Otto von Kotzebue

Otto von[1] 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.

Coat of arms of Kotzebue family
Otto von Kotzebue
Otto von Kotzebue - Forschungsreisender
Born30 December [O.S. 19] 1787
Died15 February [O.S. 3] 1846 (aged 58)
CitizenshipRussian Empire, German Confederation
Parent(s)August von Kotzebue

Early life and education

Born into the Kotzebue family of Brandenburgish origin, originating in Kossebau in Altmark, he was the second son of writer and diplomat August von Kotzebue and his wife, he was born in Reval (now Tallinn, Estonia), then part of the Russian Empire. After attending the Saint Petersburg school of cadets, he accompanied Adam Johann von Krusenstern on his voyage of 1803–1806.

Naval career

On promotion to lieutenant, Kotzebue was placed in command of an expedition, fitted out at the expense of the imperial chancellor, Count Nikolay Rumyantsev, in the brig Rurik. In this vessel, with only twenty-seven men, including the naturalists Johann Friedrich von Eschscholtz and Adelbert von Chamisso, and the artist Louis Choris, Kotzebue set out on July 30, 1815 to find a passage across the Arctic Ocean and explore the less-known parts of Oceania.

Proceeding via Cape Horn, he discovered the Romanzov Islands, Rurik Islands and Krusenstern Islands (today Tikehau), then made for Kamchatka. In the middle of July he proceeded northward, coasting along the north-west coast of North America, and discovering and naming Kotzebue Sound or Gulf and Cape Krusenstern in the remote Chukchi Sea.

Returning by the coast of Asia, he again sailed to the south, sojourned for three weeks at the Sandwich Islands, and on January 1, 1817 discovered New Year Island. After further cruising in the Pacific Ocean, he proceeded north. Severe illness compelled him to return to Europe, and he reached the Neva River in Russia on August 3, 1818, bringing home a large collection of previously unknown plants and new ethnological information.

The Travels of Otto von Kotzebue
The Travels of Otto von Kotzebue, 1823–1826.

In 1823 Kotzebue, now a captain, was entrusted with the command of an expedition of two ships of war, the main object of which was to take reinforcements to Kamchatka. A staff of scientists on board the Russian sailing sloop Enterprise collected much valuable information and material in geography, ethnography and natural history. The expedition, proceeding by Cape Horn, visited the Radak and Society Islands, and reached Petropavlovsk in July 1824. Many positions along the coast were rectified, the Navigator islands visited, and several discoveries made. The expedition returned by the Marianas, Philippines, New Caledonia and the Hawaiian Islands, reaching Kronstadt on July 10, 1826.

Both of Kotzebue's narratives: A Voyage of Discovery into the South Sea and Bering’s Straits for the Purpose of exploring a North-East Passage, undertaken in the Years 1815–1818 (3 vols. 1821), and A New Voyage Round the World in the Years 1823–1826 (1830), have been translated into English.

In the last years of his life, Kotzebue lived at the Triigi Manor (Kau) near Kose. He died in Reval (now Tallinn) in 1846. He was buried in the Kose churchyard approx. 30 km from Tallinn, and the gravesite is marked by an imposing monument.

Legacy and honors

See also


Otto von Kotzebue haud
Kotzebue's tomb in Kose churchyard in Estonia
  1. ^ In German personal names, von is a preposition which approximately means of or from and usually denotes some sort of nobility. While von (always lower case) is part of the family name or territorial designation, not a first or middle name, if the noble is referred to by surname alone in English, use Schiller or Clausewitz or Goethe, not von Schiller, etc.
  2. ^ Gannett, Henry (1905). The Origin of Certain Place Names in the United States. Government Printing Office. p. 177.

External links

1817 in archaeology

The year 1817 in archaeology involved some significant events.

Alexander Postels

Alexander Filippovich Postels (Russian: Александр Филиппович Постельс; 24 August 1801 Dorpat – 26 June 1871 Vyborg), was a Baltic German of Russian citizenship naturalist, mineralogist and artist.

Postels studied at St.Petersburg Imperial University and in 1826 lectured there on inorganic chemistry.

In the 1820s political relations between Russia and the United States were troubled by the extent of Russian territory in North America. Russia intended to enforce its claims by sending two warships to the disputed areas. When the two countries agreed on 54°40′N as the southern limit of Russian claims, Czar Nicolas I changed their orders in 1826 to an extended three-year survey of the Russian-American and Asian coasts.

