The list of explorers in this fact-crammed volume stretches from Columbus and his rumored predecessors to the trailblazers of the early 20th century. Advancing and retreating, exploring and looting, the explorers' search for valuables was often a vain one. After the adventurers came the Jesuits -- ""the real glory of Spain. . . the first naturalists, the first anthropologists, the first geographers and the first cartographers of the interior."" They were followed by settlers, scientists, mountain climbers, and jungle buffs. Goodman, who shows little interest in economics, ranks the lure of the fantastic and ""the tales of wonder"" as equal incentives with ""the promise of gain."" And whether they're finding pearls or slaves, the protagonists are always regarded in the wide-eyed manner of junior high school accounts of ""stout Cortez"" and the others. Eight pages of photos and three maps round out this plentiful inventory for the adventure-minded.