Vega Expedition

Map showing the route of the Vega exhibition.
Return of Swedish Finnish explorer Adolf Erik Nordenskiöld with the SS Vega to Stockholm on 24 April 1880.
Swedish steamship SS Vega, used during the expedition of the Finnish-Swedish explorer Adolf Erik Nordenskiöld.
SS Vega at anchor in the Penkigney Bay of the Bering Sea.
SS Vega frozen into packed ice outside Piltekai, Siberia. Photo by Louis Palander

The Vega Expedition (Swedish: Vegaexpeditionen) of 1878–1880, named after the SS Vega and under the leadership of Swedish Finnish explorer Adolf Erik Nordenskiöld, was the first Arctic expedition to navigate through the Northeast Passage, the sea route between Europe and Asia through the Arctic Ocean, and the first voyage to circumnavigate Eurasia.[1] Initially a troubled enterprise, the successful expedition is considered to be among the highest achievements in the history of Swedish science. [2]

Preparations

Nordenskiöld had already conducted a series of expeditions in the Arctic, including to Svalbard, West Greenland, the Kara Sea and the Yenisei River.

In 1877, Nordenskiöld began planning the expedition to find the Northeast Passage, and in July he presented a detailed plan to King Oscar II, who accepted the proposal. Additional funds were provided by members of the Swedish Society for Anthropology and Geography and the Royal Society of Sciences and Letters in Gothenburg, and private individuals, notably Swedish industrialist and philanthropist Oscar Dickson (1823-1897) and Russian industrialist Alexander Sibiryakov (1849–1933). [3] [4]

The steamship Vega, constructed in 1872 at Bremerhaven as a sealer and whaler, was bought for the expedition, and was converted at the Karlskrona naval shipyards in Blekinge, Sweden, with government funding. Sibiryakov also equipped another steamship, Lena, which would accompany the expedition until the Lena River in Siberia.

Expedition members

Louis Palander (1842–1920) was appointed captain of the expedition. Palander was a Swedish naval officer and an experienced sailor who had already made several trips in the Arctic and had previously participated in other Nordenskiöld expeditions. It also included scientists, officers and a crew of 21 men. [5] Noted members of the international team included:

  • Ernst Almquist, Swedish doctor, botanist and lichenologist
  • Karl Johan Andersson, Swedish xylographer and painter
  • Giacomo Bove, Italian sailing master, in charge of the Marine chronometers, made astronomical observations needed to fix the ship's position
  • Andreas Peter Hovgaard, Danish naval officer, explorer and meteorologist, responsible for the meteorological and magnetic observations
  • Frans Reinhold Kjellman, Swedish botanist
  • Oscar Frithiof Nordquist, Finnish hydrographer and zoologist, acted as the Russian interpreter
  • Anton Stuxberg, Swedish zoologist

The expedition

Vega left Karlskrona on June 22, 1878, made a stop in Tromsø from July 17 until July 21. In Tromsø, Vega was joined by the cargo ship Lena, commanded by Edvard Holm Johanssen. The ships reached Cape Chelyuskin, the northernmost tip of the Eurasian continent, on August 19, 1878. Lena navigated up the Lena river towards Yakutsk on August 27, with Vega continuing east along the coast, which had only a narrow ice-free strip a couple of miles wide.

Vega's progress stopped in pack ice on September 28, 1878, about 1.5 kilometers from the coast at the Chukchi Peninsula at Neshkan, only days from the Bering Strait. The expedition spent the winter there. Vega could be freed from the ice only the next summer, on August 18, 1879, and it reached Bering Strait on August 20. Vega stopped in Japan for repairs for almost two months, and returned to Sweden through the Indian Ocean and the Suez canal. It returned to Stockholm on April 24, 1880.

