Louis Choris

Louis Choris (1795-1828) was a German-Russian painter and explorer.[1] He was one of the first sketch artists for expedition research.

Louis Choris
Louis Choris, lithograph by Joseph Langlumé after a self-portrait of Choris


Louis Choris was born in Yekaterinoslav, Russian Empire, now Dnipro, Ukraine of German-Russian parents on March 22, 1795.[1] He visited the Pacific and the west coast of North America in 1816 on board the Russian expeditionary ship Ruric, being attached in the capacity of artist to the Romanzoff expedition under the command of Lieutenant Otto von Kotzebue, sent out for the purpose of exploring a northwest passage.

Choris, Saint Paul
The Russian "Rurik" sets anchor near Saint Paul Island in the Bering Sea in order to load food and equipment for the expedition to the Chukchi Sea in the north. Drawing by Louis Choris in 1817.

Choris is said to have "painted nature as he found it. The essence of his art is truth; a fresh, vigorous view of life, and an originality in portrayal." The accompanying illustrations may therefore be looked upon as faithfully representing the subjects treated by the artist. After the voyage of the Ruric, Choris went to Paris where he issued a portfolio of his drawings in lithographic reproduction and studied in the ateliers of Gerard and Regnault. Choris worked extensively in pastels. He documented the Ohlone people in the missions of San Francisco, California in 1816. Seized by an irresistible craving for adventure, he left France in 1827 for South America. He met his end when he was murdered by robbers on March 22, 1828, en route to Vera Cruz, Mexico.[2]

The Anchorage Museum of History and Art, the Honolulu Museum of Art and the Oakland Museum of California are among the public collections holding works by Louis Choris.


  1. ^ a b "Louis Choris". The Bancroft Library - University of California
  2. ^ San Francsico One Hundred Years Ago - Translated From the French of Louis Choris By Porter Garnett, Retrieved 2007-04-07.
  • Ellis, George R., Honolulu Academy of Arts, Selected Works, Honolulu, Honolulu Academy of Arts, 1990, 181.
  • Forbes, David W., Encounters with Paradise: Views of Hawaii and its People, 1778-1941, Honolulu Academy of Arts, 1992, 23-62.


Louis Choris (1795-1828) - Kamehameha, King of the Sandwich Islands by Louis Choris, (Russian), pen and watercolor

Kamehameha, King of the Sandwich Islands, pen and watercolor by Louis Choris, 1816, Honolulu Museum of Art

Louis Choris 'Kaahumanu, Woman of the Sandwich Islands'

Kaahumanu, Woman of the Sandwich Islands, pen, ink wash and watercolor by Louis Choris, 1816, Honolulu Museum of Art

Louis Choris - 'Interior of a House of a Chief of the Sandwich Islands'

Interior of a House of a Chief of the Sandwich Islands by Louis Choris, pen, watercolor and gouache, 1816, Honolulu Academy of Arts

Danse des hommes dans les iles Sandwich (National Library of New Zealand)

Men's dance in the Sandwich Islands, by Louis Choris, 1816, published 1822, National Library of New Zealand

Ohlone Indians in a Tule Boat in the San Francisco Bay 1822

Ohlone Indians in a Tule Boat in the San Francisco Bay, by Louis Choris, 1816, published 1822

Choris, Tschuktschen

A Chukchi family in front of their home near the Bering strait. Drawing by Louis Choris in summer 1816.

Port d'Hanarourou by Louis Choris

Port of Honolulu as seen Louis Choris in 1816

External links

Bering Sea

The Bering Sea (Russian: Бе́рингово мо́ре, tr. Béringovo móre) is a marginal sea of the Pacific Ocean. It forms, along with the Bering Strait, the divide between the two largest landmasses on Earth: Eurasia and The Americas. It comprises a deep water basin, which then rises through a narrow slope into the shallower water above the continental shelves.

