Ferdinand von Wrangel bigraphy, stories - Russian explorer and seaman

Ferdinand von Wrangel : biography

29 December 1796 O.S. - 25 May 1870 O.S.

Baron Ferdinand Friedrich Georg Ludwig von Wrangel ( Ferdinand Petrovich Vrangel; 29 December 1796 ({{OldStyleDateDY) 9 January 1797 – 25 May (6 June) 1870) was a Russian explorer and seaman, Honorable Member of the Saint Petersburg Academy of Sciences, a founder of the Russian Geographic Society. He is best known as chief manager of the Russian-American Company, in fact governor of the Russian settlements in present day Alaska.

In English texts, Wrangel is sometimes spelled Vrangel, a transliteration from Russian, which more closely represents its pronunciation in German, or Wrangell.


Von Wrangel was born in Pskov, 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.

Kolymskaya expedition

He was appointed in 1820 to command the Kolymskaya expedition to explore the Russian polar seas. Sailing from St. Petersburg, he arrived at Nizhnekolymsk on 2 November 1820, and early in 1821 journeyed to Cape Schelagin (Shelagsky?) on sledges drawn by dogs. He sailed afterward up Kolyma River, advancing about 125 miles into the interior, through territory inhabited by the Yakuts. On 10 March 1822, he resumed his journey northward, and traveled 46 days on the ice, reaching 72° 2' north latitude. He left Nizhnekolymsk on 1 November 1823, and returned to St. Petersburg on 15 August 1824.

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.

Krotky world voyage

Having been promoted to commander, Wrangel led the Russian world voyage on the ship Krotky in 1825–1827.

Governor of Russian Alaska

He was appointed chief manager of the Russian-American Company in 1829, effectively governor of its settlements in North America (present day Alaska). Von Wrangel was the first of a series of bachelor appointees to the office of governor who had to find a wife before assuming the duties in America, the Russian American Company rules having been changed in 1829.Alix O’Grady: From the Baltic to Russian America 1829–1836, p. 21–25. Alaska History no. 51, The Limestone Press, Kingston, Ontario & Fairbanks, Alaska. Prior to his departure for Russia’s American colonies, he was married to Elisabeth Teodora Natalia Karolina de Rossillon, daughter of Baron Wilhelm de Rossillon.

He traveled to his post early in 1829, by way of Siberia and Kamchatka. After thoroughly reforming the administration, he introduced the cultivation of the potato, opened and regulated the working of several mines, and urged upon the home government the organization of a fur company. He promoted investment, and sent out missionaries. He began a survey of the country, opened roads, built bridges and government buildings. He made geographical and ethnographical observations, which he embodied in a memoir to the navy department. Recalled in 1834, he returned by way of the Isthmus of Panama and the United States, where he visited several cities.


Wrangel was promoted rear admiral in 1837, and made director of the ship-timber department in the navy office, which post he held for twelve years. He became vice-admiral in 1847, but resigned in 1849, and temporarily severed his connection with the navy to assume the presidency of the newly reorganized Russian-American Company. Wrangel had been a member of the board of directors of the Russian-American Company from 1840 to 1849.Richard A. Pierce: Russian America: A Biographical Dictionary, Alaska History no. 33, Limestone Press, Kingston, Ont. and Fairbanks, Alaska, 1990, p. 547.

Living octopus

Living octopus

In countries which are located near sea coasts, sea food is an important part of national cuisine