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Admiral Ferdinand Wrangel

Baron Ferdinand von Wrangel (Russian: Фердина́нд Петро́вич Вра́нгель, Ferdinand Petrovich Vrangel; December 29, 1796 (January 9, 1797), Pskov, Russia—May 25 (June 6), 1870, Dorpat (now Tartu, Estonia)) was a Baltic German, explorer, Honorable Member of the Russian Academy of Sciences in St. Petersburg (1855), one of the founders of the Russian Geographic Society. In English texts, Wrangel is sometimes spelled Vrangel, a transliteration from Russian, which more closely represents its pronunciation in German, or Wrangell.

Ferdinand von Wrangel was born into a Baltic German noble family of Wrangel. He graduated from the Naval Cadets College in 1815. He took part in Vasily Golovnin's world cruise on the ship "Kamchatka" in 1817-1819. Wrangel led the Kolymskaya expedition in search of northern lands. He established that north of the Kolyma River and Cape Shelagsky there was an open sea, not dry land, as people thought. Together with Fyodor Matyushkin and P. Kuzmin, Wrangel described the Siberian coastline from the Indigirka River to the Kolyuchinskaya Bay in the Chukchi Sea. (See Northeast Passage) His expedition made a valuable research in glaciology, geomagnetics, and climatology and also collected data about natural resources and native population of that remote area.

After noticing swarms of birds flying north and questioning the native population, he determined that there must be an undiscovered island in the Arctic Ocean and started in 1820 a four year long expedition to search for it. Even though it was unsuccessful the island was later named Wrangel Island to honour him and his endeavor.

Wrangel led the Russian world voyage on the ship "Krotky" in 1825-1827. He held the post of the chief administrator of the Russian settlements in North America in 1829-1835. Wrangel was the president of the Russian-American Company in 1840-1849. He was the Minister of the Navy 1855-1857.

Wrangel retired in 1864. He opposed the sale of Alaska to the United States in 1867. Wrangel wrote "Journey along the northern coastline of Siberia and the Arctic Ocean" and other books about the peoples of northwestern America.

He lived in his last years at Roela (in German: Ruil) in the eastern part of Estonia. He had bought the manor in 1840.

List of places named after Wrangel

External links

Preceded by
Pyotr Igorovich Chistyakov
Governor of Russian Alaska
Succeeded by
Ivan Antonovich Kupreianov


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