Explorers and travellers have always been attracted by the lure of the unknown. By traversing and mapping our planet, they have played a vital role in mankind's development. For almost two hundred years, the Royal Geographical Society has recognised their achievements by awarding its prestigious gold medals to those who have contributed most to our knowledge of the world. Taking us on a journey across mountains and deserts, oceans and seas, this book tells the stories of more than eighty of these extraordinary men and women. Some, such as David Livingstone, Scott of the Antarctic and Jacques-Yves Cousteau, are well known; whilst others, such as William Chandless and Ney Elias, are today less familiar. Some dreamed of being the first to sight a lake or a river; others sighted some of the world's greatest natural features by chance.