Wrangel, Ferdinand Petrovich
Born Dec. 29, 1796 (Jan. 9, 1797), in Pskov; died May 25 (June 6), 1870, in Tartu. Russian navigator, admiral, honored member of the St. Petersburg Academy of Sciences (1855). One of the founders of the Russian Geographical Society.
Wrangel graduated from the Naval Cadet School in 1815. From 1817 to 1819 he was a participant in V. M. Golovnin’s voyage around the world aboard the sloop Kamchatka. From 1820 to 1824 he led the Kolyma detachment of the expedition exploring the northern territories. Wrangel established that open sea lay to the north of Kolyma and the Shelagi Cape, rather than dry land as supposed earlier. Wrangel worked with F. F. Matiushkin and P. T. Kuz’min to describe the coastline of Siberia from the Indigirka River to Koliuchin Bay. From interrogatory data he acquired, he determined the position of an island in the Arctic Ocean that was subsequently named after him. The expedition conducted valuable ice, geomagnetic, and climatic research and gathered information on natural resources and the inhabitants of the areas visited. In 1825-27 he headed a Russian expedition around the world aboard the ship Krotkii. From 1829 to 1835 he was chief administrator of the Russian settlements in America. He was director of the Russian American Company from 1840 to 1849 and naval minister from 1855 to 1857. He retired in 1864. He opposed the sale of Alaska to the United States. An island in the Arctic Ocean, a mountain and cape in Alaska, and other natural features are named after Wrangel. He wrote a book entitled Voyage Along the Northern Coasts of Siberia and in the Arctic Ocean … (parts 1-2, 1841; 2nd ed., 1948) and several works on the peoples of northwest America.
REFERENCESChernenko, M. B. “F. P. VrangeF i F. F. Matiushkin.” InRusskie moreplavateli. Moscow, 1953.
Davydov, lu. V. Ferdinand Vrangel’. Moscow, 1959.