A product of the Russian Royal Navy, Gavriil Sarychev (1763-1831) joined a veteran of the Captain Cook voyages, Joseph Billings, in an 8 year geographical and ethnological expedition to the coasts of Siberia and Alaska and the Aleutian Islands.
Their trip was supported by Catherine the Great who instructed them "to bring to perfection the knowledge acquired under her glorious reign." Her instructions, issued through the Russian Academy of Sciences, also asked that they detail ' "all the remarkable places" and "the natural curiosities" they encountered both on land and at sea. They were also to interview, observe, and describe all the peoples they met.'
Although the mission was something of a financial disappointment, there was an emphasis placed on gaining cooperation of native groups in all facets of their investigations. Consequently for instance, the maps (still considered to be of high quality) included local names, many of which persist. Sarychev went on to become an Admiral, an Honorary member of the Science Academy, Hygrographer-General and ultimately head of the Naval Ministry.
- The translated title of the resulting book (48 plates of which are on display in the Meeting of Frontiers section at the Library of Congress) is Geographic Atlas. North-east part of Siberia. Expedition of Capitan Sarychev to North-east part of Siberia, the North Sea and the East Ocean during eight years with the expedition of Capitan Billing. 1785-1793. (published in 1804)
- Learning from Each Other: On a History of Russian-Native Contacts in the Exploration and Mapping of Alaska and the Aleutian Islands (Late Eighteenth- Early Nineteenth Centuries) by Alexei V. Postnikov Russian Academy of Sciences, S. I. Vavilov Institute of the History of Science and Technology.
- Some commentary (near bottom of page).
- There is a remarkable likeness between a few of the images here and those from Cook's Voyage to the Pacific Ocean. My ignorance lead me to read up to find out that Cook also sailed in the Aleutian Islands area.