Christopher Colombus may have been given credit for discovering America but Giovanni de Verrazano gets the distinction of discovering the smallest state in the Union: Rhode Island.
Believed to be born south of Florence, Italy in 1485, Verrazano was the first European since the Norse expeditions to explore the North Atlantic coast of America. He is credited with increasing European understanding of the Americas while also muddying that picture by reporting inaccuracies back to Europe, once famously believing that a lagoon in North Carolina was the beginning of the Pacific Ocean.
Besides being a prolific (if sometimes inaccurate) explorer, Verrazano was also a victim of cannabilsm, falling prey to one of the native people whose land he discovered. We can only assume that the explorer was delicious.