History of Kamchatka

Kamchatka Krai (region) is territory of the Kamchatka Peninsula, Karaginsky Island and Komandorskiye Islands (Commander Islands) limited by the Sea of Okhotsk in the west and the Bering Sea in the east.

The Kamchatka Peninsula was discovered between 1650 and 1660 by the Russian explorers Fedor Popov and Gerasim Ankudinov. During storm their ship lost the main fleet headed by Semyn Dezhnyov and got stranded on a strange peninsula.



Vitus BeringEarly in the eighteenth century Tsar Peter the First issued an edict for the purpose of amending the northeastern boundaries of the Russian Empire. Pursuant to that edict the first Kamchatka expedition headed by Vitus Bering set off for a journey to the shores of Kamchatka.

The voyagers made a number of important geographical discoveries, but failed to achieve their main objective to prove the existence of a strait between Asia and America. Therefore, in the year 1732 Bering headed the second Kamchatka expedition having geologists, land surveyors, artists on board. During that journey Kuril Islands, Aleutian Islands, Commander Islands, north-western coast of America were discovered and described. In the year 1740 the settlement of Petropavlovsk was founded named after the ships of “St. Peter and the St. Paul.”

On their way back the Bering’s ship was hit by a violent storm and landed on a small island later named “the Bering Island” where the Great Commodore died of illness and hardship. The surviving sailors managed to reach Kamchatka and join the rest of the expedition.

His grave is on the Bering Island in the Commodore’s Bay. Many geographical localities in that beautiful hitherto unexplored area carry his name to the eternal memory of the brave captain.