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The Naming of Alaska

Explorers: "L"


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

Langsdorf, 1804-1805

    Georg Heinrich von Langsdorf accompanied Krusenstern during part of his voyage round the world, in 1803-1806, and published in two volumes an account of his voyages and travels, which appeared in German in 1812 and in English in 1813-14. Apparently also there was a Russian edition in 1811. Langsdorf was a member of the Russian embassy to Japan, of which embassy Resanof was chief. Resanof and Langsdorf parted company with Krusenstern at Petropavlovsk on June 24, 1805, and together visited the Pribilof islands, Unalaska, Kodiak, Sitka, and California, and afterwards returned to Russia.


La Perouse, 1786

    In 1785 Louis XVI of France organized a scientific exploring expedition on a lavish scale and placed it under the command of Commander Jean Francois de Galaup de la Perouse. Two vessels were fitted out for the purpose - La Boussole, commanded by La Perouse, and L'Astrolabe, commanded by Captain de Langle. Sailing from Brest on August 1, 1785, via Cape Horn and the Hawaiian islands, they arrived on June 24 in sight of the northwest coast of America in the vicinity of Yakutat. From this point they cruised southward, surveying as they went as far as Monterey, California, arriving there on September 15. Here they remained till the 24th and then took final leave of the American coast. La Perouse was an unfortunate navigator. At Lituya bay, which he entered and surveyed, 26 of his ship's company were drowned in the tide bore at its entrance. Both ships with all hands were lost in 1788 or 1789, and for many years their fate was a mystery. It has been solved, however, and some of the wreckage of the ships has been recovered and recently placed on exhibition in the French Naval Museum in Paris. An elaborate report upon this expedition, in 4 quarto volumes, with an atlas, was published by the French Government in 1797, entitled Voyage de La Perouse autour du monde.

[Ed. note: In 1788, both La Boussole and L'Astrolabe were lost with all hands in a storm near the Solomon Islands. A French expedition sent in search of them in 1791 reached the Solomons but found no sign of the ships or survivors.]


Lindenberg, 1838

    In 1838 a survey and chart was made of the head of Lynn canal and the lower reach of the Chilkat river by a Mr. Lindenberg. This chart was published as an inset or subsketch on Russian Hydrograpbic chart 1396, published in 1848. It does not appear who this Lindenberg was. Perhaps it was the Captain Lindenberg who was in command of the Russian American Company's ship Prince Menshikof in 1852. Grewingk records (p. 418) that Lindenberg surveyed Admiralty island and Chilkat river in 1838.


Lisianski, 1804-1805

    Admiral A. J. von Krusenstern and Captain Urey Lisianski, in the ships Nadezhda (hope) and Neva, sailed from Cronstadt around Cape Horn and thence to the North Pacific on a voyage to carry supplies to the Russian American Company and to make exploration and discovery. This was the first of a series of circumnavigations by the Russians. Sailing from Cronstadt on October 6, 1803, Lisianski reached the Hawaiian islands on June 4, 1804, and proceeded thence to St. Paul, Kodiak, arriving on July 14, 1804. Here he heard that the Indians had destroyed the Russian settlement at Sitka. Accordingly be sailed thither (August 15-20), and on October 19, 1804, bombarded and destroyed the Indian village which was located on Indian river near the present site of Sitka. On November 10-15 he returned to Kodiak and wintered there. The next year (June 14-22, 1805) he returned to Sitka and remained there till September 1, when he set sail for Canton and thus ended his work in Alaska. He published in English an account of the voyage in 1814, entitled Voyage Round the World in 1803-1806, by Urey Lisianski, 4°, London, 1814.


Lutke, 1827-1828

    One of the important authorities used in preparing this dictionary is Capt. Feodor Petrovich Lutke, who, in command of the Russian corvette Seniavine and accompanied by Capt. Mikhail Nikolaievich Staniukovich in command of the sloop Moller, made a voyage round the world in 1826-1829.
    An account of the voyage was published in Russian in 1834-1836, in 8 octavo volumes, a folio atlas, and another volume called Nautical part. It appeared at the same time in French. The nautical part is a rare book. The two copies of it in the Library of Congress, one in French, the other in Russian, are the only ones known to the writer. This Partie nautique contains hydrographic and geographic information as to Bering sea, Alaska peninsula, etc., derived not merely f rom Lutke's own work but also from various Russian sources previously unpublished. Pressing public duties delayed the preparation and publication of this work, and finally it appeared in a crude form far from satisfactory to its author. Despite its defects, however, the work is of first importance in dealing with the evolution of our geographic knowledge of Alaska. An index to this book was prepared by Mr. Dall and published by the Coast Survey in 1883 in the Coast Pilot of Alaska.
    Lutke and Staniukovich sailed from Cronstadt on September 1, 1826, and, rounding Cape Horn, arrived at Sitka on June 24, 1827. Here Lutke remained till July 31 and then sailed to Unalaska, arriving on August 22. After a stay of eight days in Unalaska he cruised northward and westward in Bering sea to the Pribilof islands, St. Matthew, the Commander islands, and to Petropavlovsk. From here he cruised southward and returned to Petropavlovsk on June 9, 1828. After a stay of sixteen days he cruised and surveyed along the Siberian coast to St. Lawrence bay in Bering strait and returned on September 4, 1828, to Petropavlovsk. He took final leave of this place on November 9, 1828, and, rounding the Cape of Good Hope, returned home, arriving at Cronstadt on September 6, 1829.