Billings Joseph Josephovich
of the Russian fleet, round-the-world seafarer, explorer of the
North Pacific Ocean and Northeast Asia.
Billings was born in the town of Tonham-Green near London in the
family of a fisherman, from an early age sailed on ships.
In 1776–1780 He
participated in the third round-the-world expedition of J. Cook as
an assistant astronomer. In
1783, he was accepted into the Russian service as a midshipman, and
in 1785, as a lieutenant commander, he was appointed head of the
Northeast Secret Geographical and Astronomical Expedition, whose
main task was to study Kolyma, Chukotka, the islands and the seas
north of East Siberia, and the mapping of the northwest coast of
expedition was asked, in addition to this, to check the rumors about
the existence of land north of the Siberian shores and establish its
In 1786, the expedition arrived in Okhotsk, and from there to
Verkhnekolymsk, where it laid two vessels. In
May 1787, the "Pallas" and "Yasashna" ships were launched. The
first of them was headed by Billings himself, and the second by his
assistant, G.A. Sarychev. At
the end of June, the ships reached the mouth of the Kolyma and three
times tried to go east to Chukotka, but each time they stopped near
Cape Baranov Kamen - heavy ice blocked the way further. The
expedition stopped these attempts and returned by land to Okhotsk.
The Admiralty Board was extremely dissatisfied with the results of
the voyage, especially the fact that no “intelligence of the mother
land” was carried out.
In the autumn of 1789, on the ship "Glory to Russia", Billings
accidentally opened Jonah
1790, together with G.A. Sarychev
sailed from Petropavlovsk to the shores of Russian America.
Subsequently, in the winter of 1791-1792. Billings,
as instructed by Catherine II, investigated the Chukotka Peninsula,
making an unprecedented transition from reindeer in the Bering
Strait to Nizhnekolymsk on deer in the winter. From
there he arrived in Irkutsk in 1793, and in 1794 he returned to
a result of the Billings expedition, the exact outlines of the
shores of the Chukotka Peninsula were mapped and the first reliable
map of its internal regions was drawn up.
In 1795, Billings was transferred to the Black Sea Fleet, where
he participated in the inventory of the northern shores of the Black
Sea from the Kerch Strait to the mouth of the Dniester. According
to the results of these works, he compiled and published an atlas of
the Black Sea. In
1799, the rank of captain-commander Billings resigned.
The circumstances of the last years of life and the place of
death are unknown.
Merit Billings awarded the Order of St.
Vladimir of 3 degrees.
the coast of Kolyma, the southwestern entrance cape of the
and named by expedition F.P. Wrangel in
Long Strait. The
name is given by cape.