Linda Hall Library of Science, Engineering, & Technology
Back to the LHL Home Page | Back to the Exhibitions Home Page


Voyages: Scientific Circumnavigations 1679 to 1859
  The Voyage of La Pérouse 1785-1788
Lessep’s trek from Petropavlovsk to Paris took one year. On the map, it seems a relatively short journey from the tip of the peninsula to the mainland, and on to Okhtosk in eastern Russia, but this portion took more than twice as long as the entire journey from the eastern shore to Paris. This was due to the difficulty of the terrain on the peninsula, which is covered with snow, hot springs, and volcanoes. Lesseps forged a freezing river on a raft, and crossed long distances through heavy snowstorms in a caravan of thirty-five sleighs pulled by dogs.

Lesseps was unaware that the journal of his captain, which he faithfully protected, would be the crucial, precious, and only surviving record of the grand voyage of La Pérouse. He learned of the tragic fate of the expedition when he successfully hand-delivered the journal to Comte de Ségur, the French ambassador in St. Petersburg. Lesseps continued west to Paris, where he was received by the king at Versailles in October, 1788.


Sleighs travelling through Kamtschatka (detail)

from Jean-Baptiste-Barthélemy Lesseps'
Journal Historique du Voyage
de M. de Lesseps.
Paris: Imprimerie Royale, 1790.

La Pérouse: Page 6 of 7.
back   next  

introduction | dampier | anson | bougainville | cook's 1st | cook's 2nd | cook's 3rd
la perouse | freycinet | duperrey | d'urville | laplace | vaillant
kotzebue | darwin | wilkes | novara

View printed catalog in Adobe PDF format.
bibliography | order the catalog | order the images
credits | history of science | linda hall home

Copyright 2002 Linda Hall Library.