Qoyunlu...

.

1557-1572: The English Anthony Jenkinson
Anthony Jenkinson
Anthony Jenkinson was born at Market Harborough, Leicestershire. He was one of the first Britons to explore Muscovy and present day Russia. Jenkinson was a traveller and explorer on behalf of the Muscovy Company and the English crown. He also met Ivan the Terrible several times during his trips...

 traveled across the Caspian Sea
Caspian Sea
The Caspian Sea is the largest enclosed body of water on Earth by area, variously classed as the world's largest lake or a full-fledged sea. The sea has a surface area of and a volume of...

 to Bukhara
Bukhara
Bukhara , from the Soghdian βuxārak , is the capital of the Bukhara Province of Uzbekistan. The nation's fifth-largest city, it has a population of 263,400 . The region around Bukhara has been inhabited for at least five millennia, and the city has existed for half that time...

 and Persia.

≈1580-1585:The Cossack Yermak Timofeyevich
Yermak Timofeyevich
Yermak Timofeyevich , Cossack leader, Russian folk hero and explorer of Siberia. His exploration of Siberia marked the beginning of the expansion of Russia towards this region and its colonization...

 reaches the Siberia
Siberia
Siberia is an extensive region constituting almost all of Northern Asia. Comprising the central and eastern portion of the Russian Federation, it was part of the Soviet Union from its beginning, as its predecessor states, the Tsardom of Russia and the Russian Empire, conquered it during the 16th...

n Tatar city of Qashliq
Qashliq
Qashliq, Isker or Sibir was a medieval Siberian Tatar fortress, in the 16th century the capital of the Khanate of Sibir, located on the right bank of the Irtysh River at its confluence with the Sibirka rivulet, some 17 km from the modern city of Tobolsk.The fortress is first mentioned in...

 near the right bank of Irtysh
Irtysh
The Irtysh River is a river in Siberia and is the chief tributary of the Ob River. Its name means White River. Irtysh's main affluent is the Tobol River...

.

1583-1591: The English merchant Ralph Fitch
Ralph Fitch
Ralph Fitch was a gentleman merchant of London and one of the earliest English travellers and traders to visit Mesopotamia, the Persian Gulf and Indian Ocean, India and Southeast Asia...

 traveled via the Levant
Levant
The Levant or ) is the geographic region and culture zone of the "eastern Mediterranean littoral between Anatolia and Egypt" . The Levant includes most of modern Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Israel, the Palestinian territories, and sometimes parts of Turkey and Iraq, and corresponds roughly to the...

 and Mesopotamia
Mesopotamia
Mesopotamia is a toponym for the area of the Tigris–Euphrates river system, largely corresponding to modern-day Iraq, northeastern Syria, southeastern Turkey and southwestern Iran.Widely considered to be the cradle of civilization, Bronze Age Mesopotamia included Sumer and the...

 to India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

 and Malacca
Malacca
Malacca , dubbed The Historic State or Negeri Bersejarah among locals) is the third smallest Malaysian state, after Perlis and Penang. It is located in the southern region of the Malay Peninsula, on the Straits of Malacca. It borders Negeri Sembilan to the north and the state of Johor to the south...

 (in Malaysia).

Second wave of exploration (by sea)



1497-1499:The Portuguese Vasco da Gama
Vasco da Gama
Vasco da Gama, 1st Count of Vidigueira was a Portuguese explorer, one of the most successful in the Age of Discovery and the commander of the first ships to sail directly from Europe to India...

, accompanied by Nicolau Coelho
Nicolau Coelho
Nicolau Coelho was an expert Portuguese sailor during the age of discovery. He participated in the discovery of the route to India by Vasco da Gama where he commanded Berrio, the first caravel to return; was captain of a ship in the fleet headed by Pedro Álvares Cabral who landed in Brazil...

 and Bartolomeu Dias
Bartolomeu Dias
Bartolomeu Dias , a nobleman of the Portuguese royal household, was a Portuguese explorer who sailed around the southernmost tip of Africa in 1488, the first European known to have done so.-Purposes of the Dias expedition:...

, is the first European to reach India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

 by an all-sea route from Europe.

