The Eastern Arctic Seas Encyclopedia

2016 Edition
| Editors: Igor S. Zonn, Andrey G. Kostianoy, Aleksandr V. Semenov

Laptev, Dmitry Yakovlevich (1701–1771)

Reference work entry

Laptev, Dmitry Yakovlevich (1701–1771) – a Russian Arctic explorer, vice admiral, and member of the Great Northern Expedition. In 1715 he entered the Naval Academy, graduating in 1721 with the rank of subofficer, and began his service in the Baltic Fleet. In 1726 with the rank of noncommissioned lieutenant, L. commanded the snow “Favorite” and in 1727 the frigate “St. Jacob.” In 1733 in the rank of lieutenant, L. was enlisted in the Second Kamchatka (Great Northern) Expedition, and in October 1734, he arrived in Yakutsk. He was engaged into the cargo delivery on ships in the Lena River Basin to the Yudomski Krest tract. In 1736, after the death of P. Lassenius, he was appointed a chief of the squad operating from the east of the river of Lena to Kamchatka. In November 1739, L. was promoted to the captain colonel rank. In 1739–1741 (with two winterings), he described the ocean shore from the mouth of the Lena River to the Cape Bolshoy Baranov. The coastal parties surveyed basins of the rivers of Indigirka, Yana, Khroma, Alazeya, and Kolyma. In 1741–1742, he went on a journey from the Nizhnekolymsk fortress to the Anadyr fortress and surveyed and described the basin of the Anadyr River. In the winter of 1741/1742, he also described the way from the Anadyr fortress to the river of Penzhina and further to its mouth. L. drafted the first map of Chukotka based on the materials of the instrumental survey, which linked the Arctic and Pacific oceans. Upon returning to St. Petersburg in December 1743, he continued to serve in the Baltic Fleet. He was an advisor at shipyards and then commanded the ships “St. John Chrysostom” and “St. Nicholas.” In 1757 he was promoted to rear admiral rank, and in the beginning of the summer campaign, he commanded the squadron of Kronstadt. In 1762 he retired with the rank of vice admiral.

L. mapped all his sea voyages from the mouth of rivers of Lena and Kolyma in the “Map of the Northern Coast of Siberia from the mouth of the Lena River to the mouth of the Indigirka in 1736” and the “Accurate Map” described in 1739–1740 by his boat team (from the mouth of the Indigirka to the mouth of the Kolyma). The members of the expedition conducted the first survey of the Arctic coast from Taymyr to Chukotka. For the first time, the bays of Khatanga and Olenyok, Buor-Khaya Bay, and estuaries of the major rivers of Anadyr, Olenyok, Lena, Yana, Indigirka, and Kolyma were mapped reasonably well, and multiple geographic objects were discovered.

A cape in the estuary of the Kolyma, the Laptev Sea (named after D. Ya. Laptev and Kh. P. Laptev), and a strait between the Big Lyakhovskiy Island and Svyatoy Nos (Saint Nose) Cape are named after D. Laptev.

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