Happy holiday, friends! Today is exactly 200 years since Thaddeus Belinshausen and Mikhail Lazarev proved that Antarctica exists! In honor of this remarkable date, we reprint a fragment of the material of Sergey Borisov, which was published in Nos. 125 and 126 of our journal. This material deals with the exciting journey of two sloops – Mirny and Vostok.
On July 4, 1819, Kronstadt carried out long voyages of the sloops of the Russian imperial fleet “Vostok” and “Mirny”.
Why were two ships sent? It was assumed that in the event of a joint voyage in the event of an accident with one of the ships, the other would provide the necessary assistance, hence the conclusion: ship commanders will feel more confident and decide on bolder enterprises. All this is so, if not for the significant “but”: the ships were different! The Vostok was faster and it listened well to the helm, but it did not hold well on the wave. "Peaceful" was much slower, poorly obedient to the helm, but well kept on the wave. On this occasion, Mikhail Petrovich Lazarev lamented in one of the letters: “But for what purpose ships were sent that should always stay together, and among other things such inequality in the course that one should incessantly bear all the foxes and then strain the mast while his companion carries sails very small and waiting? I leave this riddle to guess myself, but I don’t know. ” Nevertheless, the ships were never parted, with the exception of their path to Australia, when this was done consciously. The art of Bellingshausen and Lazarev is admirable, and only one who sailed on sailing ships, only one who sailed among the polar ice can truly appreciate this.
In the cabin of Faddey Faddeevich Bellingshausen, in a special drawer of the bureau, the order was kept by the head of the expedition from the Naval Ministry. In it, among many others, there were such lines: “If under the first meridians, under which he set off to the south, his efforts remain fruitless, he must renew his assassination attempts under others, and without losing sight of the main important goal, for with which he will be sent, repeating these assassination attempts hourly, both for discovering the land and for approaching the South Pole. ”
Having visited Copenhagen, at the end of July, the ships stopped at Portsmouth, from where the sailors traveled to London and acquired astronomical and navigational instruments.
In late summer, ships left the coast of England. Having made a stop on the island of Tenerife, the sailors sailed across the Atlantic to Brazil. In early November, they safely reached Rio de Janeiro, where they met the ships of the northern expedition – the Otkrytie sloops (under the command of Captain Lieutenant Mikhail Nikolayevich Vasiliev) and the Well-intentioned (commander – Captain Lieutenant Gleb Semenovich Shishmarev).
On November 22, four Russian ships went to sea and said goodbye: “Discovery” and “Well-intentioned” went to the Cape of Good Hope to continue to the northern part of the Pacific Ocean, “East” and “Peaceful” – to the Antarctic waters,
At the island of South Georgia, briefly examined by Cook, they were December 15, 1819. Russian sailors made an inventory of local coasts, and on the map appeared Cape Poryadin, Demidov, Kupriyanov, Novosilsky Bay, Annenkova Island (the names were given in honor of the officers participating in the expedition).
Then the islands of Leskov, Torson were discovered (after Konstantin Petrovich Torson, a former lieutenant from the "East", as the Decembrist was sent to penal servitude, the island was renamed Vysoky) and Zavadovsky. All of these islands belong to a group called Traverse.
Next, the expedition went to Sandwich Land. This land turned out to be a group of small islands that Cook took for capes. One of these islands was named after Cook, and the entire group was named the South Sandwich Islands. In this preservation of the old names, the usual respect for their predecessors affected the Russians.
On December 20, ice appeared. At the sight of a huge iceberg (Bellingshausen called them "ice islands"), Russian sailors "came in the greatest surprise."
The ice closed, but both commanders stubbornly led their ships through winding passages. One of these days, Mirny hit a huge ice floe. Mikhail Petrovich Lazarev wrote: “The blow occurred at two in the morning and was so strong that many were thrown out of the beds. They saw the ice floe in the fog so close that it was not possible to avoid it … Fortunately, they hit us with a rod; if this happened to the left or to the right, it would have surely broken, and then, of course, none of us would have told where we were. ”
On January 16 (28), 1820, they reached latitude 69 ° 23 ′. And they saw … According to Bellingshausen, in front of them was an "ice field dotted with bumps." Lieutenant Lazarev expressed himself more definitely: "… we met ice-covered ice of extraordinary height, and then, on a beautiful evening, looking from the salengu, it stretched as far as the eyesight could reach; but we did not enjoy this amazing sight for a short while, as soon we again got drunk and went along as usual, it was snow. It was longitude 2 ° 35'W from Greenwich. From here we continued on our way to the wreck, attempting to attack the south, whenever possible, but we always met the icy continent short of 70 °. "
This day is now considered the day of the discovery of Antarctica. Although the Russian navigators did not see the land itself at that time: they were 20 miles from the coast and only an ice shelf appeared before their eyes.
On January 21 (February 2), the participants again saw the coast, and on February 5 and 6 (17 and 18), the “East” and “Mirny” came almost close to the coastal cliffs of the ice continent.
Antarctic winter was approaching. March 4, 1820 the ships headed for repair, recreation and restocking in Port Jackson (Sydney). Then there was a voyage among the tropical islands with the discovery of many previously unknown and nameless, and return to Australia.
