Hernán Cortés and the Conquest of Mexico – Part 2

The coat of arms awarded to Cortés
The coat of arms awarded to Cortés

In part 2 of series, Cortés forges an alliance with a discontented people, and establishes the first European settlement in New Spain – Vera Cruz. Also, he encounters the first emissaries of the Aztec Empire, who offer the Spanish a large bribe to leave their lands. Instead, Cortés becomes determined to travel to the heart of the Aztec Empire – Tenochtitlan – and meet their ruler – Montezuma.

Below, Cortés scuttles his fleet so his men are not tempted to return to Cuba (By AlejandroLinaresGarcia – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=7924717)

Below is a map of Cortés route into Mexico.

Hernán Cortés and the Conquest of Mexico

In part one of our series, Hernán Cortés organizes and leads an army to Mexico to seek out the rich lands to the west. He does all of this despite a confrontation with the governor of Cuba, Diego Velázquez.

In Mexico, the Spanish will find something they never imagined – the Aztec Empire.

Below is a map of Cortés’ route to Mexico in 1519.

The Lost Franklin Expedition – Part 2

Captain Francis Crozier
Captain Francis Crozier

The Franklin Expedition disappears in the Canadian Arctic while trying to find the Northwest Passage.

Part 2 in our series examines the tragic fate of Franklin, his men and their ships – and the 170+ years of searching for clues to the expedition’s ultimate end.

The map below offers a look at the key locations around King William Island mentioned in this podcast.

The image below displays the note left in the cairn at Victory Point. The original note was written by Lt. Graham Gore. The notes in the margins were then added the following year by Captain Fitzjames. It is the last communication from the expedition.


There are many books and sites devoted to the Franklin Expedition. I’ve included a few here.

Frozen in Time: The Fate of the Franklin Expedition – by Owen Beattie and John Geiger (1987) – While there have been quite a recent books about the Franklin Expedition, this was the best. Also, the book has been updated to reflect some more recent findings regarding the expedition.

The Terror – by Dan Simmons (2007) – This is a riveting fictionalized version of the Franklin Expedition, incorporating elements of fantasy and horror. Be warned, the book is pretty intense, so it is definitely not for children.



Images courtesy of Wikipedia.

The Lost Franklin Expedition – Part 1

Sir John Franklin

In 1845, Sir John Franklin lead two ships into the Arctic in search of the fabled Northwest Passage. The ships and crew were the finest England had to offer. However, after heading into Lancaster Sound – the entrance to the Passage – neither ship would be seen again.

In part 1 of 2 of the Lost Franklin Expedition, we find out about Franklin, his crew, and the preparations for his historic journey. We then take the expedition to the Arctic – and into a morass of islands, ice, snow and danger.

A painting by Admiral Sir George Back showing HMS Terror anchored near a cathedral-like iceberg in the waters around Baffin Island.

Map showing the general route that Franklin and his ships – Erebus and Terror – took on their journey into the Arctic.

Map courtesy of Smurftrooper – Own work, CC BY 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=78587961

Apollo 11 – The Moon Landing – Neil Armstrong, Michael Collins and Buzz Aldrin

In July of 1969, three astronauts on board Apollo 11 rocketed into space. The result would be one of the greatest achievements in exploration in history – the landing – and walking – on the moon.

This episode chronicles the events of the moon landing, focusing on the three astronauts – Neil Armstrong, Michael Collins and Buzz Aldrin.

Also, regarding this episode. The Explorers Podcast would like to give a huge thank you to Mr. Ross Arbour. Ross is a fan of the show, and a history buff. Ross, who is a news writer in Canada, offered to write the script for this episode – and we were thrilled with the result. So thanks to friend of the podcast Ross Arbour, who made this episode possible.


  • Apollo Expeditions to the Moon – NASA
  • A Man on the Moon: Voyages of the Apollo Astronauts – Andrew Chaikin
  • Magnificent Desolation – Buzz Aldrin
  • Carrying the Fire – Michael Collins
  • First Man: The Life of Neil A. Armstrong – James Hansen
  • NASA History Office NASA.gov 
  • Smithsonian Air & Space Museum smithsonian.org
  • Air & Space Magazine airspacemag.com
  • Apollo 11 – CCN Films & Neon Films
  • 13 Minutes to the Moon – BBC Radio

Image Gallery

All images courtesy of Wikipedia.

Francis Drake – Part 6 – The Spanish Armada and Final Years

The Spanish Armada

In our sixth – and final episode – we cover the years of 1581-1595 in the life of Francis Drake. It is an action-packed episode, with a focus on Drake’s raid of Spain (called ‘The singeing of the King of Spain’s beard’), the Spanish Armada, and two more expeditions to the New World.

Resources for this series

There were lots and lots of places I pulled information from for this series on Drake. Here’s a few of the key ones I used.

There are quite a few biographies of Drake, but John Sugden’s “Sir Francis Drake” was my favorite.

Another biography of Drake that I found useful was Julian Corbert’s “Sir Francis Drake“. The book is dated (published in 1911), but still interesting. It can be read for free online.

Wikipedia – Lots of info to be found, including links to all the appropriate side subjects (the Spanish Armada, Queen Elizabeth, King Phillip, etc.)

All images courtesy of Wikipedia.

Gallery of Images

Francis Drake – Part 5 – Across the Pacific and Home

Bronze statue of Drake in Tavistock. By Joseph Boehm, 1883.

In part 5 of our series on Francis Drake, the English explorer sets out from modern-day California towards Asia.

Drake will reach the fabled Spice Islands, and then head west – rounding the southern tip of Africa – and head home to England.

In doing so, he will become only the second person to circumnavigate the globe.