Ledyard, John(lĕd`yərd), 1751–89, American adventurer, b. Groton, Conn. He studied at Dartmouth for year, but left college to ship as a sailor. In 1776 he joined Capt. James CookCook, James,
1728–79, English explorer and navigator. The son of a Yorkshire agricultural laborer, he had little formal education. After an apprenticeship to a firm of shipowners at Whitby, he joined (1755) the royal navy and surveyed the St.
..... Click the link for more information. 's last expedition. Having seen the Pacific Northwest and traded for furs there, he was fired with a desire to establish a post in the region. Though Cook had not found the fabled Northwest PassageNorthwest Passage,
water routes through the Arctic Archipelago, N Canada, and along the northern coast of Alaska between the Pacific and Atlantic oceans. Even though the explorers of the 16th cent.
..... Click the link for more information. , Ledyard was convinced that a practicable route could be found. Failing to obtain support in America for his scheme for an exploratory expedition, he went to France. There he was encouraged by Thomas Jefferson and John Paul Jones, but failed to secure funding. He then undertook to walk across Europe and Siberia. Russia at first refused permission, but in 1787 he reached St. Petersburg and was permitted to start the long, dangerous journey that took him to Yakutsk. There, however, he was arrested and sent back. Ledyard was engaged in a plan (supported by Sir Joseph BanksBanks, Sir Joseph,
1743–1820, British naturalist and patron of the sciences. He accompanied Capt. James Cook on his voyage around the world and made large collections of biological specimens, most of which were previously unclassified. Botany Bay was named on this voyage.
..... Click the link for more information. ) for exploring the African interior when he died in Cairo.
See biographies by H. Augur (1946), J. Zug (2005), and B. Gifford (2007).