Bering, Vitus

▪ Danish explorer
born 1681, Horsens, Den.
died Dec. 19, 1741, Bering Island, near the Kamchatka Peninsula

      navigator whose exploration of the Bering Strait and Alaska prepared the way for a Russian foothold on the North American continent.

      After a voyage to the East Indies, Bering joined the fleet of Tsar Peter I the Great as a sublieutenant. In 1724 the tsar appointed him leader of an expedition to determine whether Asia and North America were connected by land, because Russia was interested both in colonial expansion in North America and in finding a northeast passage—i.e., a sea route to China around Siberia. (In 1648 a Russian, Semyon Dezhnyov, had sailed through the Bering Strait, but his report went unnoticed until 1736.) On July 13, 1728, Bering set sail from the Siberian peninsula of Kamchatka and in August passed through the Bering Strait into the Arctic Ocean. Bad weather prevented thorough observation, and, though he did not sight the North American coast, he concluded that Siberia and America were not joined.

      During the reign of Empress Anna, Bering sought to undertake a second expedition. His simple plan, however, was expanded into Russia's Great Northern Expedition (1733–43), which mapped much of the Arctic coast of Siberia. On June 4, 1741, Bering sailed from Kamchatka in the St. Peter, joined by Aleksey Chirikov commanding the St. Paul. A storm later separated the ships, and Chirikov went on to discover several Aleutian Islands independently. Bering sailed into the Gulf of Alaska on August 20. Anxious to get his ship back to safety, he was able to reconnoitre only the southwestern coast, the Alaska Peninsula, and the Aleutian Islands. Suffering from scurvy, he was unable to maintain effective command, and the ship was wrecked early in November on the shore of Bering Island, near Kamchatka. After his death there, a few survivors were able to reach Siberia and brought news of excellent fur-trading possibilities in the Aleutians and Alaska.

Additional Reading
F.A. Golder, Bering's Voyages: An Account of the Efforts of the Russians to Determine the Relation of Asia and America, 2 vol. (1922–25, reissued 1968); Robert Murphy, The Haunted Journey (1961); Raymond H. Fisher, Bering's Voyages: Whither and Why (1977); Gerhard Friedrich Müller, Bering's Voyages: The Reports from Russia, trans. by Carol Urness (1986; originally published in German, 1758).

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Bering, Vitus — (1681 1741)    Born at Horsens, Denmark. Joined the Russian navy in 1704; and in 1725 sent by Peter the Great to explore the waters east of Kamchatka, and examine the American coast. After a three years journey overland, reached the eastern coast …   The makers of Canada

  • Bering,Vitus — Ber·ing (bîrʹĭng, bârʹ , bărʹ bāʹrĭng), Vitus. 1681 1741. Danish navigator and explorer who in 1728 sailed through the Bering Strait, proving (though he did not realize it at the time) that Asia and North America are separate continents. * * * …   Universalium

  • Bering, Vitus (Jonassen) — born 1681, Horsens, Den. died Dec. 19, 1741, Bering Island, near the Kamchatka Peninsula Danish born Russian navigator. He joined the fleet of the Russian tsar Peter I and in 1724 was appointed leader of an expedition to determine whether Asia… …   Universalium

  • Bering, Vitus (Jonassen) — (1681, Horsens, Dinamarca–19 dic. 1741, isla Bering, cerca de la península de Kamchatka). Navegante ruso nacido en Dinamarca. Se unió a la flota del zar ruso Pedro I (el Grande) y en 1724 fue nombrado jefe de una expedición para determinar si… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Bering, Vitus Johansen — ► (1681 1741) Navegante danés. Comprobó la existencia del estrecho que lleva su nombre …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Vitus Jonassen Bering — Vitus Bering Vitus Jonassen Bering (Behring, russisch auch: Витус Ионассен Беринг oder Иван Иванович Беринг, dt. Iwan Iwanowitsch Bering) (* August 1681 bei Horsens in Jütland; † 19. Dezember 1741 auf der Insel Awatscha, der Beringinsel) war ein… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Vitus Bering — Vitus Jonassen Bering Retrato de mediados del XVIII[1] …   Wikipedia Español

  • Vitus Bering — Vitus Jonassen Bering (Behring, russisch auch: Витус Ионассен Беринг oder Иван Иванович Беринг, dt. Iwan Iwanowitsch Bering) (* 12. August 1681 bei Horsens in Jütland; † 19. Dezember 1741 auf der Insel Awatscha, der Beringinsel) war ein in… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Vitus Bering — Vitus Béring Pour les articles homonymes, voir Béring. Vitus Béring Vitus Jonassen Béring (parfois écrit Behring) (né le 12 août …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Vitus Bering — Vitus Jonassen Bering (also, less correctly, Behring ) (August 1681 ndash;December 19, 1741) was a Danish born navigator in the service of the Russian Navy, a captain komandor known among the Russian sailors as Ivan Ivanovich. He was born in the… …   Wikipedia

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