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|Birthplace||New York City, New York|
|Known for||United States Exploring Expedition, 1838-1842. Trent Affair|
Born Apr. 3, 1798, in New York; died Feb. 8,1877, in Washington, D.C. American explorer.
In 1838, Wilkes was put in command of a general expedition to explore Oceania and the area around Antarctica. The expedition began by surveying some 260 islands in Polynesia, including three previously unknown islands in the Phoenix and Tokelau groups. In 1840, while searching for the the south magnetic pole, Wilkes sighted land near the antarctic circle at 162° E long. He thereupon made his way westward along the edge of the ice pack for more than 2,700 km to 98° E long., later suggesting that he had traveled along the coast of the Antarctic mainland. This section of Antarctica is now called Wilkes Land. In 1841 the expedition explored part of the Columbia River basin in North America. It returned to the United States in 1842.
WORKSNarrative of the United States Exploring Expedition, vols. 1–5. Philadelphia, 1845.
REFERENCESTreshnikov, A. F. Istoriia otkrytiia i issledovaniia Antarktidy. Moscow, 1963.
Svet, Ia. M. Istoriia otkrytiia i issledovaniia Avstralii i Okeanii. Moscow, 1966.
Tyler, D. B. The Wilkes Expedition. Philadelphia, 1968.
The Pacific Basin: A History of Its Geographical Exploration. New York, 1967.