A Voyage of Discovery into the South Sea and Beering's Straits, for the purpose of exploring a North-East Passage

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Author: Otto von Kotzebue (1787-1846)

Year: 1821

Publisher: Longman, Hurst, Rees, orme and Brown

Place: London


3 volumes. xvi+[blank]+hand-colored aquatint+358 pages with hand-colored aquatint frontispiece, 2 hand-colored aquatint plates, tables and 2 folding maps; 433 pages with hand-colored aquatint frontispiece, 2 hand-colored aquatint plates, tables, figures, 3 maps (2 folding) and foldout plate; 442 pages with hand-colored aquatint frontispiece, tables, figure and map. Octavos (8 3/4" x 5 1/2") bound in half leather with five raised spine bands in gilt lettering over marbled boards. (Abbey Travel 596; Hill 944; Sabin 38291) First edition in English.

Otto von Kotzebue was a Russian officer and navigator in the Imperial Russian Navy. He was born in Reval. He was known for his explorations of Oceania. 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. 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, 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.


4 folding plates laid down on linen, foxing and offsetting, tear to inner margin of frontispiece to volume 1 (repaired), one plate chipped at edges, tear to K4 of volume 2, former library copy with old ink stamp to frontispieces and perforated stamps to titles, lacking half-titles else a very nice set.

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