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Bulkeley R.,38 Lonsdale Road
Polar Record | Year: 2013

In 1949 a reassessment of the Imperial Russian Navy's Antarctic expedition of 1819-1821 was promulgated in the Soviet Union. The contention was that Russian seamen had made the first discovery of the mainland of Antarctica, two or three days before the northern tip of the Antarctic Peninsula was sighted by a British expedition, under William Smith and Edward Bransfield, sent to take formal possession of the South Shetland Islands. The new Soviet line apparently required that an important passage in a report which Captain Bellingshausen had sent from Australia in 1820 should, as far as possible, be overlooked or downplayed. Nineteenth century editions of the report and its covering letter are translated, the contemporary ice vocabulary in which they were phrased is explained, and the practice of discounting parts of them in the past and continuing to ignore those passages today is discussed. © 2011 Cambridge University Press.

Bulkeley R.,38 Lonsdale Road
Polar Record | Year: 2015

The celebrated meeting between Captain Bellingshausen of the Imperial Russian Navy and the American sealing skipper Nathaniel Brown Palmer, off the South Shetland Islands in February 1821, has often been described by following just one or other of the two men's divergent and in some respects irreconcilable accounts. The most contentious issue is whether or not Palmer told Bellingshausen about the existence of a body of land to the south of the South Shetlands, known today as the Antarctic Peninsula. This note attempts to reach a balanced assessment of the matter by examining evidence from both sides, including several previously unconsidered items. It concludes that, although the truth will never be known with absolute certainty, the basic American account is more plausible, by the narrowest of narrow margins, than the Russian. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2015.

Bulkeley R.,38 Lonsdale Road
Polar Record | Year: 2011

On 7 December 1945 a captured German whaling factory, Wikinger, was allocated to the Soviet Union under the terms of the Potsdam Agreement between that country, the United States and the United Kingdom. In the first section, this article presents the first detailed account of how Wikinger was seized by the Royal Navy and eventually transferred to Soviet ownership. The second section illustrates the hostile attitudes of western governments towards the Slava whaling flotilla during the cold war, and the degree to which their suspicions were focused on the work of scientists assigned to the flotilla. The next four sections trace the fluctuating perceptions and presentations, during the Tsarist and early Soviet periods, of the Imperial Russian Navy's Antarctic expedition of 1819-1821, the problems in respect of Antarctica which confronted Soviet diplomacy and propaganda in the 1940s, and the new story, about Russians having been the first people to discover Antarctica, which was developed in order to address them. It is then possible, in the seventh section, to explain the political utility of the Slava flotilla in the early 1950s. An eighth section sketches the divergent cultural fortunes of the Bellingshausen expedition and the Slava flotilla after the period under consideration. This article discusses the use of whaling and history in support of Soviet Antarctic policy between the end of World War 2 and the International Geophysical Year (IGY) of 1957-1958. But the Slava whaling flotilla did not just play a part in the historicisation of Soviet Antarctic policy. It was itself a historically constituted object, fraught with meanings on both sides of the cold war. For that reason the opportunity is taken to give a more detailed account of the flotilla's origins than has been available hitherto. The author notes that two contributors to this journal have preceded him in some of these matters (Armstrong 1950, 1971; Gan 2009). He ventures to suggest, however, that the connections between whaling, historiography and public information management in Soviet Antarctic policy have not been fully demonstrated before this. © 2010 Cambridge University Press.

Bulkeley R.,38 Lonsdale Road
Polar Record | Year: 2016

In a recent interesting contribution to this journal, G.A. Mawer suggested that Antarctica was first so named in 1890 (Mawer 2008). New evidence however reveals that Antarctica first received its modern one-word name as early as 1840 at a congress of Italian scientists. The new name was soon adapted for other languages, and its use in English can be traced from 1849. A hypothesis is advanced as to why alternative French and German names were coined later in the century. The first map to use the new place name was published in 1843, and the first map to show a complete outline of the continent, estimated from expedition reports, was produced in 1844. But nothing could become the settled name of the south polar continent until its existence was confirmed at the turn of the twentieth century. © 2015 Cambridge University Press.

Bulkeley R.,38 Lonsdale Road
Polar Record | Year: 2010

The first woman to work as a professional scientist in Antarctica was Mariya Vasilyevna Klyonova, during the first Soviet Antarctic Expedition of 1955-1957. Otherwomenwere crewmembers on the icebreakers Lena and Ob. There is an outside possibility that there was more to one of them than meets the eye. But we shall never know. © 2009 Cambridge University Press.

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