Vitus Bering: The first European to discover Alaska and its Aleutian Islands. Became an explorer after being employed by the Russian Navy and serving in its Baltic Fleet.
After serving in the navy, Tsar Peter I requested that Bering command the Kamchatka Expedition. The mission's goal was to see how far east Siberia stretched and to see whether or not Asia and North America were connected.
Samuel Slater: Designer of the first textile mill. Sometimes called 'The father of the American Industrial Revolution' for bringing cotton spinning to the US.
Worked as an apprentice in a cotton mill in England. After hearing that there was a demand for cotton spinning machines in America, he memorized as much as he could about the machines and sailed to America where he set up his own business.
Jean-Jacques Rousseau: Political philospher who thought the will of the people was most important to society. His ideas were used by revolutionaries during the French Revolution.
Rousseau's phrase: 'Liberty, Equality, Fraternity' became a rallying cry for French Revolutionaries. The same phrase was institued into the French Constitution.
Simon Bolivar: A liberator of South America from the Spanish. After gaining independence, the new nation of Bolivia named itself after him.
As Bolivar began fighting for independance in Venezuela, he found the colony was too well defended by the Spanish. He led his forces to other colonies and began fighting where the Spanish were weaker.
Josef Stalin: Dictator of Soviet Russia after Vladimir Lenin's death. Led the Soviets through World War II and the beginning of the Cold War.
Originally named Iosif Vissarionovich Dzhugashvili but changed his name to Josef Stalin (A combination of 'stal':Russian for steel and 'Lenin') after escaping exile in Siberia.
Famous Person and Description
Albert Einstein: A theoretical physicist who helped alert the US President of the possibility of the Axis Powers creating atomic weapons. Supported US atomic weapon research.
Living in America when Hitler came to power in Germany, Einstein was of Jewish heritage and renounced his citizenship to Germany. He stayed in America, working at Princeton University.
Alexander Graham Bell: An inventor commonly credited for inventing the first practical telephone. Started several companies in America such as 'The Bell Telephone Company'.
Originally came to the US as a teacher for the deaf, while using the idea of 'electronic speech' he invented the telephone.
Estevanico: The first known African to arrive in America. Brought over to the Americas as a North African slave with his master: Andres Dorantes de Carranza. Became an explorer.
When brought to the Spanish settlement of Culiacan as a slave with no master (his master died along the trip)he was assigned an expedition to explore what is now Northern Mexico and South Western America.
Christopher Columbus: Explorer employed by the Spanish Monarchy. Completed four voyages to the New World that led to general awareness of the American continents to Europeans.
Born in the port city of Genoa in Italy, Columbus believed that sailing far enough west would take him to the far east. He brought his claims to the Portuguese and Spanish seeking patronage, but only Spain supported him.
Adolf Hitler: Head of Nazi Party and became Chancellor of Germany. Infamous for war crimes and crimes against humanity commited during World War II.
Born in Austria but moved to Munich, Germany after failing to become an artist in Vienna.
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