Under Vitus Bering's Command (Paperback)
New Perspectives on the Russian Kamchatka Expeditions
From 1725 until his death in 1741, Bering commanded two of the most ambitious journeys of exploration in the 18th century. Each required years of overland travel across Asia to reach desolate Kamchatka and the Pacific coast of Siberia, where the crews had to build their own ships. Only then could the search for the mythical Northeast Passage and the north-western coastline of America begin. During the late 1990s/early 21st century, the discovery of forgotten documents in Russian archives has revitalised the study of these classic expeditions, and the contributors to this volume are all part of the new scholarship. Here they examine such topics as expedition historiography, the participants' daily life, the beginnings of scientific ethnography and the connection between the expeditions' scientific objectives and their political ends. These political goals included the colonisation of northern Pacific islands and the North American coast, and manifested themselves in two sets of instructions -- one genuine, one false.