Semen Dezhnev

Dezhnev, Semen Ivanovich


Born circa 1605; died in early 1673 in Moscow. Russian explorer and navigator.

In the early 1640’s, Dezhnev, together with M. Stadukhin and others, explored the Far North of Siberia, where he visited Oimiakon Plateau, sailed along the Indigirka River to its mouth, and reached the Kolyma River by sea in 1643. In 1648, together with Popov (Fedot Alekseev), Dezhnev voyaged from the Kolyma River around the Chukchi Peninsula to the Bering Sea, being the first to pass through and, in fact, discover the Bering Strait. In subsequent years, he continued his service in Northern Siberia. He charted the Anadyr’ River and part of the Aniui River, and he described his voyage by water through the Anadyr’ region as well as its natural features in his reports. Dezhnev was in Moscow in 1664-65 and received the rank of cossack ataman. He visited Moscow again in 1672. The extreme northeastern tip of Asia and a bay on the western shores of the Bering Sea have been named in his honor.


Belov, M. I. Semen Dezhnev, 2nd ed. Moscow, 1955.
Lebedev, D. M. Geografiia v Rossii XVII v. (dopetrovskoi epokhi). Moscow-Leningrad, 1949.