Steller's History of Kamchatka: Collected Information Concerning the History of Kamchatka, Its Peoples, Their Manners, Names, Lifestyle, and Various Customary Practices

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Alaska University, 2003 - Nature - 298 pages
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Everything was of interest to Georg Wilhelm Steller, who the Russian Academy of Sciences appointed as naturalist to Vitus Bering's second Kamchatka expedition. Steller arrived in Kamchatka in 1740, sailed with Bering to discover Alaska in 1741, and composed his handwritten manuscript on Kamchatka in 1743 and 1744. That manuscript was finally published in German thirty years after his death, and this first-ever English translation of that German edition is most valuable for its descriptions of the natural and human worlds that Steller found in the mid-eighteenth century.

Steller's extensive natural history includes special contributions to the study of fish, in which he described over thirty new species and two new genera, and to ornithology, which also includes the first descriptions of numerous species. His careful observations of Kamchatka's Native peoples add to the small and invaluable collection of ethnographic and linguistic descriptions made during the initial acculturation process and the growth of a new economy based on the fur trade, which changed their lives forever. Steller's observations of the economy of Kamchatka and the role of the Cossacks is refreshingly frank. He was the first scientist to suggest, based on direct observation, similarities between the ethnography and natural history of the Russian Far East and that of the newly discovered Alaska.

Steller's breadth and depth in recording the natural and human world of eighteenth-century Alaska make this new translation an important reference for readers interested in all aspects of North Pacific and Russian American history.

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Contents

About the Rivers
21
About Various Springs of Kamchatka
25
About the Mountains
29
Copyright

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About the author (2003)

PROFESSOR EMERITUS MARVIN W. FALK is semi-retired from the University of Alaska Fairbanks where he continues to edit his "Rasmuson Library Historical Translation Series" for the University of Alaska Press. Trained in the history of Europe, he came to UAF to work as a bibliographer, developing the university library's special collection on Alaska and the Polar Regions and teaching courses in history and northern studies. He later became Curator of Rare Books and began publishing a series of historical reference works on Alaska, including articles, cartobibliographies, and scholarly translations. He is a past president of the Alaska Historical Society.

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