Humans have navigated the seas since antiquity. The Ancient Egyptians and Phoenicians navigated the Mediterranean Sea and the Red Sea, while Hannu was the first sea explorer for whom substantial information exists in the modern era. Hannu sailed along the Red Sea, eventually reaching the Arabian Peninsula and the African Coast around 2750 BC. In the 1st millennium BC, Phoenicians and Greeks established colonies throughout the Mediterranean, including outlets like the Black Sea. The seas along the eastern and southern Asian coast were used by the Arabs and Chinese for navigation, while the North Sea and the Baltic Sea were known to Europeans during Roman times. Other seas were not used for navigation in the ancient era, as they had yet to be discovered.
The White Sea was known to Novgorodians and used for navigation since not later that the 13th century. Pomors, living at the White Sea coast, also sailed to Svalbard, but the Barents Sea got its name later, due to the 16th century Dutch expedition headed by Willem Barentsz. Other seas in Arctic Russia were explored in connection with the search of the Northern Sea Route. In the first half of the 17th century the Kara Sea was already used on a regular basis for navigation between the city of Arkhangelsk and the mouth of the Ob River and upstream to the city of Mangazeya (Mangazeya Trade Route) and to the mouth of the Yenisei River (Yenisey Trade Route). In 1648, Semyon Dezhnev led an expedition down the Kolyma River, around the cape now known as Cape Dezhnev, and to the mouth of the Anadyr River. By the end of the 17th century, the seas along what is now the Arctic and Pacific coasts of Russia were already discovered, although the systematic description and reliable mapping of the coast line only began in the 18th century, and the geographical locations of all islands were not established until the first half of the 20th century, when aviation was employed.
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