The Bering Sea is separated from the Gulf of Alaska by the Alaska Peninsula. It covers over 2,000,000 square kilometers (770,000 sq mi) and is bordered on the east and northeast by Alaska, on the west by Russian Far East and the Kamchatka Peninsula, on the south by the Alaska Peninsula and the Aleutian Islands and on the far north by the Bering Strait, which connects the Bering Sea to the Arctic Ocean's Chukchi Sea. Bristol Bay is the portion of the Bering Sea which separates the Alaska Peninsula from mainland Alaska. The Bering Sea is named for Vitus Bering, a Danish navigator in Russian service, who in 1728 was the first European to systematically explore it, sailing from the Pacific Ocean northward to the Arctic Ocean.

The Bering Sea ecosystem includes resources within the jurisdiction of the United States and Russia, as well as international waters in the middle of the sea (known as the "Donut Hole"). The interaction between currents, sea ice, and weather makes for a vigorous and productive ecosystem.

Choris Peninsula

The Choris Peninsula is a cape in Alaska. It is located in the east of Kotzebue Sound on the Chukchi Sea coast.

The Choris Peninsula is a small headland pointing southwards. Chamisso Island lies off its southern tip.

It was named in 1816 by Lt. Otto von Kotzebue IRN, for Louis Choris, a member of his expedition.

Chukchi people

The Chukchi, or Chukchee (Russian: Чукчи, sg. Чукча), are an indigenous people inhabiting the Chukchi Peninsula and the shores of the Chukchi Sea and the Bering Sea region of the Arctic Ocean within the Russian Federation. They speak the Chukchi language. The Chukchi originated from the people living around the Okhotsk Sea. According to most recent genomic research ("Who we are and how we got here. Ancient DNA and the New Science of the human past", by David Reich. Pantheon books, New York, 2018), Chukchi people are the closest cousins of the First Americans in Asia.

Chukotka Autonomous Okrug

Chukotka Autonomous Okrug (Russian: Чуко́тский автоно́мный о́круг, tr. Chukotsky avtonomny okrug, IPA: [tɕʊˈkotskʲɪj ɐftɐˈnomnɨj ˈokrʊk]; Chukot: Чукоткакэн автономныкэн округ, Chukotkaken avtonomnyken okrug, IPA: [tɕukotˈkaken aβtonomˈnəken ˈokɹuɣ]) or Chukotka (Чуко́тка) is a federal subject (an autonomous okrug) of Russia. It is geographically located in the Far East region of the country, and is administratively part of the Far Eastern Federal District. Chukotka is the 2nd-least-populated federal subject at 50,526 (2010) and the least densely populated.Anadyr is the largest town and the capital of Chukotka, and the easternmost settlement to have town status in Russia.

Chukotka is home to Elgygytgyn Lake, an impact crater lake, and the village of Uelen, the easternmost settlement in Russia and the closest substantial settlement to the United States (Alaska). The autonomous okrug's surface area is 737,700 square kilometers (284,800 sq mi), about 6% larger than the U.S. state of Texas, and is the 7th-largest Russian federal subject. The region is the most northeasterly region of Russia, and since the Alaska Purchase has been the only part of Russia lying partially in the Western Hemisphere (east of the 180th meridian). Chukotka shares a border with the Sakha Republic to the west, Magadan Oblast to the south-west, and Kamchatka Krai to the south.

Chukotka is primarily populated by ethnic Russians, Chukchis, and other indigenous peoples. It is the only autonomous okrug in Russia that is not included in, or subordinate to, another federal subject, having separated from Magadan Oblast in 1993.

Crab claw sail

The crab claw sail or, as it is sometimes known, Oceanic lateen or Oceanic sprit, is a triangular sail with spars along upper and lower edges. The crab claw sail is used in many traditional Austronesian cultures, as can be seen by the traditional paraw, proa, lakana, and tepukei.

Hawaiian Poi Dog

The Hawaiian Poi Dog (Hawaiian: ʻīlio or ʻīlio mākuʻe) is an extinct breed of pariah dog from Hawaiʻi which was used by Native Hawaiians as a spiritual protector of children and as a source of food.