1500-1501:After discovering Brazil, Pedro Álvares Cabral
Pedro Álvares Cabral
Pedro Álvares Cabral was a Portuguese noble, military commander, navigator and explorer regarded as the discoverer of Brazil. Cabral conducted the first substantial exploration of the northeast coast of South America and claimed it for Portugal. While details of Cabral's early life are sketchy, it...

, with the half of an original fleet of 13 ships and 1,500 men, accomplished the second Portuguese trip to India. Boats were commanded by Cabral, Bartolomeu Dias
Bartolomeu Dias
Bartolomeu Dias , a nobleman of the Portuguese royal household, was a Portuguese explorer who sailed around the southernmost tip of Africa in 1488, the first European known to have done so.-Purposes of the Dias expedition:...

, Nicolau Coelho
Nicolau Coelho
Nicolau Coelho was an expert Portuguese sailor during the age of discovery. He participated in the discovery of the route to India by Vasco da Gama where he commanded Berrio, the first caravel to return; was captain of a ship in the fleet headed by Pedro Álvares Cabral who landed in Brazil...

, Sancho de Tovar
Sancho de Tovar
Sancho de Tovar, 6th Lord of Cevico, Caracena and Boca de Huérgano was a Portuguese nobleman of Castilian birth, best known as a navigator and explorer during the Portuguese age of discoveries. He was the sub-captain of the fleet that discovered Brazil in 1500, and was later appointed Governor of...

, Simão de Miranda, Aires Gomes da Silva, Vasco de Ataíde
Vasco de Ataíde
Vasco de Ataíde was a Portuguese sailor who commanded a ship of the expedition of Pedro Álvares Cabral in the discovery of Brazil. We know little about him as his brother Pero de Ataíde...

, Diogo Dias
Diogo Dias
Diogo Dias, also known as Diogo Gomes, was a 15th-century Portuguese explorer. He was the brother of Bartolomeu Dias and discovered some of the Cape Verde islands together with António Noli....

, Simão de Pina, Luís Pires
Luís Pires
Luís Pires , was a Portuguese explorer who accompanied Pedro Álvares Cabral in the discovery of Brazil, being one of the captains of the fleet. On leaving the Cape Verde Islands, Pires was forced by a storm to return to Lisbon, never having reached Brazil or India .-See also:*Exploration of Asia...

, Pêro de Ataíde
Pêro de Ataíde
Pêro de Ataíde or Pedro d'Ataíde , nicknamed O Inferno , was a Portuguese sea captain in the Indian Ocean active in the early 1500s...

 and Nuno Leitão da Cunha. It is not known which one between Gaspar de Lemos
Gaspar de Lemos
Gaspar de Lemos , Portuguese explorer and captain of the supply ship of Pedro Álvares Cabral's fleet that discovered Brazil. Sent back to Portugal with news of their discovery, he was credited by the Viscount of Santarém as having discovered the Fernando de Noronha archipelago in the Atlantic Ocean....

 and André Gonçalves
André Gonçalves
André Gonçalves , Portuguese explorer that accompanied Pedro Álvares Cabral in the discovery of Brazil. Gonçalves was one of Cabral's captains of the fleet. According to some sources he was sent back to Lisbon with important news and not Gaspar de Lemos ....

, commanded the ship which returned to Portugal with the news of the discovery. Luís Pires returned to Portugal just after reaching Cape Verde. Vasco de Ataíde, Bartolomeu Dias, Simão de Pina and Aires Gomes' ships were lost near the Cape of Good Hope. The ship commanded by Diogo Dias separated and discovered Madagascar. He was then the first to reach the Red Sea by boat. Nuno Leitão da Cunha, Nicolau Coelho, Sancho de Tovar, Simão de Miranda, Pero de Ataíde did the entire trip to India. Among other passengers were: Pêro Vaz de Caminha
Pêro Vaz de Caminha
Pêro Vaz de Caminha , was a Portuguese knight that accompanied Pedro Álvares Cabral to India in 1500, as a secretary to the royal factory. Caminha wrote the detailed official report of the April 1500 discovery of Brazil by Cabral's fleet...

 and the Franciscan father, Frei Henrique de Coimbra.

