Bering: Until Death Us Do Part
Christopher Follett reads the 18th-century correspondence between Danish explorer Vitus Bering and his wife.
The Letters and Travels of Anna and Vitus Bering Per Ulf Møller & Natasha Okhotina* * * * *
(translated by Anna Halager)University of Alaska Press 171pp $29.95/£15.50 ISBN 978 1 889963 94 5
Bering (1681-1741) lives on in atlases – Bering Island, the Bering Sea (that section of the Pacific Ocean between Asia and America to the north of the Aleutian Islands) and the Bering Strait, which links the Pacific and the Arctic Oceans, are all named after him. On his 1728-30 expedition Bering, setting out from the Kamchatka Peninsula, discovered that Alaska and Siberia were not joined together as had been believed, but were separated by the 96-km-wide strait leading to the Northeast Passage above Russia that bears his name. On a second expedition in 1741 he was the first European to reach the Gulf of Alaska and to chart the Alaskan coastline and the Aleutian Islands. This expedition ended in disaster with the wreck of Bering’s flagship off what today is known as Bering Island, a mountainous outcrop east of Kamchatka, where he died and is buried.
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