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Giovanni Da Verrazano
In 1524, France entered the exploration race. They hired an Italian explorer by the name of Giovanni Da Verrazano (also spelled Verrazzano) to attempt to find a northern route to the Orient around the Americas.
De Verrazano explored the east coast of North America and is credited with being the first European to enter New York Harbor since the Norse people. Unfortunately he was unable to find a way through to the Orient.