See also

  • Albatross expedition (1947–48), Swedish oceanographic expedition
  • Cape Vega, a headland in the Kara Sea named after the ship.
  • History of research ships

References

  1. ^ Nordenskiöld, A. E. (2010). The Voyage of the Vega Round Asia and Europe. General Books. ISBN 9781153782234.
  2. ^ "Vega-expeditionen genom Nordostpassagen 1878-1880". University of Gothenburg. Retrieved April 1, 2019.
  3. ^ W. Carlgren. "Oscar Dickson". Svenskt biografiskt lexikon. Retrieved April 1, 2019.
  4. ^ "Aleksander Michajlovitj Sibiriakov". Nordisk familjebok. Retrieved April 1, 2019.
  5. ^ Wilhelm Odelberg. "A A Louis Palander af Vega". Svenskt biografiskt lexikon. Retrieved April 1, 2019.

Media files used on this page

Nouvelle géographie universelle - la terre et les hommes (1876) (14799670933).jpg
Author/Creator: Reclus, Elisée, 1830-1905, Licence: No restrictions

Identifier: nouvellegograp006recl (find matches)
Title: Nouvelle géographie universelle : la terre et les hommes
Year: 1876 (1870s)
Authors: Reclus, Elisée, 1830-1905
Subjects: Geography
Publisher: Paris : Hachette et cie.
Contributing Library: University of Connecticut Libraries
Digitizing Sponsor: LYRASIS members and Sloan Foundation

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Text Appearing Before Image:
©o-gues. Au nord-ouest de la péninsule de Taïmîr, le navigateur norvégienJohannsen découvrit en 1878 une île à laquelle il donna le nom bien justifiédEnsomheden ou « Solitude ». Cette terre isolée au milieu des banquisesoccupe un espace de 200 kilomètes carrés et se termine à loccident par dehautes falaises que domine une cime de 157 mètres : sur la rive basse delest, des troncs darbre apportés par les courants recouvrent les sables.Peut-être cette île avait-elle été déjà vue par -Laptev en 1741 \ Les Bouriates sont très nombreux dans la partie méridionale des régionsde la Lena. Ce sont les indigènes de la Sibérie qui ont le mieux conservéles formes de lancienne commune, au grand étonnement des paysansrusses, chez lesquels linfluence du mir se fait beaucoup moins sentir dansla vie privée. Le pauvre Bouriate va de droit manger et coucher chez leriche; quand un animal est abattu, tous viennent en prendre leur part 1 Molin, Millhcihingen von Petermann, 1879.
Text Appearing After Image:
p* «w o o -c o. â < â¢V âºâ¢ s ss 3 o m Sd <3J U » a -3 u H 3 BOUKIATES, YAKOUTES. 775 égale, et le maître est celui qui se sert le dernier; même les ornementsen fer que les jeunes filles mêlent à leur chevelure sont pris sans façonchez le forgeron de la communauté : il ne vend ses produits quaux étran-gers. La récolte du blé se fait au profit de tous, et chacun va puiser à saconvenance dans le magasin public. Tous les cinq ou dix ans, les Bouriatesdu district se réunissent pour faire une chasse en commun : ils élisent alorsdes chefs de circonstance et se divisent en groupes dune vingtaine dechasseurs pour battre les forêts ; mais le produit est partagé égalemententre tous les membres de Yaba1. La population dominante du bassin de la Lena est celle des Yakoutes. Leterritoire parcouru par ces « allogènes », au moins deux fois aussi vasteque la France, comprend une grande partie du bassin moyen de la Lena,les bords de ce fleuve dans son cours septentrional

Note About Images

Please note that these images are extracted from scanned page images that may have been digitally enhanced for readability - coloration and appearance of these illustrations may not perfectly resemble the original work.
SS Vega.jpg
Swedish steamship SS Vega, famous for the expedition of the Finnish-Swedish explorer Adolf Erik Nordenskiöld.
Postcard
NMA.0077091 Fartyget Vega fastfruset i isen vid Pitlekai.jpg
The ship Vega. Photo taken during the Vega expedition while frozen into packed ice at Pitlekai, Siberia.
Nordenskiold resa.gif
Author/Creator: unknown, Licence: CC-BY-SA-3.0