National Geographic : 1890 May
112 National GeographicMagazine. raphers was directed toward this unknown corner of the world and the subject was brought to the notice of Peter the Great. He took great interest in it, drew up instructions for an expedition with his own hand and delivered them to Count Apraxin with orders to see them executed. A few days later, in January, 1725, he died; but the Empress desiring to carry out all the plans of her deceased husband as closely as possible, ordered their exe cution. Fleet-Captain Vitus Ivanovich Bering was nominated to the command of the expedition and Lieutenants Martin Spanberg* and Alexie Chirikoff to be his assistants. This expedition forms the subject of this paper. It has been treated of by various geographers and biographers, but so far the original report of Bering, printed in 1847 in the Russian language, has never been faithfully translated into any other language; while his map has never, in its entirety, been published at all. Reduced sketches derived from the maps and more or less muti lated and garbled versions of the report have appeared in sundry collections of voyages, and upon these the latest contributions to the history of the expedition have been in great part based. Believing that the original report is a document of sufficient historic and geographic interest to be made accessible to those who do not read Russian, and that the errors of existing works make a critical review of the subject desirable, I have translated the document in question and prepared a general review of the present state of our knowledge in regard to the expedition. Bering's Report being written in archaic and badly spelled Russian, with a singular disregard of punctuation and other literary niceties, the translation presented unusual difficulties, in solving which I have had the kind cooperation of that excellent Russian scholar Mr. J. Curtin. I am indebted to the Reverend Father Richards, president of Georgetown University, and Father Maas of Woodstock College, Md., for valuable informa tion in regard to the church festivals and saints, whose names were utilized in the nomenclature of Bering's new discoveries. To Mr. Marcus Baker, Messrs. Gannett and Woodward, and Mr. C. C. Darwin of the Geological Survey; Dr. S. Hertzenstein of the Zoological Museum of the Academy of Sciences, St. Pete, s burg; Baron Nordenskiold of Stockholm, and Baron Robert Klinckofstrom ; Drs. Holm and Stejneger of the U. S. National. Museum, and Prof. Julius Olson of Madison, Wisconsin, I am * So spelled by Bering himself.