Age of Exploration Printable Timeline Squares

We’ve made this Age of Exploration Printable Timeline to go with your study of the Explorers from Henry the Navigator to Henry Hudson.

A Bit Of History

The Age of Exploration was probably the most pivotal era in the world ever.  Europe discovered, colonized, traded with, and conquered essentially the whole world.  For the first time ever the world was a connected place.  Wealth flowed into Europe making possible the Renaissance, the Age of Reason, and new scientific knowledge.  New lightly inhabited lands opened up as places where people seeking freedom, economically, religiously, and politically, could flee to from the old heavy handed monarchies of the old world.  The freedom further accelerated the growth of wealth, ideas, technology, and liberty across the world.  Whether you think it was good or bad, you have to admit the Age of Exploration fundamentally changed the world.

Although exploration began a hundred years before Columbus, it was his discovery of the Americas that turned exploration and colonization into a frenzy across Europe. This picture of Columbus arriving in the New World was done by the Prang Educational Company in 1893. Public domain.

How To Use The Timeline

Just cut apart the figures from the Age of Exploration Printable Timeline Squares along the lines and glue them in order to a long piece of paper.  I like using freezer paper from the grocery store along one wall in my schoolroom.  We add dates and images to our timeline all year so we can see how historical events and people overlap.  You can also place the timeline squares into a notebook.


As we place the figures on the timeline we talk briefly about each one.  With this timeline we’ll do a historical map at the same time.  We’ll add each explorer’s basic route as we discuss him.

Hope you enjoy the Age of Exploration printable timeline!

More From Layers of Learning

You can find lots more ideas for teaching about the exciting Age of Exploration in Layers of Learning Unit 3-1.

Layers of Learning Unit 3-1



  1. I love this year-long activity. I am having my students create “baseball cards” for explorers and this would be a great place to place them so the wall will be filled with student-made work ALL YEAR!!
    Thanks for this idea.

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