American writer and adventurer Joshua Slocum was the first man to circumnavigate the world alone. He did it in this ship, the Spray.
Photograph courtesy Wikimedia

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  • On June 27, 1898, Canadian-American writer and seaman Joshua Slocum became the first person to successfully sail around the world alone. Slocum and his boat, the Spray, started in Boston, Massachusetts, and ended more than three years later in Newport, Rhode Island. Slocum had traveled 74,030 kilometers (46,000 miles). Slocum and the Spray started another solo journey in 1909 to South America, but disappeared during that trip and were never heard from again.


    Slocum’s book, Sailing Alone Around the World, reads like an adventure tale and geography of the sea. Slocum talks about natural hazards, such as fog and storms; threats posed by human activity, such as encounters with pirates; the technology of the Spray; and the dangers of loneliness and isolation. Sailing Alone Around the World was published in 1900 and is still in print today.

  • Term Part of Speech Definition Encyclopedic Entry
    fog Noun

    clouds at ground level.

    Encyclopedic Entry: fog
    geography Noun

    study of places and the relationships between people and their environments.

    Encyclopedic Entry: geography
    natural hazard Noun

    event in the physical environment that is destructive to human activity.

    pirate Noun

    thief who steals from ships or ships' crews while at sea.

    solo adjective, noun

    single or alone.

    technology Noun

    the science of using tools and complex machines to make human life easier or more profitable.