Krasheninnikov, Stepan Petrovich

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Krasheninnikov, Stepan Petrovich

(b.Moscow, Russia, 11 November 1711; d. St. Petersburg, Russia [now Leningrad, U.S.S.R.], 8 March 1755)

geography, ethnography, botany, history.

Krasheninnikov, the son of a soldier, studied at the Moscow Slavonic-Greek-Latin Academy (1724-1732) and then at the University of the St. Petersburg Academy of Sciences (1732-1733). From 1733-1743 he took part in the second Kamchatka expedition of the Academy. During the first three years Kraslienin. nikov studied the history, geography, and ethnogra. phy of Siberia under the direction of J. G. Gmelin and G. F. Muller. The extensive material that he and other members of the expedition gathered provided a basis for the general geographical description of Siberia.

From 1737-1741 Krasheninnikov traveled through Kamchatka. At first he studied the warm springs and the flora and fauna of the western shore of the peninsula; then he studied the geographical peculiari. ties of the eastern part of Kamchatka in the area of the Avachinskaya volcano. Finally, he carefully investigated many central areas of the peninsula. He described the rocks and minerals, observed the Avacha and Kliuchevskoi volcanoes, and reported on earthquakes. The articles based on these observa. tions were the first scientific works devoted to Kamchatka.

In the following years Krasheninnikov prepared the “Description of the Land of Kamchatka” (1756).This major work contains a detailed geographical description of Kamchatka and information on its natural resources and animal and plant life. Krash. eninnikov also described, for the first lime, the life, customs, and language of the local populations Kamchadals and Kurils—and supplied dictionaries of their languages. The last part of the book describes the history of the peoples who settled the peninsula and the discovery of Kamchatka by the Russian traveler V. V. Atlasov in 1697-1699. Krasheninnikov’s work was soon translated into European languages, and there have been several subsequent editions.

In February of 1743 Krasheninnikov returned to St. Petersburg, where he worked in the Academy of Sciences on the systematization of the extensive material gathered on his ten-year journey. In 1745, after defending his dissertation in ichthyology, he received the title of adjunct of the St. Petersburg Academy. In the same year he began to work in the Academy botanical garden. In April 1750 Krash. eninnikov was appointed professor of natural history and botany and also a full member of the Academy. At the same time he was named rector of the Uni. versity and inspector of the Gymnasium, both associated with the Academy.

In the last years of his life, despite his teaching and administrative activities, Krasheninnikov continued his scientific work on the material from his Siberian. Kamchatka expedition and did botanical research in St. Petersburg province. Named after Krasheninnikov are an island oil’ Kamchatka, a volcano in Kamchatka, and a point, cape, and bay in the Kuril islands.


I. Original Works. Major works by Krasheninnikov are Opisanie zemli Kamchatki (“Description of the Land of Kamchatka”; St. Petersburg, 1756); “Rech to poize nauk i khudozhestv” (“Speech on the Usefulness of the Sciences and Arts”) in Torzhestvo Akademii nauk 6 sentyabrya 1750 g (“Festival of the Academy of Sciences, 6 September 1750”; St. Petersburg, 1750).

II. Secondary Literature. For reference sec N. G. Fradkin, S. P. Krasheninnikov (Moscow, 1954); L. S. Berg,“Stepan Petrovich Krasheninnikov,” in Otechestvennye fiziko-gcografy i puteshestvenniki (“Russian Physical-Geog. raphers and Travellers”; Moscow, 1959); and A. I. An. dreev, “Stepan Petrovich Krasheninnikov,” in Lyudi russkoy nauki. Geologia, geografia (“People or Russian Science. Geology, Geography”; Moscow, 1962).

A. S. Fedorov