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Activities
  1. Explore It
    This map shows the routes of early European explorers who came to North America. Covering such vast areas, these explorations took time. How many years passed between the first and the last of these explorations?
  2. Find It
    Explorers often followed rivers into the interior of North America as they searched for a route across the country. Name three rivers that were important to the explorers on this map.
  3. Describe It
    Choose one explorer shown on the map, and write a description of his journey. Use the map to tell what direction he traveled in and the oceans or rivers that he crossed. Use other resources to add more details to your description.
Learn More About It

Rulers of several European nations hired explorers during the 1400s, 1500s, and 1600s. The nations included Spain (green line on map), England (red), France (blue), and Holland (purple). They wanted the explorers to search for a Northwest Passage to Asia and to look for gold and other treasure. Instead of finding a route to Asia, explorers found rich land and resources in North America. Soon, settlers came to build trading posts, fishing camps, and towns. As these settlements grew, North America changed forever.
Check Your Answers
  1. 190 years passed between the first (1492) and the last (1682).
  2. Rivers that explorers used include the Mississippi River, the St. Lawrence River, and the Hudson River.
  3. Your description should include the parts of the country the explorer traveled through and any landforms the explorer crossed, such as mountains and rivers that you see on the map.