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24 July, 1728 started Kamchatka Expedition led by Vitus Bering

 Vitus BeringOn 24th of July, 1728 the ship "St. Archangel Gabriel", headed by an officer of the Russian fleet, a Dane by birth, Vitus Jonassen Bering, sailed in the expedition from the fortress located at the mouth of the Kamchatka River. The crew intended to find the west coast of North America.

It is noteworthy that the Emperor Peter I personally made the instructions for Vitus Bering, under which the expedition was to go to the north and to determine whether Asia is connected with America. It was assumed that the voyage will be the final step to achieve the American continent. Under the plan, travelers had to go ashore, carefully examine the newly discovered lands and map the new territory.

During the trip was made up a detailed map of navigation along the eastern coast of Chukotka and Kamchatka, St. Lawrence Island was discovered. Then, the ship passed the Strait, put to the Chukchi Sea, and then went in search of North America. Along the way travelers discovered the Eastern Cape. It was very difficult for the crew to sail because they did not see the surrounding coasts due to bad weather conditions. It was because of heavy fog, even none of the sailors saw Alaska. Nevertheless, the captain steered to the north-east. Nothing was found and Bering ordered to return back, but soon he discovered one of the islands of St. Diomede.

Vitus Bering was afraid that the crew would not be able to survive the winter in Chukotka. He did not know that the first ice formed in the area only in the late September. Prudence of Bering was determined by reasonable foresight, which is one of the most important qualities of a captain.

Mariners were faced with many difficulties, because none of them had swimming experience in polar waters. Maps used by sailors, had errors, so that the ship was high north of the Strait, and America was left far behind.

In September, the team returned home, having determined that Asia and America are not interconnected. Thus, on the map of our planet appeared Bering Strait. It is known that the strait between the two continents was passed back in 1648 by Siberian Cossack Semyon Dezhnev. However, the map and report of the expedition were lost in the Russian archives, and were discovered only in 1736.

Despite the fact that Bering failed to reach the final goal, in view of the results of Kamchatka expedition, he received a cash award and promotion. Map of the North-East Asia has become the basis for future expeditions.

This Day in History 24-07-2012