1501-?:João da Nova
João da Nova
João da Nova , Xoán de Novoa or Joam de Nôvoa galician spellings, Juan de Nova, Spanish spelling, was a Galician explorer of the Atlantic and Indian Oceans at the service of Portugal...

 commands the third Portuguese expedition to India. He discovers Ascension Island
Ascension Island
Ascension Island is an isolated volcanic island in the equatorial waters of the South Atlantic Ocean, around from the coast of Africa and from the coast of South America, which is roughly midway between the horn of South America and Africa...

 (1501) and Saint Helena
Saint Helena
Saint Helena , named after St Helena of Constantinople, is an island of volcanic origin in the South Atlantic Ocean. It is part of the British overseas territory of Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha which also includes Ascension Island and the islands of Tristan da Cunha...

 (1502) along the way.

1502-1503:Second trip of Vasco de Gama to India.

1503-1504:Afonso de Albuquerque
Afonso de Albuquerque
Afonso de Albuquerque[p][n] was a Portuguese fidalgo, or nobleman, an admiral whose military and administrative activities as second governor of Portuguese India conquered and established the Portuguese colonial empire in the Indian Ocean...

 establishes the first Portuguese fort in Kochi
Kochi (India)
Kochi , formerly Cochin, is a major port city on the west coast of India by the Arabian Sea. Kochi is part of the district of Ernakulam in the state of Kerala. Kochi is often called by the name Ernakulam, which refers to the western part of the mainland Kochi...

, India.

1505:Francisco de Almeida
Francisco de Almeida
Dom Francisco de Almeida , also known as "the Great Dom Francisco" , was a Portuguese nobleman, soldier and explorer. He distinguished himself as a counsellor to King John II of Portugal and later in the wars against the Moors and in the conquest of Granada in 1492...

 is appointed as the first viceroy of Portuguese India (Estado da Índia). He leaves Lisbon with an armada of 22 ships, including 14 carracks and 6 caravels carrying a crew of 1,000 and 1,500 soldiers. His son, Lourenço de Almeida
Lourenço de Almeida
Lourenço de Almeida , son of Francisco de Almeida, acting under him, distinguished himself in the Indian Ocean, and made Ceylon tributary to Portugal...

, explores the southern coast and reaches the modern island of Sri Lanka.

1507-1513:In 1507, Afonso de Albuquerque
Afonso de Albuquerque
Afonso de Albuquerque[p][n] was a Portuguese fidalgo, or nobleman, an admiral whose military and administrative activities as second governor of Portuguese India conquered and established the Portuguese colonial empire in the Indian Ocean...

 captures the kingdom of Ormus
Ormus
The Kingdom of Ormus was a 10th to 17th century kingdom located within the Persian Gulf and extending as far as the Strait of Hormuz...

 in the Persian Gulf. He is then appointed second viceroy of India in 1508. In 1510 he captures Goa
Goa
Goa , a former Portuguese colony, is India's smallest state by area and the fourth smallest by population. Located in South West India in the region known as the Konkan, it is bounded by the state of Maharashtra to the north, and by Karnataka to the east and south, while the Arabian Sea forms its...

, soon to became the most flourishing of the Portuguese settlements in India.

1511: Albuquerque
Afonso de Albuquerque
Afonso de Albuquerque[p][n] was a Portuguese fidalgo, or nobleman, an admiral whose military and administrative activities as second governor of Portuguese India conquered and established the Portuguese colonial empire in the Indian Ocean...

 conquers Malacca
Malacca
Malacca , dubbed The Historic State or Negeri Bersejarah among locals) is the third smallest Malaysian state, after Perlis and Penang. It is located in the southern region of the Malay Peninsula, on the Straits of Malacca. It borders Negeri Sembilan to the north and the state of Johor to the south...

 discovered by Lopes de Sequeira in 1509. Malacca becomes a strategic base for Portuguese expansion in the East Indies
East Indies
East Indies is a term used by Europeans from the 16th century onwards to identify what is now known as Indian subcontinent or South Asia, Southeastern Asia, and the islands of Oceania, including the Malay Archipelago and the Philippines...

. In November of that year, after having secured Malacca and learning of the "Spice islands" (Banda Islands) location, in Maluku
Maluku Islands
The Maluku Islands are an archipelago that is part of Indonesia, and part of the larger Maritime Southeast Asia region. Tectonically they are located on the Halmahera Plate within the Molucca Sea Collision Zone...