On November 17, the sloops that returned to the southern latitudes approached Makvari Island, from where they headed south, and on November 28 were again among the icebergs. The sloops stubbornly went east, rushing south at every opportunity and turning north only when approaching impassable ice fields.
Mikhail Petrovich Lazarev noted in a letter to a friend: “Think about our situation, in which we have been many times: while running between the ice islands in clear weather and hoping for the continuation thereof, we sometimes climbed into such a thicket that they were in the form at one time before a thousand and a half, and suddenly a clear day turned into the darkest, the wind grew stronger and snowed – our horizon was then limited to no more than 20 fathoms, and in what position did we stay then? One happiness, one might say, saved us, and even before that, it accompanied us that we hadn’t parted all the time. ”
January 10, 1821 was marked by two events: on this day, the sloops reached the extreme southern point of their navigation – 69 ° 21 'S. W, 92 ° 38 'W. d. And then, at the point with coordinates 68 ° 57 's. w. and 90 ° 46 'h. e., discovered an island named after Peter I, nine and a half miles long, four and a half miles wide. It is a pity, because of the ice surrounding the island, it was not possible to approach it.
January 28, 1821 – exactly one year after the meeting with the “ice field dotted with mounds”, Russian sailors clearly saw and even sketched the mountainous coast in sunny weather. Bellingshausen wrote in the logbook: “I call finding this shore, because the remoteness of the other end to the south disappeared beyond our view.” The open land was marked on the map as the Land of Alexander I. And then, with the same pen, it is noted in the magazine: “Monuments erected to great people will be blown away from the face of the earth by all the devastating times, but the island of Peter I and the shore of Alexander I, monuments modern to the world, will remain forever are inviolable from destruction and will pass on high names to later offspring. ”
(For a long time, the Land of Alexander I was considered part of the mainland, and only in 1940 it became clear that it was an island: a strait separating it from the continent was discovered under the many-meter thick ice shelf.)
Then the sloops headed for Nova Scotia, which Bellingshausen already knew about the accidental opening of which in 1819 by the captain of the English brig William Smith. Smith believed that Nova Scotia was a protrusion of the southern mainland, but the Russian sailors were convinced that it was an archipelago. And again on the map appeared Russian names reminiscent of glorious victories over Napoleon.
On January 30, due to the unsuitability of the Vostok sloop for further sailing in high latitudes, Bellingshausen ordered to return to his homeland.
On July 24 (August 5), 1821, the ships returned to Kronstadt, having lost only three people for the entire voyage: one due to illness, two due to an accident, and for those years such modest losses were almost unbelievable. During the round-the-world voyage, which lasted 751 days, the sloops were sailing for 527 days, and at anchor – 224 days. Over 50 thousand miles have been covered, 29 new islands have been discovered, a huge amount of various studies has been completed.
For the solemn meeting of the expedition, Emperor Alexander I arrived in Kronstadt. Participants in the voyage were awarded orders, promotions and other incentives.
For a successful voyage, Mikhail Petrovich Lazarev, bypassing the rank of captain-lieutenant, was promoted to captain of the 2nd rank. From 1837 and until almost his death in 1851, he commanded the Black Sea Fleet, raising a brilliant galaxy of famous admirals – G.I. Butakova, V.I. Istomina, V.A. Kornilova, P.S. Nakhimov.
Thaddeus Faddeevich Bellingshausen, upon returning to Russia, was promoted to captain of the 1st rank, and two months later to become captain-commander. He died in 1852, for the last thirteen years he was the chief commander of the port of Kronstadt and the military governor of Kronstadt. And every year he went to sea, commanding the Baltic Fleet.
It would be strange if the fact of the discovery of Antarctica by Russian sailors was not disputed. In this case, as a rule, they say that he saw – does not mean found. And who was the first to see?
On January 30, 1820, on the other side of the mainland, an English sailing ship under the command of Edward Bransfield approached the Antarctic Peninsula and discovered the Trinity Peninsula (Trinity). So, let it be for days, and yet later, Russian sailors. But while Bransfield owns the first geographical name in Antarctica, there is no objection. At least from our side, although the Americans say that the laurels of the discoverer must be given to the captain of the American St. John’s wort Nathaniel Palmer, who visited those parts in November 1820.
Or maybe the day when the state flag is hoisted over unknown land should be considered a true discovery? Well, the Frenchman Jules Dumont-Durville was the first to guess it in 1838, however, later it turned out that he did it on the island, and not on the coast of the continent.
Or should the right of primacy be given to the state whose citizen first stepped on the land of Antarctica? Perhaps it was an American St. John's wort John Davis, and it happened in 1821 in West Antarctica, but this fact is not documented in any way. The first confirmed landing on the ice continent took place 74 years later – on January 24, 1895. This honor fell to the Norwegian scientist and researcher Egeberg Borchgrevink, who persuaded the captain of the Antarctic fishing vessel to stop and lower the boat. Borchgrevink also collected a collection of stones … However, this is bad luck: in this case, Norway is forced to stand aside, because in those years it was part of Sweden. Then what happens, Sweden discovered Antarctica? Well, this is just stupid, all the other applicants are categorically against it.
Whoever says anything … Let them speak! This is our anniversary, because 200 years ago Russian sailors discovered Antarctica. And away the doubts!
20 Today # 9850