Bellingshausen wrote his reports in the language of a particular organization, the Imperial Russian Navy, at a particular juncture in the history of the monarchy which it served. Naturally he also had his own thoughts about what he had achieved, and his own way of describing it. Various approaches to such matters have various merits. The story of Bellingshausen’s own background, and his life before and after the expedition, is as good a place as any to begin.1
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