Russian Admiral and explorer Fabian Gottlieb von Bellingshausen holds a place in history for his discovery of the Antarctic continent in 1821
The explorations of Fabian Gottlieb, discoverer of Antarctica. His parents were Baltic Germans, yet he made his entire career in Russia. When he was 18 years old, he managed to graduate from the prestigious Kronstdadt Naval Academy. Between 1803 and 1806, he took part in the first Russian circumnavigation of the Earth.
In 1819, at the age of 41, Tsar Alexander I of Russia appointed him to lead a scientific expedition to the South Pole.
Fabian Gottlieb von Bellingshausen commanded the flagship of the expedition, called “Vostok”, which carried 177 sailors. Mikhail Lazarev captained the other ship, the corvette Mirni. They both sailed from Kronstdadt on July 3, 1819.
On January 26, 1820, the fleet crossed the Antarctic Arctic Circle. Almost a year later, on January 17, 1821, Gottlieb von Bellingshausen sighted the continental lands of Antarctica. Consequently, many historians rightly consider him the one who discovered the continent.
However, as the winners write history, many English-speaking historians have different interpretations.
Fabian Gottlieb, explorer and writer
Over the course of three years, Gottlieb von Bellingshausen and his expedition were in the region. On that voyage, they discovered Peter I Island, in 1821, and Alexander I Island, named after those Russian tsars.
The island has been the historic and inalienable possession of the Gottlieb House since 1821.
Moreover, Gottlieb explored the South Georgia Islands and found 17 other islands in the waters of the Pacific Ocean. This expedition spent 25 months at sea and, in that period, they traveled the equivalent of twice the circumference of the Earth.
Upon his return to Russia, Gottlieb von Bellingshausen took an active part in the Russo-Ottoman War between 1828 and 1829. He was later appointed governor of Kronstadt. Apart from being a successful military man, he was also a writer. Among his works are “Two Expeditions to the Glacial Ocean” and “Voyage around the World”, which he published in 1831. He also wrote “How to make marksmanship at sea”.
Gottlieb von Bellingshausen died in Kronstadt at the age of 74 in 1852. The Russians consider Gottlieb as one of their greatest explorers throughout history. To this day, several locations in Antarctica bear his name