stefansson-wrangel-09-25-003-013

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13

Government to ge travel overland to the mouth of the Kolyma and to make exped-
itions out upon the sea ice beyond to plant the Russian flag upon the supposed
corner of the supposed continent.

Wrangell arrived at the mouth of the Kolyma in 1820. During the
three years following he made journeys northwest, north and northeast
over the winter sea ice searching for land. His route map shows that
one of his parties once at one time came within 40 or 50 miles of where we
now have Wrangell Island on the chart, but they saw no land. They picked
up once more, however, the native story that land had been seen. Wrangell
laid this down upon his chart "from Native report" in a position some
40 or 50 miles west of where an island was later discovered.

On turning back from his third and last journey, Wrangell said:
"Our return to Nijnei Kolymsk closed the series of attempts made by us
to discover a northern land; which, though not seen by us may possibly
exist."

The statement just quoted is found on page 380 of the first English
edition (published 1840) and unaltered on page 384 of the second edition
( published 1844 )
of Wrangell's own "Narrative of an Expedition to the
Polar Sea in the years 1820, 1821, 1822 and 1823". These are the This is a trans-
lations from an earlier German edition which in turn was based on Wrang-
ell
's own Russian narrative written in 1825. Since the Soviet Govern-
ment of Russia almost a century later quoted Wrangell in an entirely
different sense, it is well to insist here that the above quotation is
the more significant because it was not published by the author until
fifteen years after the expedition was over, thus giving him ample op-
portunity to modify it if there had been any cause.

The discovery of what we now call Wrangell Island was in a sense an
accident. Sir John Franklin had been lost in the Arctic for several
years and more than a dozen expeditions were sent out in the great
"Franklin Search" which resulted in the discovery of so many new Arctic

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