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30th June, 1824 the brig "New Earth" sailed off to the shores of Novaya Zemlya

On the 30th of June, 1824 started journey to the shores of the New Earth under the direction of Fyodor Litke. In the period 1821-1824 Litke made four scientific expeditions to the New Earth, during which he mapped and described the coast of the archipelago, studied the fairway of the White Sea.

Fyodor Litke - Russian explorer, geographer and hydrographer, Arctic explorer, Admiral of the Russian Fleet. 

Fedor grew up as an orphan. His mother died during his childbirth. Father died when the boy was 10 years old. Until the age of 15 Fedor lived in the family of his uncle. He was thrown upon his own resources and did not get a proper education. However, over the years he read a lot of books.

In 1810 the sister of Litke married Captain Ivan Sulmeneva. This circumstance determined the fate of Fedor. During the War of 1812 he volunteered in the Navy. In 1813 he participated in the battles against the French, where he showed poise, resourcefulness and courage. For Military Merit Litke was promoted to warrant officer and was awarded the George Cross.

In 1817 20-year-old boy was invited to sail around the world on the sloop "Kamchatka" under the leadership of famous at that Vasily Golovin. Route can be traced on a geographic map: sloop rounded Cape Horn, crossed the Pacific, reached Kamchatka, visited Hawaii, Mariana and the Moluccas, passed the Indian Ocean, rounded the Cape of Good Hope, went to the island of St. Helena, where Napoleon was serving the sentence, returned to Kronstadt.

After a two-year voyage Litke returned back as a mature lieutenant who could make decisions in difficult moments. On the recommendation of Golovnin Litke was appointed as a leader of the expedition to Novaya Zemlya. It is known that in the early XIX century this archipelago was studied sufficiently. In fact, since the time of Barents, who came here in 1594 and gathered extensive cartographic material to travel of Rozmyslova in 1768 nothing was done. Thus, without major research it was impossible to make a reliable map of Novaya Zemlya.

Litke made four expeditions, during which drew a map of the coast of Novaya Zemlya, described many places on the coast of the White Sea, explored dangerous shoals and fairway depth of the sea. In 1828 Litke published a book, in which he described all four expeditions 1821-1824. This work brought Litke recognition and fame in the scientific world. Maps of Litke were used by polar sailors for more than 100 years. Work of Moses, Pakhtusova and Tsivolki only supplemented them in detail.

Litke’s research has showed how few people knew about White Sea. At the request of Litke was assembled a team led by Reynard to explore the White Sea.

Fyodor Litke presented geography Bonin Islands Shima, Mariana and Caroline Archipelago, the Bering Sea, Kamchatka and Novaya Zemlya. Litke held numerous hydrographic and geographic research, the exact magnetic, gravimetric and astronomical measurements and observations, cartographic works, which brought him fame.

This Day in History 30-06-2014