Otto von Kotzebue had returned on 10 July 1826 from his voyage of discovery aboard Predpriyatiye. On 16 August 1826, Captain Lieutenant Fedor Petrovich Litke, sailed on board the Russian vessel Senyavin, accompanied by the Möller under Captain Lieutenant M. N. Staniukovich. Postels sailed with Litke as a naturalist/artist and had the distinction of being the first St. Petersburg University graduate to join such a large-scale expedition. On board were also the naturalist Karl Heinrich Mertens (1796-1830), who died in Kronstadt shortly after his return from Iceland and another trip on the Senyavin, and the ornithologist Baron von Kittlitz.

Their orders were to

"reconnoitre and describe the coasts of Kamchatka, the land of the Chuchkis and the Koriaks (the coasts of which have not yet been described by anyone, and which are unknown except by the voyage of Captain Bering); the coasts of the Okhotsk Sea, and the Shantar Islands, which although they are known to us, have not been sufficiently described."

The expedition sailed from Kronstadt, the Russian port on Kotlin Island, via Portsmouth and rounded Cape Horn on 24 February 1827. The Senyavin called at Concepcion in Chile, before sailing north to Sitka, and arriving at Petropavlovsk in mid-September. They explored the Caroline Islands and the Bonin-Jima group for four months, returning to Kamchatka in May. During the summer they sailed from Avacha Bay to Karaginskii Island and on through the Bering Strait to reconnoitre the coast as far north as the Anadyr River. They returned via Manila and the Cape of Good Hope, arriving back in Kronstadt on 16 September 1829.The expedition was called the largest and most productive voyage of discovery of the era, and brought back some 4 000 natural history specimens, including mammals, insects, birds, plants, and minerals. More than 1250 sketches of their findings were made on the voyage. Twelve island groups were discovered along the Asian coast, and 26 Caroline Islands were explored and described. The flattening of the Earth's poles was investigated using an invariable pendulum. Postels was appointed assistant-professor of the Department of Mineralogy and Geology of St.Petersburg University. During the voyage Postels depicted more than 100 seaweeds or marine algae from the northern Pacific in "Illustrationes algarum in itinere circa orbem jussu Imperatoriis Nicolai I" published in St. Petersburg in 1840. The seaweed genus Postelsia is named in his honour. This botanist is denoted by the author abbreviation Postels when citing a botanical name.Postels was elected an Honorary Member of the Russian Academy of Sciences on 14 January 1866 and invited to act as curator of the Mineralogical Museum. He tutored the Grand Duchesses Maria and Ekaterina, daughters of Czar Nicolas I's brother Mikhail, and was the tutor of Prince Oldenburgski's children.

Asses Ears (Alaska)

Asses Ears is a summit in Northwest Arctic Borough, Alaska, in the United States. It has an elevation of 1,824 feet (556 m).The mountain was so named in 1816 by Otto von Kotzebue because "its summit is in the form of two asses' ears".

Cape Deceit

Cape Deceit is a cape in Alaska. It is located in the Seward Peninsula on the Chukchi Sea coast.

Cape Deceit extends into Kotzebue Sound, 2 mi. NW of Deering; Kotzebue-Kobuk Low.

This cape's name was given in 1816 by Lt. Otto von Kotzebue. "Deceit" is a translation of the German "Betrug," for Kotzebue thought that there was something about the shape of the cape and its surroundings that indicated a bay that did not exist. Thus he declared it to be "deceitful".

The Inuit name of this cape has not been reported.The Eastern Beringian vole, Microtus deceitensis, has been named after Cape Deceit.

Cape Sarichef Airport

Cape Sarichef Airport (IATA: WSF, ICAO: PACS, FAA LID: 26AK) was a small landing strip located on the western end of Unimak Island in the Aleutian Islands of the U.S. state of Alaska. It was used to supply and support a United States Coast Guard LORAN station and U.S. Air Force DEW Line site during the Cold War.

It is now a private-use facility owned by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and managed by the Izembek National Wildlife Refuge.

Cape Sarichef was named in 1816 by Russian explorer Otto von Kotzebue after Admiral Gavril Sarychev of the Imperial Russian Navy.

Cape Sarichef Light

Cape Sarichef Light is a lighthouse located on the northwest tip of Unimak Island, approximately 630 miles (1,010 km) southwest of Anchorage, Alaska. The most westerly and most isolated lighthouse in North America, Cape Sarichef Light marks the northwest end of Unimak Pass, the main passage through the Aleutian Islands between the Bering Sea and the Pacific Ocean. When it was first lit on July 1, 1904, it was Alaska's second coastal lighthouse (after Scotch Cap Light), and the only U.S. manned lighthouse on the Bering Sea. Today, the lighthouse is automated, and the beacon is mounted on a skeleton tower.

Cape Sarichef was named in 1816 by Russian explorer Otto von Kotzebue after Admiral Gavril Sarychev of the Imperial Russian Navy.

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.

