Status: Incomplete

Appendix VI

Summary of the History and Political Situation of
Wrangel Island1

Reprinted from “The Geographical Journal” of
The Royal Geographical Society of London for December,

The history of the discovery of Wrangel Island is bound up
with ideas of a large continent lying off the north-eastern coasts
of Siberia. Rumours of islands in this region were current on the
mainland from the seventeenth century. During the first half of
the next century, a considerable part of this coast and the group
of islands, now known as the Bear Islands, were visited by Russian
travellers. It was then thought that America reached as far as to
the north of the river Kolma. To ascertain the truth of this, An-
dreyev, a Cossack, undertook a journey in 1763 from the mouth
of the Krestvaya northwards, visiting the Bear Islands. From the
last of these he claimed to have seen to the east an extensive coun-
try which he took to be an island of considerable size. Six years
later, however, a party of Russian surveyors, Leontev, Lisev, and
Pushkarev, failed to confirm his reported discovery.

In the opinion of the Russian traveller, Baron Wrangel, Andreyev
had probably seen part of the Asiatic mainland. Wrangel himself,
while on a journey along the Siberian coast from Nijne-Kolimsk
to Kolyuchin Bay in 1824, was told by natives that between Cape

1 This paper was published by the “Geographical Journal” unsigned,
and was therefore written presumably by the editor himself, by some
member of his staff, or by an authority on the subject who wrote it at
the request of the editor. The paper is reprinted here by special permission
of the Secretary of the Royal Geographical Society. It is an important
contribution to the subject because of the independent, semi-official position
of the Society, who are frequently consulted by the British government as to
the scientific or historical soundness of geographical claims. It is also im-
portant because it states concisely and forcibly the undebatable essentials
of the case.


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