was rendered habitable a long time ago. Archeological excavation of the Ushkovskaya
Site from Neolithic and Paleolithic times supported the idea of the researchers
that the first people to settle in this area were ancient people. Although native
people such as Itelmen, Koryaks, and Chukchi preserved a lot of legends, distinctive
traditions and even rites, their ancient history remains a secret. What we know
comes from evidence and descriptions of pioneer Cossacks who made their way
to the north-eastern parts of Siberia and settled on the river Anadyr in the
middle of the 17th century. The first Russian to set foot on Kamchatka seems
to have been the merchant Fedor Alexeyev, a comrade in arms of the famous Cossack
Semyon Dezhnev. However, he went there involuntarily, when his sailing ship
was driven south from the Anadyr in a storm in 1648. Alexeyev and his companions
were never seen again.
The honor of being the first to make the geographical discovery of Kamchatka
and provide the first account of the peninsula goes to the Cossack, Vladimir
Atlasov, who was appointed commandant of Anadyr in 1695. Two years later (1697)
he erected a wooden cross on the banks of the river Kamchatka symbolizing the
acquisition of the peninsula by the Russian empire. With his troop of Cossacks
he made his way to the south coast of Kamchatka. Vladimir Atlasov was the first
to force the native inhabitants to pay tribute - yasak. These rich tax payments
along with first accounts about new land ( description and maps, information
about nature and local people, volcanoes and hot springs) were brought to Yakutsk
by Atlasov in 1700, from where he was urgently sent to Czar Peter the Great.
The latter got interested in developing a new land and in 1724 gave an order
and personally put together instructions regarding the first expedition to Kamchatka
that took three years (1725-1728) but, unfortunately, didn't achieve its goal.
The task of the expedition was to discover whether there was a land bridge between
Asia and America to the north. However, the first Kamchatka Expedition provided
new information about the eastern coast of Siberia, new maps and the exact determination
of coordinates and straits separating Asia from America.
The horse-drawn carts of the second expedition left Petersburg in 1733 under
the leadership of Vitus Bering being also the head of the First Kamchatka Expedition.
It had the following tasks: research and the creation of maps of North and Northeast
Asia, determination of navigability of the Arctic Ocean, and of the ways to
America and Japan, and research of underground resources and the nature , life
ands traditions of the population of the peninsula.
In 1739 Bering's navigator, Ivan Yelagin, arrived in Kamchatka on the coast
of Avachinskaya Bay. Next to Itelman settlement he founded building of the future
main city of Kamchatka - Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky and created plans for a harbor
and a port. On the 17th of October 1740, the small boats of the second expedition
"St. Apostle Paul" and "St. Apostle Peter" arrived in Avachinskaya
Bay.This date is considered the date of founding of the port of St. Petropavlovsk
and of the city Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky. In June 1741 V. Bering led his expedition
to open up Alaska and Aleutian Islands.
The final stage of the Second Kamchatka Expedition continued for practically18
years. In 1743 its work was stopped by the Senate. This expedition went far
beyond the limit of its tasks. It opened a new epoch in the life of Kamchatka,
all north-east of Russia and North America.