Lazarev, Mikhail Petrovich

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Lazarev, Mikhail Petrovich

(b. Vladimir, Russia, 14 November 1788; d. Vienna, Austria, 23 April 1851)

navigation, oceanography.

Lazarev was trained in both theoretical and practical navigation. From 1799 to 1803 he studied with P. Y. Gamaleya and G. A. Sarychev at the Naval Academy in St. Petersburg, then volunteered as a seaman in the British Navy. From 1808 he served on various military ships in the Baltic Sea. In 1813 he made the first of his three voyages around the world, commanding the Suvorov. This expedition lasted until 1813, and among its discoveries was a group of coral islands in the South Pacific that are now called the Suvorov atoll. In 1819 Lazarev was named commander of the sloop Mirny, the second ship of Bellinsgauzen’s two-year expedition to the Antarctic. (For a complete account of this venture, which was organized to collect astronomical, hydrographical, and ethnographical data, and to map new lands and report on specifically polar phenomena, see the article on F. F. Bellinsgauzen, I, 594—595). From 1822 to 1825 Lazarev was commander of the frigate Kreyser; he was promoted to admiral in 1843.

On all three of his voyages, Lazarev and his assistants were concerned with correcting navigational maps; they further determined precisely the locations of many islands discovered by themselves or by earlier explorers. Lazarev also made depth soundings of coastal waters (as, for example, those of Novo Arkhangel’sk and San Francisco Bay), observed local relief features, and determined the height of mountains. His measurements and observations were very accurate; on the voyage of the Mirny, he determined the height of Mt. Egmont in New Zealand to be 8,232 feet (it is actually 8,260 feet), while the meteorological data that he recorded on the Kreyser were of such high quality that they were published by the Naval Ministry in 1882.

Lazarev was an honorary member of the Russian Geographical Society and of Kazan University. One of the first Soviet Antarctic stations was named for him, as were a chain of Antarctic mountains, a great Antarctic trough, a group of mountains in the Tuamotu Archipelago, and several capes and harbors.


I. Original Works. Lazarev wrote Meteorologicheskie nablyudenia, proizvodivshiesya vo vremya krugosvetnogo plavania fregata “Kreyser” podkomandoy kapitana II ranga Lazareva l—go v 1822, 1823, 1824, 1825 godakh (“Meteorological Observations, Made During the Voyage Around the World of the Frigate Kreyser Under the Command of Captain, Second Rank, Lazarev in 1822, 1823, 1824, 1825”; St. Petersburg, 1882); and Dokumenty..., 3 vols. (Moscow, 1952-1961).

II. Secondary Literature. On Lazarev and his work see I, 595, and M. I. Belov, “Shestaya chast sveta otkryta russkimi moryakami (novye materialy...)” (“The Sixth Part of the World Discovered by Russian Sailors “New Materials...”)in Izvestiya Vsesoyuznogo geograficheskogo obshchestva, 94 , no. 2 (1962), 105-114; V. A. Esakov et al., Russkie okeanickeskie i morskie issledovania v XIX-nach. XX v. (“Russian Oceanic and Sea Investigations in the Nineteenth and Early Twentieth Centuries;” Moscow, 1964), pp. 53-69; M. I. Firsov, Pervootkryvatel golubogo kontinenta (“Discoverer of the Blue Continent;” Vladimir, 1963); K. I. Nikulchenkov, Admiral Lazarev. 1788-1851 (Moscow, 1956); “P. M. Novoselsky”, Yuzhny polyus. Iz zapisok byvshego morskogo ofitsera (“The South Pole. From the Notes of a Former Naval Officer”; St. Petersburg, 1853); B. Ostrovsky, Lazarev (Moscow, 1966), with bibliography pp. 174-175; A. V. Sokolov and E. G. Kushnarev, Tri krugosvetnykh plavania M. P. Lazareva (“M. P. Lazarev’s Three Voyages Around the World”; Moscow, 1951); and N. N. Zubov, Otechestvennye moreplavateli—issledovateli morey i okeanov (“National Navigators and Investigators of the Seas and Oceans”: Moscow, 1954), pp. 168-179; and “Mikhail Petrovich Lazarev,” in Ote-chestvennye fiziko-geografy i puteshestvenniki (“National Physical Geographers and Travelers;” Moscow, 1959), pp. 193-197.

V. A. Esakov