Charles Wilkes

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Charles Wilkes
BirthplaceNew York City, New York
Known for United States Exploring Expedition, 1838-1842. Trent Affair
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Wilkes, Charles


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.


Narrative of the United States Exploring Expedition, vols. 1–5. Philadelphia, 1845.


Treshnikov, 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.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
Charles Wilkes, later Rear Admiral Wilkes, is best remembered for his naval career at sea, including his work on the Expedition and during the Civil War.
Charles Wilkes was responsible for writing eight of the twenty-four volumes: the five Narrative volumes, Meteorology, Hydrography, and Physics.
Missouri has a cap on the number of casinos in the state and to get it lifted they'll need the help of rich and powerful local Charles Wilkes (Darren Goldstein).
1838 - US Exploring Expedition headed by Charles Wilkes departs for Pacific Ocean and Antarctica.
An early reference to tobacco bags and pouches "worked prettily in beads" with "usually several long tails" (very probably octopus bags) comes from Lieutenant Charles Wilkes, when describing the voyageurs' attire at Fort Vancouver, the Hudson's Bay Company outpost on the Columbia River, founded in 1824-25, during his visit in 1841.
In 1861, an overzealous Union naval Captain, Charles Wilkes, overtook the British steamer RMS Trent and captured its passengers: John Mason and John Slidell, new Confederate commissioners to Europe.
1840: American Charles Wilkes discovered the coast of Antarctica - or more likely rediscovered, since several plausible claims have been made for previous expeditions and sealing ships from 1820 onwards.
In succeeding years, as Russian, British and French explorers saw land beyond the ice in longitudes all around the Antarctic Circle, confidence grew, but the first to nail his colours to the mast was an American, Charles Wilkes. He declared that he had found 'the Antarctic continent' and he was right.
Charles Wilkes, who led the Antarctic expedition from 1838 to 1842 that resulted in the discovery that Antarctica is a separate continent.
Some cultural materials collected by explorer Charles Wilkes in an around-the-world expedition in 1838-1842Auincluding species of coral and insectsAuare still used.
Exploring Expedition vessels, under the overall command of Charles Wilkes, during their voyages in that area of the Antarctic coast that Wilkes later labeled the Antarctic Continent.
Charles Wilkes, is best known for discovering Antarctica, and he holds an honored place in history for sighting land on Jan.