Della Keats

Della Keats (Puyuq) was an Inupiaq Eskimo healer and midwife who grew up and came of age in the Kotzebue region of Alaska during the first half of the 20th century. The Kotzebue region is located in northwest Alaska along the coast, situated between Cape Thompson to the north and Cape Espenberg to the south. Further inland from the coast, the region she inhabited is in the drainage areas of the Noatak, Kobuk, and Selawik Rivers. Her life in this region coincided with rapid changes as other peoples voyaged and then settled in alongside indigenous societies. The region is named for Otto von Kotzebue, who explored the area in 1816. The Plover, of the Franklin Expedition, overwintered in Kotzebue Sound in 1849-50. Over the latter half of the 19th century, increased contact helped to spread disease; local people acquired firearms and alcohol; and some inhabitants abandoned their traditional territories by the turn of the century. Missions and schools were established in 1905-1915. During this time, families alternated between school and subsistence seasons. It was not until after the 1930s that Inupiat peoples settled more permanently into villages. This was a time of rapid shifts, and Della Keats and her family lived a traditional subsistence lifestyle while gradually incorporating new materials and entering into trade with a cash economy. She was a member of one of the ten communities in the Kotzebue region, Nuataagmiut.

Eschscholtz Bay

Eschscholtz Bay is an arm of Kotzebue Sound, on the Chukchi Sea-facing coast of the U.S. state of Alaska. It is up to eleven miles wide, and separated from the outer Kotzebue Sond by Choris Peninsula and Chamisso Island.

It is located on the northern coast of the Seward Peninsula, 45 miles southwest of Selawik, Kotzebue-Kobuk Low.

Eschscholtz Bay was discovered and named in 1816 by Lt. Otto von Kotzebue after his ship's physician, Dr. Johann Friedrich von Eschscholtz.The Inuit name of this bay has not been reported, but it was a traditional beluga hunting ground for the local people of the area.

First Russian circumnavigation

The first Russian circumnavigation of the Earth took place from August 1803 to August 1806. It was sponsored by Count Nikolay Rumyantsev, funded by the Russian-American Company, and was headed by Adam Johann von Krusenstern. In addition to its exploratory goals, the expedition was also meant to help establish diplomatic and economic relations between Russia and Japan, for which the party included a large diplomatic delegation headed by Court Chamberlain and Ambassador Nikolai Rezanov.

Fort Santa Agueda

Fort Santa Agueda, on Guam Highway 7 in Hagåtña (formerly Agana), Guam, dates from about 1800, during the 1784-1802 administration of Spanish governor Manuel Moro. It was an uncovered fort with a manposteria (coral stone and lime mortar) parapet, rising about 10 feet (3.0 m) above a sloping hillside. It is listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places, as the only remaining fortification of the Spanish Era in Hagåtña.The fort was mentioned in 1802 by an officer of an American whaling ship, who recorded that the fort had seven guns and ten men, and that it fired a salute when the governor entered a new church in Agana. Russian Otto von Kotzebue, in 1817, noted that it had only a few guns. It was in ruins by 1887. It was used by Americans as a signal station until 1933, and was converted to a gun emplacement by the Japanese occupiers during World War II.It became a park in 1960 and was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1974.

Gleb Shishmaryov

Gleb Semyonovich Shishmaryov (Russian: Глеб Семёнович Шишмарёв, Gleb Semenovich Shishmarev; 1781 - November 3, 1835, Saint Petersburg) was a rear admiral of the Imperial Russian Navy. He is reputed for having surveyed the then little-known coast of Alaska as navigator. In 1815–1818 he accompanied Otto von Kotzebue on his voyage to Alaska and around the world.

In 1820 Shishmaryov returned to Alaska in command of the ship Blagonamerennyi (Good Intent), accompanied by Lt. Mikhail Nikolaevich Vasiliev (1770–1847) on the ship Otkrytie (Discovery). Shishmaref and Vasiliev

entered the Chukchi Sea and explored the coast of Alaska from Kotzebue Sound to Icy Cape and later from Norton Sound to Cape Newenham.The name of this Russian explorer is sometimes transliterated as "Shishmaref" in the United States; the town of Shishmaref, Alaska, and the Shishmaref Inlet have been named after him.

Goodhope Bay

Goodhope Bay is a small bay in the Kotzebue Sound, on the Chukchi Sea-facing coast of Alaska. Its size is only 16 mi. across.

It is located on the northern coast of the Seward Peninsula, 30 mi. W of Deering; Kotzebue-Kobuk Low .

Lieutenant Otto von Kotzebue named the area while exploring the region in August 1816, as he had had "good hope" in making important geographic discoveries.

