What were the Russians doing near the Earth’s South Pole at the time? It was an expedition of the Imperial Russian Navy across the southern seas.
On this day in 1820, humanity discovered the last undiscovered continent on our planet. It was Antarctica, interestingly discovered by a Russian research expedition. What were the Russians doing near the Earth’s South Pole at the time? It was an expedition of the Imperial Russian Navy across the southern seas. Namely, Russia was then a world’s first-class naval force. For example, at that time, the Russians had colonies in California and Hawaii. They ruled over Alaska as well as in Central Asia.
The Russian expedition consisted of two ships – Vostok and Mirny. The commander-in-chief was Fabian Gottlieb von Bellingshausen, a Baltic German by nationality but an officer of Imperial Russian Navy by vocation (he later became Vice Admiral). He traveled aboard the larger ship (Vostok). Mikhail Lazarev (who later also became Admiral) commanded the Mirny.
Besides discovering the new continent of Antarctica, Bellingshausen and Lazarev also managed to circumnavigate the continent on this journey. For Bellingshausen, that was already the second trip around the world. On his return to Russia he was made Rear Admiral.