ExploreNorth, your resource center for exploring the circumpolar North

Return to the Home Page The ExploreNorth Blog Arctic & Northern Books About ExploreNorth Contact ExploreNorth

Search ExploreNorth

The Naming of Alaska

Explorers: "K"

These biographies are from Marcus Baker's monumental Geographic Dictionary of Alaska, published in 1902 by the United States Geological Survey. It detailed the origin of thousands of geographical place names in the Territory of Alaska, and provided brief biographies of about 120 of the people who had given the names described.
Index | A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I-J | K | L | M | N | P | R | S | T | V | W | Z

Khwostof and Davidof, 1803

    Two Russian naval officers, Nikolai Alexandrovich Khwostof and Gavril Ivanovich Davidof, were in the employ of the Russian American Company in 1802-1804. They left St. Petersburg in April, 1802, and went overland to Okhotsk, arriving in August of the same year. Thence they sailed to Kodiak, conferred with Baranof, and returned to Okhotsk, whence they returned overland to St. Petersburg, arriving there in January, 1804. Davidof published in Russian ,tn account of this journey, in 2 volumes, St. Petersburg, 1810-1812. See also Journal of the Russian Hydrographic Department, 1852, Vol. X, pp. 391-433; also Bancroft's History, pp. 458-459.

Kotzebue, 1816-1817

    By the liberality of Count Rumiantzof, Russian counselor of state, in 1815 the brig Rurik was fitted out for exploration in America with reference to a Northwest Passage. Lieutenant Otto von Kotzebue, son of the distinguished author, and who had accompanied Krusenstern on the Neva in 1803-1806, was placed in command. Accompanied by the savants Choris, Chamisso, and Eschscholtz, he sailed from Cronstadt on July 30, 1815, and, rounding Cape Horn, arrived in Petropavlovsk on June 19, 1816. Sailing from there on July 18, he landed on St. Lawrence island on the 27th, passed through Bering strait on the 31st, and on August 3 entered the sound which now bears his name. This he explored and mapped, as also the region about Bering strait and St. Lawrence island. He then sailed to Unalaska, San Francisco, and the Hawaiian islands. From here he returned to Unalaska the following year (1817), refitted, and went to St. Lawrence island. Through ill health be gave up further exploration and returned to Russia, arriving in Cronstadt on August 3, 1818. A full account of this voyage was published in 1821, both in Russian and in German. An English translation by H. E. Lloyd was published the same year.
    Kotzebue was born at Revel on December 19, 1787, and died there on February 13, 1846.

Krause brothers, 1882

    Two brothers, Dr. Arthur Krause and Dr. Aurel Krause were sent out by the Bremen Geographical Society in 1881 to make ethnographic and geographic studies in Alaska. In the summer of 1881 they visited and mapped a district about the head of Lynn canal and Chilkat river. Later they visited and worked in Bering strait, making a map of the country about East cape. Accounts of this have appeared in various journals. A summing up of all the work was published in 1885, entitled Ergebnisse einer Reise nach der Nordwest Küste von Amerika und der Berings-Strasse, etc., 8°, Jena, 1885, 16 + 420 pp., with illustrations.
    In this dictionary Krause's names have all been taken from a map of the Chilkat region, from surveys by Arthur Krause in 1882, which was published in Zeitschrift der Ges. für Erdk. zu Berlin, 1883, Vol. XVIII, plate 9.

Krenitzin and Levashef, 1768-1769

    On May 4, 1764, the Tsarina of Russia issued an ukaz ordering a secret naval expedition to explore between Asia and America. In charge of it was placed Capt.-Lieut. Peter Kuzmich Krenitzin, whose principal assistant was Lieut. Michael Levashef. Leaving St. Petersburg on July 1, 1764, the party went to Okhotsk and there built two vessels, repaired two others, and with the four sailed from Okhotsk on October 10, 1766. Shipwreck soon followed and the shipwrecked crews wintered at Bolsheretsk in Kamchatka. The following summer they repaired their boats, sailed to Nizhnikamchatsk, and there passed the winter. Finally, on June 21, 1768, all was ready and the party sailed eastward, Krenitzin commanding the galiot St. Catherine and Levashef the hooker St. Paul. They cruised through the eastern part of the Aleutian chain, and wintered, Levashef in the port in Unalaska which now bears his name, and Kronitzin in the strait between Unimak and Alaska peninsula.
    The following year (1769) both ships returned to Kamchatka, Krenitzin arriving on July 29 and Levashef on August 24. They wintered at Kamchatka. On July 4, 1770, Krenitzin was drowned, whereupon Levashef assumed command and returned to St. Petersburg, arriving on October 22, 1771. Coxe published in 1780 the first account of this voyage. An official account of it, in Russian, was published in the Journal of the Russian Navy Department in 1859,, Vol. X, pp. 70-103. Petrof drew largely f rom this official report for the account written by him in Bancroft's (H. H.) History of Alaska, pp. 157-168.

Krusenstern, 1804-1805

    Admiral Adam Johann von Krusenstern, in the ship Nadezhda (Hope), and accompanied by Lisianski in the ship Teva, made the first of a long series of Russian voyages from Cronstadt to the Russian American colonies. Prior to 1799 there were several Russian companies in Alaska. They derived their supplies overland through Siberia. In 1799 a new company - the Russian American Company - was organized and given very large powers. This company completely supplanted all previous ones, and it adopted the policy of sending to the colonies an annual supply ship - or rather two of them, for they sailed, after the custom of the time, in pairs for mutual assistance. Krusenstern commanded the first one sent out, the Nadezhda, which, sailing from Cronstadt on July 26, 1803, rounded Cape Horn and arrived in Petropavlovsk on July 31, 1804. Refitting here, Krusenstern sailed on August 27, 1804, on a diplomatic mission to Japan. The winter, one of disappointment and failure, was spent in Japan, and on April 5, 1805, Krusenstern sailed away and, cruising northward along the Japanese coast and Kurile islands, arrived in Petropavlovsk in June. On board the Nadezhda were, among others, the chancellor Resanof, Kotzebue, Langsdorf, and Shemelin. Resanof and Langsdorf left the Nadezhda at Petropavlovsk, and on June 23, 1805, Krusenstern sailed for home, arriving in Cronstadt on August 7, 1806. Both Krusenstern and Lisianski had served in the English navy. Krusenstern became an admiral in the Russian navy and published extensively respecting the hydrography of the North Pacific. In 1809-10 he published, in Russian, an account of this,voyage. This appeared in German in 1810-1812, in French in 1821, and in English in 1831. He also published an atlas of the Pacific ocean in 1827, accompanied by a collection of hydrographic memoirs explanatory thereof. For a brief account of the voyage, see Journal of the Russian Hydrographic Office, 1849, Vol. VII, pp. 6-26. The accounts by Langsdorf, Lisianski, and Shemelin cover parts of the voyage.

Kuritzien, 1849

    Full Pilot Kuritzien made a survey of Umnak island in or before the year 1849. His map is reproduced as a subsketch in Tebenkof's atlas sheet xxv. No particulars concerning him are known to the writer.