The Imperiia Project: a spatial history of the Russian Empire

Sketch Artist

Tsar Peter I (Peter the Great) commissioned Vitus Bering to establish, beyond a shadow of a doubt, whether and how one could sail from the Pacific Ocean into the Arctic Sea. Bering's "First Kamchatka Expedition" brought him to the shores of Kamchatka via Tobolsk in 1728. Somehow he found time to make (or, more likely, call for the creation of) this map. It bears some of the earliest ethnographic depictions of the peoples of eastern Siberia. Working clockwise from the upper left, the seven peoples depicted are: Yakuts, nomadic Tungus (male and female), Koryaks, peoples of the Kurils, Chukchi, Kamchadals, and settled Tungus (male and female).

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