Hawaiian art

The Hawaiian archipelago consists of 137 islands in the Pacific Ocean that are far from any other land. Polynesians arrived there one to two thousand years ago, and in 1778 Captain James Cook and his crew became the first Europeans to visit Hawaii (which they called the Sandwich Islands). The art created in these islands may be divided into art existing prior to Cook’s arrival; art produced by recently arrived westerners; and art produced by Hawaiians incorporating western materials and ideas. Public collections of Hawaiian art may be found at the Honolulu Museum of Art, the Bishop Museum (Honolulu), the Hawaii State Art Museum and the University of Göttingen in Germany.

In 1967, Hawaii became the first state in the nation to implement a Percent for Art law. The Art in State Buildings Law established the Art in Public Places Program and designated one percent of the construction costs of new public schools and state buildings for the acquisition of works of art, either by commission or by purchase.

Jean-Augustin Franquelin

Jean-Augustin Franquelin (1798 – 1839), was instructed by Regnault, and became known through his works, representing scenes in public life, conversation-pieces, &c., which have often been copied. The painting of The Occupation of Brissac, by this artist, is at Versailles.

Johann Friedrich von Eschscholtz

Johann Friedrich Gustav von Eschscholtz (1 November 1793 – 7 May 1831) was a Baltic German physician, naturalist, and entomologist. He was one of the earliest scientific explorers of the Pacific region, making significant collections of flora and fauna in Alaska, California, and Hawaii.


William Pitt Kalanimoku or Kalaimoku (c. 1768 – February 7, 1827) was a High Chief who functioned similarly to a prime minister of the Hawaiian Kingdom during the reigns of Kamehameha I, Kamehameha II and the beginning of the reign of Kamehameha III. He was called The Iron Cable of Hawaiʻi because of his abilities.


The Ohlone, formerly known as Costanoans (from Spanish costano meaning "coast dweller"), are a Native American people of the Northern California coast. When Spanish explorers and missionaries arrived in the late 18th century, the Ohlone inhabited the area along the coast from San Francisco Bay through Monterey Bay to the lower Salinas Valley. At that time they spoke a variety of related languages. The Ohlone languages belonged to the Costanoan sub-family of the Utian language family, which itself belongs to the proposed Penutian language phylum.

The term "Ohlone" has been used in place of "Costanoan" since the 1970s by some tribal groups and by most ethnographers, historians, and writers of popular literature. In pre-colonial times, the Ohlone lived in more than 50 distinct landholding groups, and did not view themselves as a distinct group. They lived by hunting, fishing, and gathering, in the typical ethnographic California pattern. The members of these various bands interacted freely with one another. The Ohlone people practiced the Kuksu religion. Prior to the Gold Rush, the northern California region was one of the most densely populated regions north of Mexico.However, the arrival of Spanish colonizers to the area in 1769 vastly changed tribal life forever. The Spanish constructed Missions along the California coast with the objective of Christianizing the native people and culture. Between the years 1769 and 1834, the number of Indigenous Californians dropped from 300,000 to 250,000. After California entered into the Union in 1850, the state government perpetrated massacres against the Ohlones. Many of the leaders of these massacres were rewarded with positions in state and federal government. These massacres have been described as genocide. Many are now leading a push for cultural and historical recognition of their tribe and what they have gone through and had taken from them.The Ohlone living today belong to one or another of a number of geographically distinct groups, most, but not all, in their original home territory. The Muwekma Ohlone Tribe has members from around the San Francisco Bay Area, and is composed of descendants of the Ohlones/Costanoans from the San Jose, Santa Clara, and San Francisco missions. The Ohlone/Costanoan Esselen Nation, consisting of descendants of intermarried Rumsen Costanoan and Esselen speakers of Mission San Carlos Borromeo, are centered at Monterey. The Amah-Mutsun Tribe are descendants of Mutsun Costanoan speakers of Mission San Juan Bautista, inland from Monterey Bay. Most members of another group of Rumsien language, descendants from Mission San Carlos, the Costanoan Rumsien Carmel Tribe of Pomona/Chino, now live in southern California. These groups, and others with smaller memberships (see groups listed under the heading Present Day below) are separately petitioning the federal government for tribal recognition.

