Biography

The exact date of birth of Semyon (also known as Semen or Semyen) Ivanovich Dezhnev is not known. However, in many Soviet and Russian researchers' opinion, he was born around 1605. There is also no consensus concerning his place of birth. It was considered for a long time that Dezhnev's native land, as well as many other famous explorers (Vasili Poyarkov, Yerofei Khabarov, Vladimir Atlasov), was Velikii Ustyug (Great Ustyug) on the White Sea coast. However, no record of Dezhnev's name has been found in the town's register books. According to Belov (1973), Semyon Dezhnev's native land was Pinega, the district situated to the north of Ustyug the Great. Nikitin (2001) also found traces of Dezhnev's ancestors in Pinega, and asserts that Yakov Eremeev, nicknamed Dezhnya, a peasant of the Verkolsky volost of the Dvinsky uezd, was the founder of the family. Dezhnev's surname is, however, rather widespread in the Russian north, and all we can conclude is that he was born somewhere in the Russian North, probably in the family of a peasant or Pomor.

Dezhnev was married twice, first to Abakayada Cichya and later to Kantemina (Pelageya) Arkhipova, and had one son by each wife. His son Lyubim Dezhnev followed his father's footsteps, becoming a Cossack. He died in 1689 during a tour to the Uda River. The second son Afanasiy Dezhnev was also a Cossack. Semyon Dezhnev died in early 1673. It is not known in which cemetery he was buried.

Elvira Myarikyanova

Further Reading

Belov, M.I., Arkticheskoe moreplavanie s drevneishikh vremen do serediny XIX veka. Istoriia otkrytiia i osvoeniia Severnogo morskogo puti, Volume I [Arctic navigation from the earliest times to the middle of the 19th century. Volume 1 of History of the discovery and exploitation of the Northern Sea Route], Moscow: Izdatel'stvo "Morskoi Transport", 1956

-, Semen Dezhnev, 1648-1948: K trekhsotletiyu otkrytiya proliva mezhdu Aziyey I Amerikoy, Moscow, 1948; as Podvig Semena Dezhneva, Moscow, 1973 Demin, L.M., Semyon Dezhnev, Moscow, 1990 Fisher, R.H., The Voyage of Semen Dezhnev in 1648: Bering's

Precursor, London: Hakluyt Society, 1981 Nikitin, N.I., "Semyon Dezhnev." Voprosy istorii [Problems of history], 4 (2001): C.135-144

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