 Albuquerque sent an expedition of three vessels led by António de Abreu
António de Abreu
António de Abreu was a 16th century Portuguese navigator and naval officer. He participated under the command of Afonso de Albuquerque in the conquest of Ormus in 1507 and Malacca in 1511, where he got injured...

 to find them. In 1511 Ayutthaya Kingdom
Ayutthaya kingdom
Ayutthaya was a Siamese kingdom that existed from 1350 to 1767. Ayutthaya was friendly towards foreign traders, including the Chinese, Vietnamese , Indians, Japanese and Persians, and later the Portuguese, Spanish, Dutch and French, permitting them to set up villages outside the walls of the...

 (Thailand) received a diplomatic mission from the Portuguese. These were probably the first Europeans to visit the country. Five years after that initial contact, Ayutthaya and Portugal concluded a treaty granting the Portuguese permission to trade in the kingdom.

1512: Malay pilots guided the Portuguese via Java, the Lesser Sundas and Ambon
Ambon Island
Ambon Island is part of the Maluku Islands of Indonesia. The island has an area of , and is mountainous, well watered, and fertile. Ambon Island consists of 2 territories: The main city and seaport is Ambon , which is also the capital of Maluku province and Maluku Tengah Ambon Island is part of the...

 to Banda, arriving in early 1512. The first Europeans to reach the Banda Islands
Banda Islands
The Banda Islands are a volcanic group of ten small volcanic islands in the Banda Sea, about south of Seram Island and about east of Java, and are part of the Indonesian province of Maluku. The main town and administrative centre is Bandanaira, located on the island of the same name. They rise...

, the expedition remained in Banda for about one month, purchasing nutmeg and mace, and clove
Clove
Cloves are the aromatic dried flower buds of a tree in the family Myrtaceae. Cloves are native to the Maluku islands in Indonesia and used as a spice in cuisines all over the world...

s in which Banda had a thriving entrepôt
Entrepôt
An entrepôt is a trading post where merchandise can be imported and exported without paying import duties, often at a profit. This profit is possible because of trade conditions, for example, the reluctance of ships to travel the entire length of a long trading route, and selling to the entrepôt...

 trade. D'Abreu sailed through Ambon
Ambon Island
Ambon Island is part of the Maluku Islands of Indonesia. The island has an area of , and is mountainous, well watered, and fertile. Ambon Island consists of 2 territories: The main city and seaport is Ambon , which is also the capital of Maluku province and Maluku Tengah Ambon Island is part of the...

 while his second in command Francisco Serrão
Francisco Serrão
Francisco Serrão was a Portuguese explorer and a cousin of Ferdinand Magellan. His 1512 voyage was the first known European sailing east past Malacca through Indonesia and the Indies. He became a member of the Sultan Bayan Sirrullah, the ruler of Ternate, becoming his personal advisor...

 went ahead towards Maluku islands, was shipwrecked and ended up in Ternate
Ternate
Ternate is an island in the Maluku Islands of eastern Indonesia. It is located off the west coast of the larger island of Halmahera, the center of the powerful former Sultanate of Ternate....

. Francisco Serrão
Francisco Serrão
Francisco Serrão was a Portuguese explorer and a cousin of Ferdinand Magellan. His 1512 voyage was the first known European sailing east past Malacca through Indonesia and the Indies. He became a member of the Sultan Bayan Sirrullah, the ruler of Ternate, becoming his personal advisor...

 establishes a fort on Ternate Island.

1513: Albuquerque
Afonso de Albuquerque
Afonso de Albuquerque[p][n] was a Portuguese fidalgo, or nobleman, an admiral whose military and administrative activities as second governor of Portuguese India conquered and established the Portuguese colonial empire in the Indian Ocean...

 laid siege to Aden
Aden
Aden is a seaport city in Yemen, located by the eastern approach to the Red Sea , some 170 kilometres east of Bab-el-Mandeb. Its population is approximately 800,000. Aden's ancient, natural harbour lies in the crater of an extinct volcano which now forms a peninsula, joined to the mainland by a...

 in 1513, but was repulsed. He then led a voyage into the Red Sea
Red Sea
The Red Sea is a seawater inlet of the Indian Ocean, lying between Africa and Asia. The connection to the ocean is in the south through the Bab el Mandeb strait and the Gulf of Aden. In the north, there is the Sinai Peninsula, the Gulf of Aqaba, and the Gulf of Suez...