Goodhope River

The Goodhope River is a stream, 46 miles (74 km) long, on the Seward Peninsula in the U.S. state of Alaska. It heads about 5.3 miles (8.5 km) west-southwest of Cloud Lake and flows generally northeast to Goodhope Bay on Kotzebue Sound of the Chukchi Sea. The river mouth is about 27 miles (43 km) west of Cape Deceit and Deering in the Northwest Arctic Borough. The entire course of the river lies within the Bering Land Bridge National Preserve.The river name derives from "Goodhope Bay". Explorer Otto von Kotzebue assigned the name to the bay, which he visited in 1816, because he had good hope of making important geographic discoveries in the region. The river's Inupiat name was reported in 1998 as Pittam Kuurua.

Kotzebue Sound

Kotzebue Sound (Russian: Залив Коцебу) is an arm of the Chukchi Sea in the western region of the U.S. state of Alaska. It is on the north side of the Seward Peninsula and bounded on the east by the Baldwin Peninsula. It is 100 miles (160 km) long and 70 miles (110 km) wide.

Kotzebue Sound is located in the transitional climate zone, which is characterized by long, cold winters and cool summers. The average low temperature during January is −12 °F (−24 °C); the average high during July is 58 °F (14 °C). Temperature extremes have been measured from −52 °F (−47 °C) to 85 °F (29 °C). Snowfall averages 40 inches (1,016 mm), with total precipitation of 9 inches (229 mm) per year. Kotzebue Sound is ice-free from early July until early October.

The towns of Kotzebue, Kiwalik and Deering are on the shores of Kotzebue Sound. Kotzebue Sound was explored and named in 1816 by Baltic German Lieutenant Otto von Kotzebue while searching for the Northeast Passage in the service of Russia.


Kõue (German: Kau) is a village in Kose Parish, Harju County in northern Estonia.

Explorer Otto von Kotzebue (1788–1846) spent his last years in Kõue Manor (Triigi) which he bought in 1832.

Estonian mountaineer and photographer Jaan Künnap was also born and raised in Kõue.

Rose Atoll

Rose Atoll, sometimes called Rose Island or Motu O Manu by people of the nearby Manu'a Islands, is an oceanic atoll within the U.S. territory of American Samoa. It is an uninhabited wildlife refuge. It is the southernmost point belonging to the United States. The land area is 0.214 km2 (53 acres). The total area of the atoll, including lagoon and reef flat amounts to 5 km2 (1,200 acres). Just west of the northernmost point is a channel into the lagoon, about 40 m wide. There are two islets on the northeastern rim of the reef, larger Rose Island in the east (3.5 m high) and the non-vegetated Sand Island in the north (1.5 m high).

The earliest Western sighting was June 13, 1722, during the voyage of Jacob Roggeveen, who called it Vuil Eiland "useless island." The name Rose Island comes from its sighting by Louis de Freycinet in 1819. He named it after his wife Rose. While the second woman to circumnavigate the globe, Rose de Freycinet was the first to tell her tale. In his official report Louis de Freycinet records that 'I named Rose Island, from the name of someone who is extremely dear to me'. Soon afterwards, in 1824, it was seen by the expedition under Otto von Kotzebue, who named it Kordinkov after his First Lieutenant.

The Rose Atoll Marine National Monument that lies on the two outstanding islands of the Atoll is managed cooperatively between the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the government of American Samoa.

Sarichef Island

Sarichef Island is a long and narrow coastal island on the Chukchi Sea-facing coast of Alaska. It is located at the mouth of the Shishmaref Inlet, Kotzebue-Kobuk Low. It is located hundred miles east of Russia, which can be seen on clear days. The highest point on the island is the 6-meter cemetery in Shishmaref. The island is rapidly disappearing due to the sea level rise associated with global warming.Sarichef Island is 7 km (4.3 mi) in length. The highest point on the island is 6 m (19.7 ft) above sea level.

Shishmaref town and Shishmaref Airport are located on this island.

This island was named in 1816 by explorer Lt. Otto von Kotzebue, of the Imperial Russian Navy, "in the honor of his worthy" Vice Admiral Gavril Sarychev (1763–1831).

Shishmaref Inlet

The Shishmaref Inlet is a coastal lagoon on the Chukchi Sea-facing shores of Alaska. It is 5 miles in length.

The location of the Shishmaref Inlet is SW 17 mi. to the SW from Sarichef Island, at the mouth of the Serpentine River, Kotzebue-Kobuk Low.

This lagoon was named Shishmaref Bay in 1816 by explorer Lt. Otto von Kotzebue, of the Imperial Russian Navy, after Capt. Lt. Gleb Shishmaryov who accompanied him on his exploration.

The Inuit name of this lagoon has not been reported.


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