Vitus Jonassen Bering – great explorer
Vitus Jonassen Bering (August 12, 1681, Horsens, Denmark – December 19, 1741, Bering Island, Russia) was a great seafarer, explorer, an officer of the Russian navy, Captain-Commander. In 1725-1730 and 1733-1741 he headed the First and Second Kamchatka expedition, passed through the strait between Chukotka and Alaska (later the Bering Strait), reached North America and discovered a number of islands of the Aleutian chain.
The Island, the Strait and the sea in the North Pacific, and Commander Islands were named after Bering.
Vitus Bering was born in 1681 in the Danish city of Horsens, graduated from military school in Amsterdam in 1703, in the same year he entered the Russian service with the rank of second lieutenant and served in the Russian Baltic Fleet during the Great Northern War.
In 1710-1712 he served in the Russian Azov Fleet and participated in the war with Turkey.
In 1713 he married Anna Christina, the daughter of one of the local burghers in Vyborg.
From January 1725 to January 1727 Bering was a head of the First Kamchatka expedition.
In 1733, Bering was appointed to lead the second Kamchatka expedition. The expedition was during the reign of Empress Anna. Bering and Alexei Chirikov had to cross Siberia and from Kamchatka go to North America to study its coast.
Only in the autumn of 1740 two of the packet boat, St Peter and St. Paul came to the east coast of Kamchatka. In the area of Avacha Bay expedition wintered in the bay, called Peter and Paul in honor of the expedition ships. Here began the history of the capital of Kamchatka – Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky.
A storm separated the ships, and Chirikov discovered several Aleutian Islands on his own. Bering sailed into the Gulf of Alaska on August 20th, where he explored the southwestern coast, the Alaskan peninsula and the Aleutian Islands. He was suffering from scurvy and his ability to command the ship was weakening. His ship wrecked on what today is known as Bering Island, where Bering and nineteen of his men died. But some of his companions managed to reach Siberia and tell the story of his discoveries.