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26 July, 1803 started first Russian expedition around the world

On the 26th of July, 1803 ships "Neva" and "Hope" headed by Yuri Lisyansky and Ivan Krusenstern put to sea out of Kronstad. In November they crossed the equator, and celebrated Christmas already in Brazil. The main purpose of the circumnavigation was to deliver goods of the Russian-American Company to the Far East, as well as to sell fur products in China. In addition to this, they ought to bring to Japan the Russian ambassador Nikolai Rezanov, who was to establish trade between the countries. Along the way it was planned to carry out geographical studies and make maps. The expedition included scientists Tilesius and Langsdorf, astronomer Horner and MD Laband, Russian navy sailors, recruited on a voluntary basis.

In March of 1804 ships rounded Cape Horn, ran into a gale and were separated. They were able to meet on the Marquesas Islands, then together they reached the Hawaiian Islands, from which went separately. "Hope", led by Kruzenshtern, rushed in Petropavlovsk-Kamchatka, and later in Japan. The journey was difficult, the ship outrode several storms. The situation was aggravated by the fact that the team used Spanish maps, which have many errors. For example, on the way to China Krusenstern searched in vain for the island shown on the map.

In September, the ship landed in Nagasaki, but the Japanese have banned to enter the harbor, so the sailors dropped anchor in the bay. Japanese lodged Rezanov in a luxurious palace, but prohibited to go beyond its territory and see no one. For six months, the envoy waited for a response from the emperor. In March Rezanov got a refuse, the emperor wrote that there would be no Russian embassy and consequently no trade with Russia, and demanded that the ship left Japan.

The expedition continued. The ship passed the Sea of Japan through La Perouse Strait, fell into the Sea of Okhotsk, and returned to Petropavlovsk, and then moved to Sakhalin, skirted its northern extremity, came down to the mouth of the Amur River and headed to China.

Meanwhile, the "Neva" went from the Hawaiian Islands towards the north-west coast of America, from which it headed for China. West of Hawaii Lisyansky discovered the island, later named after him.
In China, Krusenstern and Lisyansky finished their trading business for the sale of furs and returned home through the Sunda Strait, passing the Indian Ocean and the Cape of Good Hope. The ships arrived in Kronstadt in August 1806.

The first voyage around the world marked the beginning of research activities; especially the rich material was collected in the field of oceanography. Travelers were able to produce numerous surveys of the Pacific Ocean.Later, a description of the expedition was published in three volumes and an atlas, which includes 104 maps.

Krusenstern's voyage around the world has enriched science and geography with numerous scientific discoveries and opened a new milestone in the history of the Russian fleet.

Emperor Alexander I paid tribute to Krusenstern and awarded him and all his subordinates.

This Day in History 26-07-2012