Story of the expedition and its importance

In 1819, Russia decided to launch two expeditions- one to north and other to south to explore the polar regions. Captain Fabian Gottlieb Benjamin von Bellingshausen became the leader of the Russian expedition to the south polar region as a commander of Vostok. Rear admiral Mihhail Lazarev become the commander of the second ship of the expedition called Mirny.  190 members of the expeditions set sails on the 4thof July 1819, and there is belief that two more Estonian sailors took part of the expedition. Later, between 1830-1839, vice admiral Bellingshausen worked as the division commander of the Baltic Fleets 2 flotilla.

The 28thof  January 1820 had no great meaning for Bellingshausen. He noted in his log book: “Having arrived to 69°25′ South and 2°10′ West on January 28 we were met by thick layers of ice.” 

17 February 1820„I did see a lot of different birds, but they were all sea birds so it  cannot be considered as proof of land being near.” He saw something special which had no explanation. This was the edge of an ice sheet, i.e. the continent of Antarctica. It was difficult for him to describe what he saw: „Between pieces of ice and smaller ice chunks I notice a large mass of ice.“

On 1 January 1821they reached the most southern point of the expedition: 69°51′ South and 92°15′ West.

SummaryThe crew set sails on the 4thof July 1819. Larger ship of the expeditions was Vostok and smaller was called Mirny.  Vostok had 117 and Mirny  72 crew members on board. Both ships were launched at 1818. On the August 5th1821 the Russian Antarctica expedition made it back to Kronstadt after 751 days of sea voyage in extreme conditions. They were grandly welcomed- the whole Saint Petersburg talked about the expedition and the ships were met by Emperor Alexander personally.