Fedor Litke

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Litke, Fedor Petrovich


Born Sept. 17 (28), 1797, in St. Petersburg; died there Aug. 8 (20), 1882. Russian navigator and geographer, arctic explorer, count (from 1866), admiral (1855); corresponding member (1829), honorary member (1855), and president (1864) of the St. Petersburg Academy of Sciences, honorary member of many Russian and foreign scientific institutions, and corresponding member of the Paris Academy of Sciences.

Litke joined the navy in 1813. From 1817 to 1819 he sailed around the world with V. M. Golovnin on the sloop Kamchatka. From 1821 to 1824 he was head of an expedition that explored the coast of Novaia Zemlia, the eastern part of the Barents Sea, and the White Sea. He led an around-the-world expedition on the sloop Seniavin from 1826 to 1829. He described the western coast of the Bering Sea, the Pribílof Islands, Bonin Island, and the Caroline Archipelago (discovering 12 islands in the group). Litke had the idea for the first recording tide gauge (1839), which was built and installed on the shores of the Arctic and Pacific oceans in 1841. He was one of the organizers of the Russian Geographic Society, which he directed in 1845–50 and 1857–72. In 1846 he became chairman of the Naval Scientific Committee. From 1850 to 1857 he was commander and military governor of the ports of Revel (Tallinn) and, later, Kronstadt. In 1855 he became a member of the State Council.

In 1873 the Russian Geographic Society established the Great Litke Gold Medal. Various geographic features have been named in honor of Litke, including a cape, peninsula, mountain, and gulf on Novaia Zemlia; islands in the archipelago of Franz Josef Land, Baidarata Bay, and the Nordenskjöld Archipelago; and the strait between Kamchatka and Karagin Island.


Chetyrekhkratnoe puteshestvie ν Severnyi Ledovityi okean na voennom brige “Novaia Zemlia” ν 1821–1824 godakh, 2nd ed. Moscow, 1948.
Puteshestvie vokrug sveta na voennom shliupe “Seniavin” ν 1826–1829 gg., 2nd ed. Moscow, 1948.


Dobrovol’skii, A. D. Plavaniia F. P. Litke. Moscow, 1948.
Alekseev, A. I. Fedor Petrovich Litke. Moscow, 1970.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.