The brave discoverers of the ancient world were the Phoenicians, who lived at the other end of the Mediterranean. They were out for money, for profit, for trade, not for conquest, though once they had found a good thing they would set themselves up there and fight to keep it. They sailed on private little voyages all over the sea, looking for things to buy and sell, looking for markets.
One of them, Hanno, sailed all down the coast, the very dark and mysterious coast, of Africa. Other Phoenicians sailed as far as what is now Gibraltar and the Pillars of Hercules and had a look. Those sailors were brave enough, or greedy enough, to introduce themselves to the natives and offer to trade a few things with them, things that they knew they could get good money for back home in Tyre and Sidon.