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 Semyon Chelyuskin

Born:   1704-1707
Deceased:   November 1764

He explored the Northern parts of Russia,discovered the northernmost point of the Eurasian continent - Cape Chelyuskin


The date of birth of Semyon Chelyuskin is unknown (approximately 1704 or 1707), his family lived in a small village on river Oka. In 1714 he and his family arrived to Moscow and entered the School of Mathematics and Navigation. One of his teachers was Leonty Magnitsky, the famous mathmatician, and the author of the first Russian mathematics schoolbook. Chelyuskin was talented in mathematic student. In 1721 Chelyuskin graduated from school and became a navigator assistant in the Baltic fleet.

At that time Russian Imperia paid much attention on the exploration of the Northern parts of Russia. In 1732, Russian government decided to send the second Kamchatka expedition. The first expedition, led by Vitus Bering, took place in 1725-1727 and discovered and explored the Kamchatka peninsula and Bering Strait. The second expedition had to explore the shores of Alaska, to explore the Kuril islands and to map the north-eastern Russia between river Pechora and Chukotka (an enormous part). Semyon Chelyuskin joined the expedition as a navigator.

He was eager to make an excellent investigation and made a report on the results of the expedition to the Admiralty in 1738. He found out the good and the bad sides of the earlier expeditions and prepared a plan to continue the exploration of the Arctic Ocean. The main dangers for the explorers were cold weather, storms and floating ice.


In 1739 his ship Yakutsk sailed to the Taimyr peninsula. In August 1740, the floating ice crushed the ship, but the people survived and continued the scientific research afoot. In December 1741 the groups departed on dogs from Turukhansk to reach the unknown northernmost point of Taimyr. The cold winter came - the temperature fell to –50°, but the group moved fast to the North-East making 30-40 kilometers every day. Chelyuskin carefully mapped the way and kept the diary. On 6 May the team killed a white bear to get new meat supplies. The weather got worse and the expedition had to stop until the blizzard finished. Some days later they reached a cape, which Chelyuskin named Eastern Northern Cape, later it was called Cape Chelyuskin.

Only in 1919 when the expedition of Roald Amundsen came to this cape they established this cape as the northernmost point of the Eurasian continent.

In July, Chelyuskin came to the Laptev sea bank where the second Kamchatka expedition ended. The materials collected by Chelyuskin made a huge gift into Northern lands explore. Later lieutenant Khariton Laptev (after whom the Laptev sea is named), another participant of the expedition, published the description of the lands between rivers Lena and Yenisey. This work included many materials collected by Chelyuskin: maps, descriptions of rivers, islands, shores, soils.

Chelyuskin and Laptev also mentioned the mammoth bones found there. Chelyuskin also write about the tribes that inhabitants of the Russian north, about their life and traditions.

Chelyuskin was not an ambitious person. After all his excellent investigations he retired and led the life of a villager on river Oka, not far from Tula. He died in November 1764.



Tags: Russian travellers Russian explorers Semyon Chelyuskin   

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