1902 Encyclopedia > Geography > Exploration of the Pacific in early 19th Century

(Part 43)

Exploration of the Pacific in early 19th Century

The Russians, as well as the French, sent several voyages into the Pacific during the first half of the 19th century. In 1804 Admiral Krusenstern made a voyage round the world, and his pupil, Otto von Kotzebue son of the dramatist, commanded the "Rurick" from 1815 to 1818 on a voyage of discovery. He discovered the great bay known as Kotzebue Sound, sounded in Behring Strait, and made careful observations of the currents. Wintering in California he returned to the Aleutian Islands in the following spring; and during the voyage homewards he discovered several new islands in the Pacific, especially Romanzoff and Krusenstern in the Dangerous Archipelago.

During another Russian voyage, commanded by Billinghausen, Lazareff and other coral islands in the Dangerous Archipelago were discovered, and in 1828 Captain Lutke, in the "Seniavine," surveyed the Caroline group.

Captain Freycinet, the officer who served with Baudin and edited his work, also examined the Caroline Islands in the "Uranie" in 1819, but his voyage was mainly in the interests of natural history. Duperry in 1822-23 did some surveying work on the coast of New Ireland.

But the most important French voyage was that of Dumont D’Urville, who was sent out to seek for traces of La Perouse in 1828. He visited Tecopia and other islands in the "Astrolabe," and was nearly a month at Vanikoro collecting relics of the ill-fated expedition. The voyage of D’Urville contributed largely to the advancement of science, and resulted in the publication of a magnificent work in 1830.

The only English scientific voyage to the Pacific in this period was sent out mainly to cooperate with Parry in his third voyage, and Franklin in his second journey. It was commanded by Captain Beechey, who had been first lieutenant with Parry during his first Arctic voyage, and on May 19, 1825, he sailed from Spithead in H.M.S. "Blossom." After visiting Easter, Gambier, Pitcairn, and other islands, the "Blossom" arrived at Honolulu on May 20, 1826, and in July she was in Behring Strait, entering Kotzebue Sound on the 22nd. Proceeding along the north coast of America, the ship's barge got as far as 156º 21´ W. to a low cape called Point Barrow, at the very time when Franklin and Back were at Return Reef. The accurate examination of the coast was made under circumstances which demanded great fortitude and perseverance, and reflects credit on the officers and crew.

The "Blossom" returned to Honolulu in January 1827, and arrived at Macao on the 12th of April. Captain Beechey next proceeded to survey the Loo Choo and Bonin Islands, and, after another visit to the far north, and the coasts of California and Mexico, he returned home by Cape Horn and arrived at Woolwich on October 12, 1828. His valuable and interesting narrative, in two volumes, was published in 1831.

Mr. James Weddell, a master in the navy, made a voyage to the Antarctic Ocean in 1822-24, and went as far south as 74º.

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