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History of Ocean Explorations

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Significance of oceans

Oceans are very important for human being in many ways. We will discuss three significance of ocean here

  1. Significance of ocean in exploration
  2. Significance of ocean in transportation
  3. Strategic role of oceans

Significance of oceans in exploration

Ocean played major role in exploration of many unexplored lands of the world. The age of exploration begin in early 15th century to until 17th century in which many Europeans travelled and explore many land of Africa, America, Australia and many other islands.

Reason of travel

They travelled to get spices, goods like silk and gold, religion converts and for bypassing the Muslim empires

They travelled because they get the new and more detailed maps and also the new instruments which they used in exploration some of the instrument are

  • Astrolabe that is used to determine altitude of the sun and position of the stars
  • Sextant that is used to find latitude and longitude
  • New ships which were bigger than the past


With the rise of the Turks in the 14th and 15th centuries, trade with the east became increasingly difficult by land.

But under the influence of the Renaissance on the European mind there also developed an urge of adventure and enterprise to discover new lands to plant colonies of their own people in them and to find a new independent route to India. Thus the 15th century ushered in an era of discoveries in the history of European peoples. (1)

Some of famous explorers are:

Marco Polo (1250-1324)

He started his travel from Italy to china in 1271 with his father and uncle he spend 20 years with Kublai Khan. In 1292 he decided to went back king gave him 14 ships. He travelled from Java, Sumatra, Sri Lanka and Madagascar.

Prince Henry (1396-1460)

He was a Portuguese explorer. He reached India bypassing Muslim Empires and Africa .In 1455 he reach to banning coast. He discovers many lands of Atlantic Ocean.

Captain Vasco da Gama

He travelled from Cape of Good Hope to Mozambique to Mogadishu to Mombasa. In 1498 he travelled and reached Calicut from Mozambique and realised the Portuguese ambition to finding a sea route to India.

Kristopher Columbus (1451-1508)

He was Spanish but studied in Portugal. He travelled to explore India. In 1492 he reached West Indies he thought that he had discover India until his death.


He was Portages explorer but Spanish king help him in sailing and provide him 5 ships. He started his journey in 1519 from Spain to Brazil and then South America and tip of India. He reached Guam islands (east of Philippine) on April 27, 1521 he entered Philippine and killed there.

Juan Sebastian the captain of Victoria ship one of the Magellan ship reached Spain by crossing Indian Ocean. In 1522 Juan Sebastian in Victoria circles the earth.

French and English nations

In 1534 the French navigator Jacques Cartier’s (1491-1557) expedition in an attempt to find the north-west passage reached the mouth of the St. Lawrence and discovered the lower fertile valley of the river. In 1553 the English expedition of Willoughby and Chancellor, in search of North East passage, reached the White Sea leading to the discovery of Russia. In 1576 Sir Martin Frobisher undertook three voyages (1576-1578) westward to find the north-westward passage and in the last attempt discovered the Hudson strait of the north of Labrador. (2)

Captain James cooks (1728-1779)

He was British navigator he drew the outline of Pacific Ocean and explores many Islands and countries. There are three major journeys of cook

1768-1771: He travelled from England to South America (Strait of Magellan) to Pacific Ocean to New Zealand to New gunny to Australia (eastern coast and islands) Cape of Good Hope to back to England.

1772-1775: Start his travel from England to Cape of Good Hope to Atlantic Ocean and Indian Ocean then to New Zealand and different islands he reached Antarctic circles up to 71 degree and 10 minutes then reached England moving from Strait of Magellan.

1776-1779: Started his travel from England to Cape of Good Hope then New Zealand Go way islands to Northern post, Alaska, bearing post, Russia and died there.


After James cooks the Earth was explore world map was redrawn.

Significance of ocean in Transportation

The oceans serve as a highway for trade and travel. Mostly the shipment of heavy trade commodities and mineral oil is transported through these ocean routs. (3)

There are many ways of transportation like roads, railway, by air and by water. Water enables more efficient travel as compared to land for most of heavy material things like containers, oil tankers, heavy machinery and jets and other weapons etc.

Waterways are very important for the transportation of people and goods throughout the world. Connection between coastal ports and inland ports of countries lead the foundation of material economics wealthy worldwide.

Early history of water-based transportation

In the past water-based transportation was very important for domestic and international trade and travelling of people. By the early exploration many natural resources were identified such as fisheries and timber etc. For the transportation of these resources trade centres were established along the coastal areas where goods were gathered and then transported to consumers of Europe and other areas of the world by ocean vessels.

Introduction of transportation system lead the small subsistence farms to larger farms such as wheat, tobacco, rice and cotton that were commercially marketable in Europe. By the ocean vessels low value goods were exported and returned with high value and low density goods like inks, linens and finished products.

During 1700s, the British government passed away act to collect taxes from the colonies this step of Government affected the trade.

Transportation in Twentieth and twenty-first centuries

In this time with the arrival of advancement in technology, engines design as well as improvement in construction material the ships which looked like the beautiful city the transportation become very easy and economically better then the last centuries of times.

Moderns cruise ships, ferries and many other small boats carry peoples for daily business commuting to fishing and sightseeing. Ferry system in Nova Scotia (Canada) is an example of the importance of waterway of transportation. About 95% of U.S. foreign trade passes through its port system.

Pakistan Karachi port is very important as far as the heavy materials transportation is concern. Today the world economy has become globalized. According to NOAA the U.S. was the world’s leading trader in 1998, about one billion tons of trade was bound with ocean.

All containers of different goods and oil tankers that cannot be transported by other mean of transportation so they are transported by the water passageway these heavy material are transported to the ports by land and then transported by ocean ways to the other countries of the world. (NATO supply is also carried out by the ocean way from U.S.A. a large part is transported to the army of NATO from Pakistan)

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