, the first ever made by a European fleet.
Jorge Álvares
Jorge Álvares
Jorge Álvares is credited as the first Portuguese explorer to have reached China and Hong Kong. The Fundação Jorge Álvares , founded by Vasco Joaquim Rocha Vieira prior to the handover of Macau, got its name from him also having reached there.-Exploration:In May 1513 Álvares sailed under the...

 is the first European to land in China at Lintin Island in the Zhujiang (Pearl River) estuary.


1517: The Portuguese merchant Fernão Pires de Andrade
Fernão Pires de Andrade
Captain Fernão Pires de Andrade was a Portuguese merchant, pharmacist, and official diplomat under the explorer and Malacca governor Afonso de Albuquerque...

 establishes the first modern trading contact with the Chinese at the Zhujiang (Pearl River) estuary and then in Canton
Guangzhou
Guangzhou , known historically as Canton or Kwangchow, is the capital and largest city of the Guangdong province in the People's Republic of China. Located in southern China on the Pearl River, about north-northwest of Hong Kong, Guangzhou is a key national transportation hub and trading port...

 (Guangzhou).

1519-: Leaving Spain with five ships and 270 men in 1519, the Portuguese Ferdinand Magellan
Ferdinand Magellan
Ferdinand Magellan was a Portuguese explorer. He was born in Sabrosa, in northern Portugal, and served King Charles I of Spain in search of a westward route to the "Spice Islands" ....

 is the first to reach Asia from the East. In 1520, he discovers what is now known as the Strait of Magellan
Strait of Magellan
The Strait of Magellan comprises a navigable sea route immediately south of mainland South America and north of Tierra del Fuego...

. In 1521 he reaches the Marianas and then the island of Homonhon
Homonhon Island
Homonhon Island is an island in the province of Eastern Samar, Philippines, on the east side of Leyte Gulf. It is about 20 km long.-History:...

 in the Philippines. Some time after, Magellan is killed in what is known as the Battle of Mactan
Battle of Mactan
The Battle of Mactan was fought in the Philippines on April 27, 1521. The warriors of Lapu-Lapu, a native chieftain of Mactan Island, defeated Spanish forces under the command of Ferdinand Magellan, who was killed in the battle.- Background :...

. The rest of the crew sails to Palawan
Palawan
Palawan is an island province of the Philippines located in the MIMAROPA region or Region 4. Its capital is Puerto Princesa City, and it is the largest province in the country in terms of total area of jurisdiction. The islands of Palawan stretch from Mindoro in the northeast to Borneo in the...

 (Philippines), and then to Brunei
Brunei
Brunei , officially the State of Brunei Darussalam or the Nation of Brunei, the Abode of Peace , is a sovereign state located on the north coast of the island of Borneo, in Southeast Asia...

 and Borneo
Borneo
Borneo is the third largest island in the world and is located north of Java Island, Indonesia, at the geographic centre of Maritime Southeast Asia....

. They then reach Tidore
Tidore
Tidore is a city, island, and archipelago in the Maluku Islands of eastern Indonesia, west of the larger island of Halmahera. In the pre-colonial era, the kingdom of Tidore was a major regional political and economic power, and a fierce rival of nearby Ternate, just to the north.-Geography:Tidor...

 in the Maluku Islands avoiding the Portuguese. Only one ship, commanded by Juan Sebastián Elcano
Juan Sebastián Elcano
Juan Sebastián Elcano was a Basque Spanish explorer who completed the first circumnavigation of the world. As Ferdinand Magellan's second in command, Elcano took over after Magellan's death in the Philippines.-Early life:Elcano was born to Domingo Sebastián Elcano I and Catalina del Puerto...

, returns to Spain in 1522 with 18 men remaining.

1524:Third trip of Vasco de Gama to India.

1542:After a journey through Sumatra, Malaysia, Siam (Thailand), China, possibly Korea and Cochinchina
Cochinchina
Cochinchina is a region encompassing the southern third of Vietnam whose principal city is Saigon. It was a French colony from 1862 to 1954. The later state of South Vietnam was created in 1954 by combining Cochinchina with southern Annam. In Vietnamese, the region is called Nam Bộ...

