All the European voyages of exploration bore the stamp of the conceited, inegalitarian and ruthlessly acquisitive societies and regimes which sent them out. When viewed as feats of human endeavour, however, they have their positive aspects, the Bellingshausen expedition no less than others. Cook’s second expedition had taken 1003 days in even more challenging logistic and cultural conditions than Bellingshausen’s, which lasted 751. For example, most of Bellingshausen’s landfalls after long passages were excellent, apart from a slight wobble when approaching the imperfectly described ‘Shetlandia’, but that was only possible because he carried better information with him, often derived from Cook, in the form of reliable charts, atlases and voyage narratives. That said, Cook’s second expedition is the only available benchmark.


Antarctic Peninsula South Shetland Island European History South Sandwich Island Russian Antarctic Expedition 
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© Rip Bulkeley 2014

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  • Rip Bulkeley

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