Maritime Explorations and Encounters

Elizabethan gardens, Plymouth

This module examines the major concepts and themes of maritime exploration and encounters from the 15th to the 21st centuries. Using Plymouth as a starting point, this module challenges students to rethink their ideas about seaborne exploration and the role of the state and navies. The module uses case studies such as Sir Francis Drake, Captain James Cook and Charles Darwin to delve into the nature of British maritime exploration and the drivers behind it.

Indicative topics

  • Week 1: Exploration and Encounters – thinking about the role of the Sea
  • Week 2: Ideas and Theories about exploration and encounters
  • Week 3: Exploring and Encountering New Worlds - Americas
  • Week 4: Exploring and Encountering New Worlds – Asia
  • Week 5: Reading Week
  • Week 6: Setting Sail from Plymouth – Drake, Gilbert, Roanoke, Mayflower
  • Week 7: Royal Navy and Exploration in the late 17th and early 18th centuries
  • Week 8: Private enterprise and exploration – Woodes Rogers
  • Week 9: Captain Cook’s voyages
  • Week 10: Science and the Sea: Darwin
  • Week 11: The Quest for the North West Passage – Franklin Expedition
  • Week 12: North and South: the Navy and Polar Exploration
  • Week 13: Modern Maritime Exploration - treasure hunters; submarines and claiming the Antarctic