 (Vietnam), Fernão Mendes Pinto
Fernão Mendes Pinto
Fernão Mendes Pinto was a Portuguese explorer and writer. His exploits are known through the posthumous publication of his memoir Pilgrimage in 1614, an autobiographical work whose truthfulness is nearly impossible to assess...

 is one of the first Europeans to land in Japan.

1542:António de Mota is thrown by a storm on the island of Nison, called by the Chinese Jepwen (Japan).

1549:On return of his second trip to Japan Fernão Mendes Pinto
Fernão Mendes Pinto
Fernão Mendes Pinto was a Portuguese explorer and writer. His exploits are known through the posthumous publication of his memoir Pilgrimage in 1614, an autobiographical work whose truthfulness is nearly impossible to assess...

 takes with him a Japanese fugitive known as Anjiro
Anjiro
or , later known as Paulo de Santa Fé, was a well known Japanese interpreter from Satsuma Province. After committing a murder, he fled to the province of Goa, where he met Saint Francis Xavier and returned to Japan with him as an interpreter...

 and introduces him to the Jesuit Saint Francis Xavier.

1549:Saint Francis Xavier arrive in Japan accompanied by Father Cosme de Torrès
Cosme de Torrès
Cosme de Torres , a Spanish Jesuit of the sixteenth century, was one of the first Christian missionaries in Japan. He was born in Valencia and died in Amakusa, an island now in Kumamoto Prefecture, Japan.-Early Life :...

, Brother Juan Fernández
Juan Fernández (missionary)
Juan Fernández was a Spanish Jesuit lay brother and missionary. He was the first European to a grammar and lexicon of the Japanese language.-Life:...

, the Japanese Anjiro
Anjiro
or , later known as Paulo de Santa Fé, was a well known Japanese interpreter from Satsuma Province. After committing a murder, he fled to the province of Goa, where he met Saint Francis Xavier and returned to Japan with him as an interpreter...

, two baptized Japanese named Antonio and Joane, a Chinese named Manuel, and an Indian named Amador. The captain of the ship is named Avan aka "The Pirate".

1556:The Dominican Gaspar da Cruz
Gaspar da Cruz
Gaspar da Cruz was a Portuguese Dominican friar born in Évora, who traveled to Asia and wrote one of the first detailed European accounts about China.-Biography:Gaspar da Cruz was admitted to the Order of Preachers convent of Azeitão...

 is the first modern missionary to go in China. He traveled to Guangzhou
Guangzhou
Guangzhou , known historically as Canton or Kwangchow, is the capital and largest city of the Guangdong province in the People's Republic of China. Located in southern China on the Pearl River, about north-northwest of Hong Kong, Guangzhou is a key national transportation hub and trading port...

 in 1556 and wrote the first complete book on China and the Ming Dynasty
Ming Dynasty
The Ming Dynasty, also Empire of the Great Ming, was the ruling dynasty of China from 1368 to 1644, following the collapse of the Mongol-led Yuan Dynasty. The Ming, "one of the greatest eras of orderly government and social stability in human history", was the last dynasty in China ruled by ethnic...

 that was published in Europe; it included information on its geography, provinces, royalty, official class, bureaucracy, shipping, architecture, farming, craftsmanship, merchant affairs, clothing, religious and social customs, music and instruments, writing, education, and justice. (See also Jesuit China missions
Jesuit China missions
The history of the missions of the Jesuits in China is part of the history of relations between China and the Western world. The missionary efforts and other work of the Society of Jesus, or Jesuits, between the 16th and 17th century played a significant role in continuing the transmission of...

)

1595:The Dutchman Jan Huyghen van Linschoten
Jan Huyghen van Linschoten
Jan Huyghen van Linschoten was a Dutch Protestant merchant, traveller and historian. An alternate spelling of second name is Huijgen....

 published his Reys-gheschrift vande navigatien der Portugaloysers in Orienten (Travel Accounts of Portuguese Navigation in the Orient) which was translated in to English and German in 1598. It gave access to secret Portuguese information, including the nautical maps which had been well guarded for over a century. The book thus broke the Portuguese monopoly on the sea trade with Asia.

