The Eastern Arctic Seas Encyclopedia

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

Shpanberg (Shpangenberg, Shpanbergkh), Martyn Petrovich (1698–1761)

Reference work entry

Shpanberg (Shpangenberg, Shpanbergkh), Martyn Petrovich (1698–1761) – was a Russian sea navigator, a captain of the first rank, a participant of the First and the Second Kamchatka Expeditions, and an explorer of the northern part of the Pacific Ocean and the Kuril Islands. He was a descendent from Denmark. In 1720 he was admitted in the Russian Fleet in the rank of lieutenant. In 1725–1730 he was involved in the First Kamchatka Expedition. He conducted the passage from Okhotsk to Bolshretsk (on the west coast of Kamchatka) twice. In 1728 on “St. Gabriel” boat (under the command of V. Bering), he went from Nizhnekamchatsk through the Bering Strait into the Chukchi Sea to 67°19′N. M. Shpanberg took part in the survey of the Chukchi Peninsula and the discovery of the Kresta Bay, St. Lawrence Island, one of the Diomede Islands, Preobrazheniya Bay. In 1730 he returned to St. Petersburg through Siberia. In 1731–1743 he commanded a detachment of the Second Kamchatka Expedition. In 1734 he arrived in Okhotsk and the next year he started the supplement of the first two vessels for this expedition. Under his command, the brigantine “Archangel Mikhail” and the packet boat “St. John” performed three voyages to the Kuril Islands. As a result, the northern route to Japan was discovered and mapped, and, for the first time, the whole Kuril Archipelago was sailed over and surveyed from the east. The detachment visited the northeastern coast of Hokkaido and Honshu Islands and the Malaya Kuril Archipelago, where no Europeans had been there before, in order to produce a map and a description of their navigation. In 1743 Shpanberg replaced the deceased V. Bering as the head of the Second Kamchatka Expedition. The senate ordered him “not to take part in sea voyages any longer” and reside in Siberian towns with his team. In 1745 he arrived in St. Petersburg without an unauthorized permission, was taken to court, and was sentenced to capital punishment, which was then replaced with reduction to the rank of lieutenant. In 1749 г. served in the Baltic Sea. Here “Varakhail” boat which was under his command was wrecked with the death toll of 28 people, but the court dismissed all charges from Shpanberg. In 1751 he was “enrolled in the captains of the first rank.” He served in the Baltic Sea until 1761.

A number of capes in the Anadyr Bay and on Hokkaido (Shiretoko) Island, a mountain in Sakhalin, several islands in the Kara Sea and the Alexander Archipelago at the southern coast of Alaska, and the channel between the islands of Polonskiy and Shikotan were named in his honor.

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