The Imperiia Project: a spatial history of the Russian Empire


Jean-Baptiste Barthélemy de Lesseps was a polyglot, diplomat, and adventurer. The son of the French consul in St. Petersburg, he spent part of his childhood in St. Petersburg. In 1785 he joined the La Perouse expedition as Russian interpreter and sailed to Kamchatka via Cape Horn. La Perouse entrusted de Lesseps with the voyage documents and ordered him to carry them overland to Paris (keeping them in French hands) while the ships sailed on. The trip from Kamchatka to Paris via St. Petersburg took sixteen months and involved muddy roads, swarms of insects, and sunken boats. 

This map is a relic of his voyage. With north on the left of the sheet, this map offers a much different perspective on the peninsula.

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