Noteworthy Others



~118 BCE: Eudoxus of Cyzicus
Eudoxus of Cyzicus
Eudoxus of Cyzicus was a Greek navigator who explored the Arabian Sea for Ptolemy VIII, king of the Hellenistic Ptolemaic dynasty in Egypt.-Voyages to India:...

 was a Greek navigator from the Asian-Greek city of Cyzicus
Cyzicus
Cyzicus was an ancient town of Mysia in Anatolia in the current Balıkesir Province of Turkey. It was located on the shoreward side of the present Kapıdağ Peninsula , a tombolo which is said to have originally been an island in the Sea of Marmara only to be connected to the mainland in historic...

 who explored the Arabian Sea for Ptolemy VIII, king of the Hellenistic Ptolemaic dynasty
Ptolemaic dynasty
The Ptolemaic dynasty, was a Macedonian Greek royal family which ruled the Ptolemaic Empire in Egypt during the Hellenistic period. Their rule lasted for 275 years, from 305 BC to 30 BC...

 in Egypt.

522~550: Cosmas Indicopleustes
Cosmas Indicopleustes
Cosmas Indicopleustes was an Alexandrian merchant and later hermit, probably of Nestorian tendencies. He was a 6th-century traveller, who made several voyages to India during the reign of emperor Justinian...

 (lit. "who sailed to India") of Alexandria
Alexandria
Alexandria is the second-largest city of Egypt, with a population of 4.1 million, extending about along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea in the north central part of the country; it is also the largest city lying directly on the Mediterranean coast. It is Egypt's largest seaport, serving...

 was a Greek
Greeks
The Greeks, also known as the Hellenes , are a nation and ethnic group native to Greece, Cyprus and neighboring regions. They also form a significant diaspora, with Greek communities established around the world....

 merchant
Merchant
A merchant is a businessperson who trades in commodities that were produced by others, in order to earn a profit.Merchants can be one of two types:# A wholesale merchant operates in the chain between producer and retail merchant...

, and later monk
Monk
A monk is a person who practices religious asceticism, living either alone or with any number of monks, while always maintaining some degree of physical separation from those not sharing the same purpose...

, who made several voyages to India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

 during the reign of emperor Justinian. His Topografia Christiana
Christian Topography
The Christian Topography is a 6th-century work, one of the earliest essays in scientific geography written by a Christian author. It was originally written as five books by Cosmas Indicopleustes and expanded to ten to twelve books around 550 AD...

contained some of the earliest and most famous world maps.

1154: Although not known for his travels, Muhammad al-Idrisi
Muhammad al-Idrisi
Abu Abd Allah Muhammad al-Idrisi al-Qurtubi al-Hasani al-Sabti or simply Al Idrisi was a Moroccan Muslim geographer, cartographer, Egyptologist and traveller who lived in Sicily, at the court of King Roger II. Muhammed al-Idrisi was born in Ceuta then belonging to the Almoravid Empire and died in...

 was most important for the exploration of Asia for Europeans when he made the Tabula Rogeriana
Tabula Rogeriana
The Nuzhat al-mushtaq fi'khtiraq al-afaq lit. "the book of pleasant journeys into faraway lands", most often known as the Tabula Rogeriana , is a description of the world and world map created by the Arab geographer, Muhammad al-Idrisi, in 1154...

, a map of the whole known world, in 1154 for the Norman
Normans
The Normans were the people who gave their name to Normandy, a region in northern France. They were descended from Norse Viking conquerors of the territory and the native population of Frankish and Gallo-Roman stock...

 King Roger II of Sicily
Roger II of Sicily
Roger II was King of Sicily, son of Roger I of Sicily and successor to his brother Simon. He began his rule as Count of Sicily in 1105, later became Duke of Apulia and Calabria , then King of Sicily...

, based on his knowledge of the Arab trade routes.

