Sat, 10 Jun 2023

There is a cape in Alaska that has been glorifying Russia since 1791. That's because it's literally called 'Glory of Russia'. The cape lies on St. Matthew Island in the Bering Sea. Formally, this uninhabited island belongs to the United States and is part of the Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge.

The 'Glory of Russia Cape' was called so by polar explorer Gavril Sarichef in honor of the ship traveling on which he discovered this geographic object.

It happened on July 14, 1791, during a joint expedition of Sarichef and the English and Russian navigator, Commodore Captain of the Russian Navy Joseph Billings. In his youth, he took part in James Cook's third round-the-world expedition and, in 1783, he joined the Russian Navy.

The Billings-Sarichef expedition spanned more than eight years, from 1785 to 1793. During that time, the team explored the eastern part of Siberia, the Arctic Ocean and the northern part of the Pacific. They compiled descriptions of the coasts of the Sea of Okhotsk and the Bering Sea, the Aleutian Islands, the shores of the United States up to Kayan Island, as well as discovered St. Jonas' Island in the Sea of Okhotsk.

Gavril Sarichef.

Gavril Sarichef.

Public Domain

Today, the toponyms bearing Sarichef's name can be found mainly on the territory of the United States: these are a cape, a lighthouse and an airstrip on Unimak Island in the Aleutian Archipelago - Cape Sarichef, an island off the coast of Alaska, as well as a strait located above Glory of Russia Cape. The only object on the Russian territory named after the admiral is a volcano on the Kuril Islands.

Billings is immortalized only on Russian maps: as a cape, a lagoon and a village in Chukotka are named in his honor.

Yet, the Glory of Russia Cape has no namesakes.

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