Chelyuskin Semyon

Semyon Ivanovich Chelyuskin was a Russian polar researcher and navigator who participated in the Lena-Yenisey group of the Second Kamchatka Expedition (also known as the Great Northern Expedition) in the 18 th century. He reached and mapped the northernmost point of the Eurasian continent (Cape Chelyuskin on Taymyr Peninsula).

The First (1725-1730) and Second Kamchatka (1733-1743) expeditions were sanctioned first by Peter I (Peter the Great) and then by Empress Anna as ambitious attempts to explore the Russian Arctic seas and open them up to navigation and trade. At the time, knowledge of the Russian Arctic was limited to rather small areas, for example, around northeastern Siberia between the Kolyma and Lena rivers.

In the summer of 1735, Chelyuskin sailed from Yakutsk down the Lena River toward the sea, on the double-hulled boat Yakutsk, under the command of Vasily Pronchischev. On reaching open sea the ship turned west and in August reached the mouth of the Olenek River, where the ship spent the winter. In the summer of 1736, the Yakutsk again sailed west along the coast to the mouth of the Anabar River before turning north and reaching 77°29' N. The Peter, Faddeya, and Samuel islands (today known as the Komsomol'skoy Pravdy islands) off the northeast coast of the Taymyr Peninsula were discovered. Because of pack ice the ship turned back without rounding the peninsula and the boat overwintered again at the mouth of the Olenek River, where Pronchischev died at the end of August 1736. Pronchishchev's wife Tatyana, who had accompanied the voyage and was the first woman polar explorer, died 14 days after her husband. From 1737 to 1742, the expedition was led by Khariton Laptev. The participants of the group included the boatswain Medvedev, land-surveyor Nikifor Chekin, and subnavigator Chelyuskin.

In the summer of 1739, Chelyuskin passed on the Yakutsk along the eastern coast of the Taymyr Peninsula north to Cape Faddey. Over winter, he returned with a vessel to the Khatanga River at the base of the peninsula. In the summer of 1740, he advanced up the peninsula only as far north as 75°21' N, where the vessel became trapped by ice and was abandoned by the crew. That winter the ship returned again with a crew to Khatanga. Because of adverse ice conditions Khariton

Laptev decided to investigate the Taymyr coast by land, splitting the expedition into three subgroups. On March 17, 1741, Chelyuskin left his winter hut with two sailors. He was directed to the upper reaches of the Pyasina River, from where he would descend the valley to the coast (western side of the Taymyr Peninsula) and then travel by dog sled toward Laptev's group. On June 1, Chelyuskin met Laptev's party, and it was agreed that Chelyuskin should complete the mapping of the northern coast of the Taymyr Peninsula. On December 4, 1741, he left Turukhansk on the Yenisey by dog sled for the lower reaches of the Khatanga River, where he overwintered, preparing the dog sleds, and replenishing his foodstuffs. On April 3, 1742, Chelyuskin set off once more by sled to the north. By May 1, he reached Cape Faddey and began mapping the coast to the north, toward the cape now bearing his name, Cape Chelyuskin, at the northernmost tip of the Taymyr Peninsula. On May 7, 1742, with three soldiers he was approximately 10-20 km from it, and made astronomical measurements defining the latitude as 77°43' N. The next day they reached (May 8) Cape Chelyuskin, which he named "East Northern cape." Here astronomical positioning was not carried out, but Semyon Chelyuskin gave a brief textual description in his journal of the northernmost point of Asia.

Chelyuskin was then directed southwest to the estuary of the Lower Taymyr River. From May 15, he mapped the last unexplored miles of the northwestern coast of the peninsula down to the mouth of the Pyasina at its base. He also repeated the survey carried out in 1740 by Dmitriy Sterlegov on the western coast of the Taymyr Peninsula up to Cape Sterlegov (75°25' N). At the Pyasina estuary, he met with Khariton Laptev and was directed to return to St Petersburg through Yeniseysk. Chelyuskin had passed overland from Khatanga to the Pyasina estuary in spring 1741, and also from Turukhansk to the mouth of the Khatanga in the winter of 1741-1742. He also described all the east coast of the Taymyr Peninsula up to Cape Chelyuskin, and mapped the coast to the southwest and finished the mapping of the coast at 76°42' N at the Lower Taymyr estuary, which Khariton Laptev had reached from the west in 1741.

Chelyuskin's mapping and exploration feat was not immediately appreciated. But Alexander Theodor von Middendorf and A.A. Sokolov have noted the high accuracy of his measurements. In the description of his North East Passage navigation aboard Maud in the winter of 1918-1919, Roald Amundsen also confirmed the reliability and conscientiousness of Chelyuskin's journals.

An icebreaker named Chelyuskin attempted the Northern Sea Route from Murmansk to the Pacific Ocean in 1934, but was crushed by ice in the Chukchi

Sea, forcing aerial rescue of the expedition. An island in the Gulf of Alaska and a cape of Attu island in the Aleutians are also named in honor of Chelyuskin.

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