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Vitus Jonassen Bering

ole timer Sep 28, 2014

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    Vitus Jonassen Bering


    Vitus Jonassen Bering (1681-1741) was a Danish explorer and navigator who explored the seas off Alaska and northeastern Siberia. Bering was a sublieutenant in the fleet of Tsar Peter I the Great of Russia.
    From 1725-1730, Bering led an expedition to determine whether or not Asia and North America were connected by a land bridge. Bering sailed through what is now known as the Bering Strait, finding a sea route around Siberia to China. He concluded that Asia and North America were not connected (although he did not actually see North America due to fog).

    On a second expedition (the Great Nordic Expedition) in 1741, Bering mapped much of the Arctic coast of Siberia for the Russian Empress Anna. Bering reached North America in July 1741. After being blown off course and having both a crew and captain affected by scurvy (a lack of vitamin C), Bering's ship was wrecked on a small island near Kamchatka, Russia. Bering and his crew spent winter of 1741 on this bare bit of land, where Bering and half his crew died. This island is now called Bering Island. The remaining crew (which included the German naturalist Georg Wilhelm Steller) survived by eating Steller's seacows (which were given their name because they tasted like beef) and by building a boat from the wrecked ship. Only 27 years after being discovered, Steller's sea cows were hunted to extinction