Otto von Kotzebue

Otto von Kotzebue (Russian: О́тто Евста́фьевич Коцебу́, tr. Ótto Evstáf’evich Kotsebú; 30 December [O.S. 19] 1787 – 15 February [O.S. 3] 1846) was a Baltic German officer and navigator in the Imperial Russian Navy. He was born in Reval. He was known for his explorations of Oceania.

Polynesian culture

Polynesian culture is the culture of the indigenous peoples of Polynesia who share common traits in language, customs and society. Sequentially, the development of Polynesian culture can be divided into four different historical eras:

Exploration and settlement (c. 1800 BC – c. AD 700)

Development in isolation (c. 700 – 1595)

European encounter and colonization until World War II (1595–1946)

Modern times/After World War II


Polynesians are an ethnolinguistic group of closely related peoples who are native to Polynesia (islands in the Polynesian Triangle), an expansive region of Oceania in the Pacific Ocean. They trace their origins to Island Southeast Asia and are part of the larger Austronesian ethnolinguistic group with an Urheimat ultimately from Taiwan. They speak the Polynesian languages, a branch of the Oceanic subfamily of the Austronesian language family.

There are an estimated 2 million ethnic Polynesians (full and part) worldwide, the vast majority of whom inhabit independent Polynesian nation states (Samoa, Niue, Cook Islands, Tonga and Tuvalu) and form minorities in Australia, Chile (Easter Island), New Zealand, France (French Polynesia and Wallis and Futuna), United Kingdom Overseas Territories (Pitcairn Islands) and the United States (Hawaii and American Samoa).

Porter Garnett

Porter Garnett (1871 – March 21, 1951) was a playwright, critic, editor, librarian, teacher, and printer.

Rancho Las Camaritas

Rancho Las Camaritas was an Alta California 18.57 acres (8 Hectare or 300 square Vara) land grant to José de Jesús Noé on January 21, 1840 by Governor Juan Bautista Alvarado. Millions of acres of California land was given at no charge to men between 1784–1846 by the Spanish (1784–1810) or Mexican governments (1819–1846) mostly for military service to raise cattle on. About 300 of the 800 Land grants were sizable varying from a few thousand to 1.5 million acres – see List of ranchos of California for the larger grants. Following the Mexican–American War, the land grants were challenged with most of them falling into American hands. Only one land grant has remained undeveloped (see Rancho Legacy). Las Camaritas' ownership was disputed in court by the U.S. government from 1856 until 1882 due to conflicting documentation presented by its American owner Ferdinand Vassault after a string of sales initiated by Jose Noe sometime between 1842–46.

Russian Mexicans

There is a small Russian diaspora population in Mexico. According to the 2000 Mexican census, 1,293 Russian citizens were resident in Mexico.


The Yelamu were a tribelet of Ohlone people from the San Francisco Bay Area in Northern California. The term Yelamu, or "the western people" was used by east bay Ohlone to describe the Ohlone people living on the San Francisco Peninsula. A more correct identification is Ramaytush, according to an account by J.P. Harrington made in 1921 by a Chochenyo Ohlone who identified the peninsula as "ramai". Ramaytush was also the language spoken by them.Randall Milliken's study, "A Time of Little Choice: The Disintegration of Tribal Culture in the San Francisco Bay Area 1769-1810," estimates that 160 to 300 Yelamu were living in San Francisco when the Spanish opened Mission San Francisco de Asís on June 30, 1776.

Artifacts have been found across San Francisco from at least 50 different locations during modern construction activities within the city that were originally left by the three primary nomadic communities that moved seasonally from location to location around present day San Francisco. Additional villages existed to the south of San Francisco as well.


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