1247 & 1254: Hetoum I, king of the Armenian Kingdom of Cilicia
Armenian Kingdom of Cilicia
The Armenian Kingdom of Cilicia , also known as the Cilician Armenia, Kingdom of Cilician Armenia or New Armenia, was an independent principality formed during the High Middle Ages by Armenian refugees fleeing the Seljuk invasion of Armenia...

 and ally of the Frankish crusader states
Crusader states
The Crusader states were a number of mostly 12th- and 13th-century feudal states created by Western European crusaders in Asia Minor, Greece and the Holy Land , and during the Northern Crusades in the eastern Baltic area...

, visits the Mongol court
Mongol Empire
The Mongol Empire , initially named as Greater Mongol State was a great empire during the 13th and 14th centuries...

 in Karakoram
Karakoram
The Karakoram, or Karakorum , is a large mountain range spanning the borders between Pakistan, India and China, located in the regions of Gilgit-Baltistan , Ladakh , and Xinjiang region,...

 in 1254 after first sending his brother Sempad
Sempad the Constable
Sempad the Constable was a noble in Cilician Armenia, an older brother of King Hetoum I. He was an important figure in Cilicia, acting as a diplomat, judge, and military officer, holding the title of Constable or Sparapet, supreme commander of the Armenian armed forces...

 in 1247.

1275-1288: Rabban Bar Sauma
Rabban Bar Sauma
Rabban Bar Sauma , also known as Rabban Ṣawma or Rabban Çauma, , was a Turkic/Mongol monk turned diplomat of the Nestorian Christian faith. He is known for embarking on a pilgrimage from Mongol-controlled China to Jerusalem with one of his students, Rabban Markos...

 and Markos, the Turkic
Turkic peoples
The Turkic peoples are peoples residing in northern, central and western Asia, southern Siberia and northwestern China and parts of eastern Europe. They speak languages belonging to the Turkic language family. They share, to varying degrees, certain cultural traits and historical backgrounds...

/Chinese
China
Chinese civilization may refer to:* China for more general discussion of the country.* Chinese culture* Greater China, the transnational community of ethnic Chinese.* History of China* Sinosphere, the area historically affected by Chinese culture...

 Nestorian monks, traveled to the Middle East
Middle East
The Middle East is a region that encompasses Western Asia and Northern Africa. It is often used as a synonym for Near East, in opposition to Far East...

 and Europe. The Rabban Bar Sauma met with many of the European monarchs, as well as the Pope, in attempts to arrange a Franco-Mongol alliance
Franco-Mongol alliance
Franco-Mongol relations were established in the 13th century, as attempts were made towards forming a Franco-Mongol alliance between the Christian Crusaders and the Mongol Empire against various Muslim empires. Such an alliance would have seemed a logical choice: the Mongols were sympathetic to...

.

1325-1355: Travels of Ibn Battuta
Ibn Battuta
Abu Abdullah Muhammad Ibn Battuta , or simply Ibn Battuta, also known as Shams ad–Din , was a Muslim Moroccan Berber explorer, known for his extensive travels published in the Rihla...

, a Muslim traveller
Islamic geography
Geography and cartography in medieval Islam refers to the advancement of geography, cartography and the earth sciences in the medieval Islamic civilization....

 from Morocco
Morocco
Morocco , officially the Kingdom of Morocco , is a country located in North Africa. It has a population of more than 32 million and an area of 710,850 km², and also primarily administers the disputed region of the Western Sahara...

, across much of the Old World
Old World
The Old World consists of those parts of the world known to classical antiquity and the European Middle Ages. It is used in the context of, and contrast with, the "New World" ....

. His Travels would be influential with Europeans starting in the 19th century.

See also

  • Silk Road
    Silk Road
    The Silk Road or Silk Route refers to a historical network of interlinking trade routes across the Afro-Eurasian landmass that connected East, South, and Western Asia with the Mediterranean and European world, as well as parts of North and East Africa...

  • List of explorers
  • List of Russian explorers
  • European exploration of Arabia
    European exploration of Arabia
    The Arabian Peninsula, much of which now comprises the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, has always held a mysterious attraction for European explorers. Until modern times it was uncharted, inaccessible, dangerous and forbidden...

  • Timeline of European exploration
    Timeline of European exploration
    The following timeline covers European exploration from 1418 to 1948.The fifteenth century witnessed the rounding of the feared Cape Bojador and Portuguese exploration of the west coast of Africa, while in the last decade of the century the Spanish sent expeditions to the New World, focusing on...