List of Russian Explorers - Alphabetical List - L


Contents: Top 0–9 A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
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Grigory Langsdorf
physician, naturalist, consul general of Russia in Rio de Janeiro
Langsdorf participated as a naturalist and physician in the first Russian circumnavigation in 1803–05. Independently, he explored the Aleutians, Sitka and Kodiak Islands in 1805–07. In 1813 he became consul general of Russia in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. There he explored the flora, fauna and geography of the province of Minas Gerais with French naturalist Augustin Saint-Hilaire in 1813–20. In 1821–22 he led an exploratory and scientific expedition from São Paulo to Pará in the Amazon Rainforest via a fluvial route, accompanied by an international team of scientists. In 1826–29 he led a 6000 km long expedition from Porto Feliz to the Amazon River and back emassing huge scientific collections now deposited in Kunstkamera.
Dmitry Laptev
Russian Admiral
A cousin of Khariton Laptev, Dmitry Laptev led one of the parties of the Great Northern Expedition in 1739–42. He described the sea coastline from the mouth of the Lena River to the Cape Bolshoy Baranov east of the mouth of the Kolyma River, the basin and the mouth of the Anadyr River, and the land route from the Anadyr fortress to the Penzhin Bay. In 1741–42, Laptev surveyed the Bolshoy Anyuy River.
Khariton Laptev
Russian Navy officer
A cousin of Dmitry Laptev, Khariton Laptev led one of the parties of the Great Northern Expedition in 1739–42. Together with Semion Chelyuskin, N. Chekin, and G. Medvedev, Laptev described the Taimyr Peninsula from the mouth of the Khatanga River to the mouth of the Pyasina river and discovered several islands. He participated in the creation of the "General Map of the Siberian and Kamchatka Coast".
Adam Laxman^
Russian Army officer, diplomat
Son of Kirill Laxman, Adam Laxman led a diplomatic mission to Japan in 1791–92, with the aim to return Daikokuya Kōdayū and another Japanese castaway in exchange for trade concessions from Tokugawa shogunate. He made valuable observations, but returned to Russia essentially empty-handed, though he possibly obtained the first official Japanese documents granting very limited permission to trade, to a nation other than China or the Netherlands.
Kirill Laxman*
clergyman, naturalist
Kirill Laxman became a priest first in St. Petersburg and then in the Siberian town of Barnaul. In 1764–68 he explored Siberia, reaching Irkutsk, Baikal, Kiakhta and the border with China and researching the Siberian flora and fauna. In 1782 he founded the oldest museum in Siberia in Irkutsk, where he had settled earlier and was a business partner of Alexander Baranov (the future governor of Russian America). Laxman was engaged in attempts to establish relationships between Russia and Japan. He brought Daikokuya Kōdayū, a Japanese castaway, to the court of empress Catherine the Great.
Mikhail Lazarev§
Admiral, circumnavigator, hero of the Battle of Navarino, commander of the Russian Black Sea Fleet, tutor of admirals and war heroes Nakhimov, V. Kornilov and V. Istomin
Lazarev thrice circumnavigated the globe. He led the 1813–16 circumnavigation aboard the vessel Suvorov and discovered Suvorov Atoll. He commanded Mirny, the second ship in the Russian circumnavigation of 1819–21 under the leadership of Faddey Bellingshausen aboard Vostok – this expedition was the first to discover the contenent of Antarctica on January 28, 1820 (New Style). They also discovered and named Peter I Island, Zavodovski, Leskov and Visokoi Islands, the Antarctic peninsula mainland and Alexander Island (Alexander Coast), and made some discoveries in the tropical waters of the Pacific. In 1822–25 Lazarev sailed around the globe for the third time on his frigate Kreyser.
Alexei Leonov$
(born 1934)
cosmonaut and Soviet Air Force General, twice a Hero of the Soviet Union, painter, writer
On March 18, 1965, connected to the spacecraft Voskhod 2 by a 5.35 meter tether, Leonov became the first person to make a spacewalk, or extra-vehicular activity. He was in open space for 12 min 9 sec. At the end of the spacewalk, Leonov's spacesuit had inflated in the vacuum to the point where he could not reenter the airlock. He opened a valve to allow some of the suit's pressure to bleed off, and was barely able to get back inside the capsule, where his companion Pavel Belyayev assisted him. Subsequently Leonov made a second spaceflight on the Soyuz 19, a part of the Apollo–Soyuz Test Project in 1975. Thus Leonov participated in the first joint flight of the U.S. and Soviet space programs. He published several books and albums of paintings, some of which he created in space.
Mikhail Levashov^
(c. 1738–1774-76)
Russian Navy officer
In 1766–70 Levashov was second-in-command in the "secret" expedition to the North Pacific led by Pyotr Krenitsyn, as ordered by Catherine the Great. They explored the Aleutian Islands and part of the Alaskan shore, discovering good haven in Unalaska and many features of the Alaskan coast. Levashov also explored and described the Commander Islands. On the basis of their explorations the first general map of the Aleutian Islands was created.
Yuri Lisyansky^
Russian Navy officer, circumnavigator
In 1803–06 Lisyansky aboard the Neva together with Ivan Krusenstern on the Nadezhda led the first Russian circumnavigation of the world. The purpose of the expedition was to establish trade with China and Japan and to examine California for a possible colony. The ships split near Hawaii and Lisyanski headed to Russian Alaska, where the Neva became essential in defeating the Tlingit in the Battle of Sitka. Lisyansky was the first to describe the Hawaiian monk seal on the island which now bears his name. He met Krusenstern again in Macau, but they soon separated. Eventually, Lisyansky was the first to return to Kronstadt.
Fyodor Litke^
Russian Admiral, circumnavigator
Litke took part in Vasily Golovnin's world cruise on the ship Kamchatka in 1817–19. In 1821–24, Litke explored the coastline of Novaya Zemlya, the White Sea, and the eastern Barents Sea. In 1826–29, he led the circumnavigation on the ship Senyavin and accompanied Mikhail Staniukovich on the sloop Moller. During this voyage they explored the Bering Sea (including the Pribilof Islands, St. Matthew Island and the Commander Islands), the Bonin Islands off Japan, and the Carolines, discovering 12 new islands. Litke was a co-founder and the president of the Russian Geographic Society in 1845–50 and 1857–72. He was the president of the Russian Academy of Sciences in 1864–82, and occupied a number of major military and state offices.
Fyodor Luzhin*
cartographer, geodesist
In 1719–1721, together with Ivan Yevreinov, Luzhin made the first instrumental mapping of Kamchatka and the first map of the Kuril Islands during the "secret expedition", as ordered by Peter the Great. In 1723–24 he made surveys of different parts of East Siberia near Irkutsk. In 1725–27, Luzhin participated in the first Kamchatka Expedition led by Vitus Bering.
Ivan Lyakhov
(? – c. 1800)
Lyakhov, a merchant, investigated the New Siberian Islands in three expeditions on dogsleds in 1770, 1773–74 and 1775. He hoped to find mammoth ivory there as he believed the islands were mainly formed by a substratum of bones and tusks of mammoths. He explored the follow-up Lyakhovsky Islands, crossed the Sannikov Strait and discovered Kotelny Island.

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