Pronchishchev, Vasilii Vasil’evich
Born 1702; died Aug. 29 (Sept. 9), 1736. Russian explorer.
Pronchishchev graduated from the Moscow School of Mathematical and Navigational Sciences in 1718 and was promoted to the rank of garde marine. He became a lieutenant in 1733 and led a detachment of the Second Kamchatka Expedition on a survey of the northern arctic coast from the mouth of the Lena to the mouth of the Enisei.
In 1735, Pronchishchev sailed from Yakutsk down the Lena on the gunboat Yakutsk, rounded the Lena delta, and wintered at the mouth of the Olenek River. In 1736 he reached the eastern shore of the Taimyr Peninsula and sailed northward along the coast as far as 77°29’N lat.; on the return voyage he died of scurvy. The Peter Islands and the eastern Samuil Islands (now the Komsomol’skaia Pravda Islands) off the northeastern coast of the Taimyr Peninsula were discovered during the voyage. Pronchishchev’s detachment made the first accurate survey of the Lena River (from Yakutsk to the mouth) and of the coastline to the Cape of Faddei.
Pronchishchev’s wife, Mariia Pronchishcheva (died Sept. 12 , 1736), accompanied him on his voyages and became the first woman arctic explorer. Both are buried at the mouth of the Olenek River near the Cape of Tumul’. The eastern shore of the Taimyr Peninsula and a ridge between the mouths of the Olenek and Anabar rivers were named in honor of Pronchishchev; a bay of the Laptev Sea was named after Maria Pronchishcheva.