Journeys over Land and Sea
In every age, pioneers pushed beyond their own boundaries to chart new lands and observe exotic plants, animals, and peoples. Their tales of discovery, along with new and better navigational tools, compelled others to pursue the unknown farther from home.
Although nations undertook the great voyages of exploration primarily to expand their territories, scientific and artistic discoveries abounded. Voyagers returned with specimens from the natural world, which scholars cataloged and organized. By the early 1600s, learned societies and mercantile groups launched expeditions solely for scientific and commercial purposes. The specimens they collected and recorded are now housed in natural history museums around the world.
Scientists and artists were essential partners in these expeditions. They collaborated with writers and printers to record and depict the expanding world, producing lavishly illustrated volumes of great beauty. Their work forms an important body of literature of unparalleled value to historians, ecologists, scientists, and many others.