Gedenstrom Matvey Matveyevich
Researcher of the Arctic and Siberia.
Born in Riga, in the family of an employee, a Swedish political
to passport data for 1798, Gedenstrom was a Swedish citizen. Nothing
definite is known about the education he received. According
to some sources, he studied at the University of Dorpat (Tartu), but
the archival documents of the university do not confirm this.
Until 1806, Gödenstrom worked in Riga as a translator for the
Governor General of the Baltic provinces of the Russian Empire, then
as a customs inspector in Riga and Libau (Liepaja).
In 1808, he arrived from St. Petersburg in Tobolsk at the
disposal of the Governor-General of Siberia Pestel to take up an
administrative position. At
this time, it became known about the discovery by industrialists of
the Sannikov, Lyakhov and
Syrovatsky islands north of the mouth of the Yana. Because
of the fishing rights on these islands, litigation began, and it was
decided to send an expedition to clarify the position and size of
the islands, the possibilities of fishing on them and resolve the
litigation between the applicants for fishing.
State Chancellor N.P. Rumyantsev
instructed the governor to appoint an energetic official to the
expedition, to provide him with the means, tools, and assistants. The
choice fell on Gedenstrom, who was out of office. In
this connection, he wrote: “I was then in Tobolsk, where I was sent
in February 1808 by imperial command, to wait for the order assigned
to me in the service; therefore,
in May of this year, he was chosen to describe these lands. ...
It was announced to me that, upon successful completion of the
assignment entrusted to me, I could not only receive the title of
Titular Counselor requested by the city of Siberia, the
governor-general, but also hope for the greater differences”.
Unprepared for such an exercise, Gödenstrom had to do a lot to
learn how to work with instruments, the method of determining the
and since 1811 he was replaced by the surveyor P. Pshenitsyn.
In the spring of 1809, crossing the sleds from the mouth
of the Yana to the New Siberian
divided the squad into three groups and at the head of one of them
described about 200 km of the coastline opened in 1806 by the
industrialist Syrovatsky Island, which was given the name New
1809 - 1810 he
spent on the Siberian coast southeast of Bolshaya
Lyakhovsky Island, from where in the spring of 1810 he went on sledges to
the mouth of the Indigirka and then to the east coast of
Siberia Island. Hedenstrom
believed that along the northern coast of Siberia, east of the mouth
of Indigirka to America itself, stretches a chain of large islands. In
search of land to the north of the islands, his detachment walked
along the ridged ice over 90 km east of New Siberia and was stopped
by a large expanse of clear water. This
was the first indication of the existence of the so-called Great
Siberian Polynya. From
the polynya, the researchers turned south and reached the mouth of
the Kolyma. From
there, they repeated the search for land, having traveled over 150
km to the northeast, but they did not find the land again. The
question of the “Sannikov Land” is connected with the expedition of
Subsequently, he wrote: "For three years I traveled, by the
highest order, along the shores and islands of the Arctic Sea and
brought from these harsh countries detailed knowledge of that land
and ruined health".
The result of the activities of Gedenstrom was the description
and map of the Novosibirsk Islands, as well as the coast of Siberia
between the mouths of the Yana and Kolyma. He
opened the "Wooden"
a mass of petrified wood, brought from Kotelniy Island
first organic residues.
Bay Gedyshtrom from the satellite. March
After two years of work on the expedition, Gedenstrom left for
Irkutsk to report on its results.
At the beginning of 1812 he was recalled to Irkutsk, where he
served first in the office of the governor, and then held the post
of Verkhneudinsk police officer, and in these administrative
positions without leaving scientific research and collecting
mineralogical and botanical collections, making many trips around
Yakutia and Transbaikalia.
The personality of Gedenstrom and the reviews of his
contemporaries are very ambiguous. On
the one hand, people who knew him described Gödenstrom as a very
educated person, fluent in many European languages, a science
connoisseur, benevolent, ready to help. His
outstanding human qualities were manifested not only in the Arctic
the Alekseevsky ravelin of the Peter and Paul Fortress, his friend
Decembrist Gavrila Batenkov was serving a 20-year prison sentence. Gedenstrom
had an almost impracticable desire to visit a friend. He
met the commander of the guard company and with his help got into
the territory of the fortress. Dressed
in a soldier's uniform, under the guise of batman Commander
Gedenshtrom entered the guardroom and in one of the shifts became a
sentry in the interior of the casemates of the fortress. Having
found Baten'kov’s cell, he spent a whole hour with a friend. Exposing
threatened with shackles and Siberia, and perhaps the gallows, but
nothing could stop Gedenstrom.
At the same time, serious negative traits of his character were
noted: he was unclean, made a large fortune by deception while
buying bread on behalf of the Irkutsk governor, tried to blame him
when the new governor, M.M. Speransky, arrived in Siberia with the inspection.
did not save Gedenstrom from punishment. For
excess of power and embezzlement, he was removed from office in
Special Committee decided to not allow him to any posts. Gedenstrom
settled in Tobolsk. The
Western Siberian authorities, wanting to take advantage of the
knowledge and experience of Gedenstrom, obtained permission for him
to enter the service. In
1827, Gedenstrom was allowed to return to European Russia, where, at
the request of Speransky, he enlisted in the Medical Department as
head of the department. Here
he proposed a special way of accounting for pharmacists, depriving
them of most of the income.
After serving several years in St. Petersburg, Gedenstrom
returned to Siberia, in the 1830s he was appointed provincial
postmaster, lived in Irkutsk, Verkhneudinsk, Tomsk. Upon
his retirement, he settled in the village of Kaydukovo near Tomsk,
drank deeply and died in extreme poverty. Buried
in Tomsk. So
ingloriously ended the life of this gifted Russian man, who has done
a lot for his homeland. The
results of his research and talented written descriptions of travels
are published in articles and books, the main ones being
Gedenstrom's Travels on the Arctic Sea and its islands and
Selections about Siberia.
the island of New Siberia. Named
in 1886 by E.V. Toll.
the islands Faddeevsky and Bunge Land. Named
in 1822, P.F. Anjou.
the island of New Siberia.