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When did the pioneers first appear in the Far East?


They appeared in Yakutia in the 1620s. History has preserved the name of Nikifor Penda. Having gathered a detachment of 40 people, Penda began his march about 1620 from Turukhansk. At this point the right tributary, the Lower Tunguska, falls into the River Yenisei. The detachment came to the upper reaches of this river on rafts under sail from where it reached the River Lena by land. There they again made rafts and sailed northward along the Lena. In the place now occupied by the city of Yakutsk Penda and his fellow explorers saw the Yakut for the first time. The detachment returned in a slightly different way – first to the upper reaches of the Lena, then walked to the Angara, another right tributary of the Yenisei, and reached Turukhansk by water. Several other pioneers came to Yakutia after Penda.In 1632, Pyotr Beketov, the commander of a streltsy detachment, 100-strong, built the Lena ostrog*, the present-day Yakutsk, which bacame a base for the further advancement of the Russians eastward. Seven years later, in 1639, they reached the “end of the world” – a Cossack detachment, headed by Ivan Moskvitin, reached the shore of the Pacific near the present-day port of Okhotsk. By the late 17th century, the Russians had information, although incomplete, about the whole of the Far East, including Kamchatka and the Kurile Islands.

* The ostrog is the Russian name for a fortification which was usually erected on a steep river bank. Housing constructions would be surrounded by wooden walls with turrets where cannons would be placed. Sometimes the ostrog was enclosed by a dirt bank and encircled within a deep moat.


Answer the questions:


1. When did Nikifor Penda and his people begin their march?

2. What kind of transportation did they use?

3. Where did Penda’s detachment meet the Yakuts for the first time?

4. What was Pyotr Beketov?

5. When and how was Yakutsk founded? What significance did it have?

6. When did the Cossack detachment headed by Ivan Moskvitin reach the Pacific?

7. When did the Russians have the information about the whole of the Far East?

Make up sentences about the first explorers of the Russian Far East, using the key-words in the columns:


1620s the late 17th century Ivan Moskvitin The Russians Nikifor Penda Pyotr Beketov Lena Ostrog Okhotsk the whole of the Far East the Yakut


What geographical discoveries were made as the pioneers

Went on their travels?

In 1640, the Cossacks from Moskvitin’s detachment were first Europeans to come to Sakhalin. In 1648, Cossack Semyon Dezhnev was the first to sail through the strait which separates Asia from America. In the same year, Fedot Popov, who took part in Dezhnev’s march, was the first Russian to come to Kamchatka. In 1651-1653, Yerofei Khabarov, a former peasant and later a seafarer, drew a detailed map of the upper and middle reaches of the river Amur, almost up to the present city of Khabarovsk. For a long time this map was the main source of drawing maps by Russian and foreign geographers. In 1697, Siberian Cossack Vladimir Atlasov gave the first information about Kamchatka and the Kurile Islands (Fedot Popov died from scurvy in Kamchatka before he could tell the government about his discovery). So the Russian pioneers also made their contribution to the great geographical discoveries of the 15th-17th centuries which is shown by geographical names. For example, the northeasternmost point in Asia (Cape Dezhnev), a range in the Chukchi Peninsula and a bay in the Bering Sea were named after Dezhnev. A tributary of the River Kamchatka was named Fedotovshchina (after Fedot Popov). One of the largest cities in the Far East was named after Khabarov – the city of Khabarovsk. One of the Kurile Islands was named after Atlasov.


Explain the dates:


1640, 1648, 1651-1653, 1697.


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