Your millennium
BBC News Front Page >>

In October we asked you to vote for the greatest explorer of the last thousand years. We asked the views of British explorers David Hempleman-Adams and Brian Jones who chose Sir Ernest Shackelton and Captain Robert Scott respectively. But BBC News Online readers had other ideas and put Christopher Columbus at number one.

Below is your top ten - and some of your comments.

Return to the winners

Christopher Columbus
Christopher Columbus' landing in America on 12 October 1492 marks a landmark event in world history, opening up a New World for Europeans.

But he remains a controversial figure. Despite popular belief, Columbus (1451-1506) did not 'discover' America. Civilisations there dated back thousands of years and European explorers and colonists did a great deal of damage to the native cultures.

Columbus was a great navigator in his day, although he believed the Earth's circumference to be much smaller than it is and that Asia was much larger than it is.

But despite all this, and the fact that Columbus spent his whole life believing he had in fact landed in Asia, he ranks as a great explorer for his bravery in sailing into the unknown. His voyages opened up large-scale trade links between the Old World and the New.

Your Top 10 Explorers:
1. Christopher Columbus
2. Captain James Cook
3. Neil Armstrong
4. Marco Polo
5. Sir Ernest Shackleton
6. Ferdinand Magellan
7. Jacques Cousteau
8. Roald Amundsen
9. Sir Edmund Hillary
10. Captain Robert Scott
What you have said:
Christopher Columbus set out for a goal, obtained backing and had a significant impact on our world today
Nadine Yates

True, there were people already living in the Americas, and Christopher Columbus may have landed in the New World by accident, but that does not change the fact that his "discovery" changed human history immeasurably.
David Bender

In Christopher Columbus' day, it was considered that you would fall off the end of the earth if you sailed too far. He overcame this misconception and tried to sail to India, believing the world to be round and not flat. In doing so, he accidentally put the continent of America on the map.
Martin Randall

Without any of the modern advantages, Christopher Columbus discovered the new world.
Kate Richards

Columbus really opened up the 'New World' and started a new era in modern history
Mike Abrahams

Captain James Cook was the first to set out with the deliberate aim of not only discovering land, but plants and animals as well. A great cartographer and sailor and leader of his men.
S Burslem

As well as travelling to places unknown to Western civilisation, Captain James Cook kept impeccable records and charts of his discoveries.
Colin Taylor, USA

Other explorers have walked, sailed or flown to various uncharted parts of the globe, but in billions of years of evolution Neil Armstrong was the earth-born creature to set foot on another planet.
Paul Coombs, UK

Together with the rest of the early astronauts in both the USA and the USSR, Neil Armstrong opened the door to the rest of the universe, now that the age of exploration on our own planet is coming to an end.
Tim Cutts

Marco Polo was one of the first people to sail to India and China and, most important, to bring back a lot of information on their culture.
André Leroux, Canada

Marco Polo's trip of discovery was one that had some possibility of success but the greater likelihood of no return.
T. Lawson

Ernest Shackleton had supreme courage, mental and physical toughness, and leadership qualities.
George Spearing, New Zealand

Being great in anything is more than what someone achieves, but also what kind of person achieves that greatness. Sir Ernest Shackleton certainly was a great man of character, resolve, and leadership; a man that epitomised the greatness of the human spirit.
Todd Nelson

Ringing in the new millennium | Back to the future | Witness | Speaking for the century | Millennium diaries | What happened next? | Review of the year | Your millennium | Talking Point