naval officer, explorer of the Arctic and Africa.
Born in Asti in Piedmont (Northern Italy).
After joining the naval service in 1881, Kanji took part in two
three-year voyages in 1882–1885. and
1894–1896, with the second voyage round the world. In
1897, he was a member of the group of Duke L.
Abruzzi, who conquered Mount St. Elias in Alaska.
In 1899–1900 Captain
Kanyi was part of the expedition of L. Abruzzi on the ship "Stella
Polyar" to the North Pole.
As the base of the expedition, Petermann Land was planned north
of the archipelago Franz
from which it was supposed on dogs to try to reach the pole.
Coming out of Arkhangelsk in mid-July 1899, where dogs and
equipment were taken aboard, the ship reached Northbrook on
practically pure water. Having
unloaded some provisions, fuel and four boats at Cape
Flora, they also reached the northernmost island of the
without any problems through the British
Peterman's Land was nowhere to be seen, we decided to start from
ship was placed in the
Teplits Bay in the
west of the island, but the berth was unsuccessful: the bay was
opened from the sea, and the ship was soon seriously damaged. Abruzzi
in the winter received a severe frostbite, and he had to amputate
two fingers on his hand. Wounds
healed very badly, and in order not to disrupt the march to the
pole, Abruzzi instructed him Kanyi.
A group of 10 people, who had 13 sledges and 102 dogs, went on a
campaign on February 21, 1900. From
their composition, two detachments of 3 persons each performed
auxiliary functions and had to return to the base after the
organization of intermediate food warehouses.
The first attempt was completed in two days: due to severe
frosts, movement was overwhelming.
The second time started on March 11th. After
10 days, Kanyi sent the first auxiliary game back: Querini — he was
less enduring, Olya — he underwent frostbite several times and
Stekken — because he was not Italian. The
farewell was very warm. “Poor
this moment we could not overcome the feeling of envy towards them
....We were sure that they were on the way to happiness, life and
"Stela Polare" in the ice of the bay Teplits
In March, there were severe frosts. The
temperature dropped to minus 49ºС. Kanyi began to look up frost-bitten fingers. Sleeping
bags were full of snow, "we went straight into the ice and woke up
in a cold bath, satisfied already with that, if at night we did not
have to knock our teeth".
March 29 sent back the second group. “I
shook hands with the doctor and, under the influence of the feeling
that swept over me, hugged him tightly. I
asked him to convey the last regards to my mother and bride and
The movement was extremely difficult. Rare
and short patches of even ice were interspersed with heaps of
hummocks, through which they literally had to be hacked through, and
numerous streaks of various widths.
April 20 reached 85° N The
condition of the ice has improved by this point, but it was clear
that the pole could not be reached. The
question was about exceeding the record of movement to the north,
which at that time was 86° 14′
and was installed in 1895 by Nansen and Johansen Kanyi
announced: “Edible supplies remained for 33 days; if
we reduce their use, it is enough for 44 days, i.e. until
the end of May. If
we pass another week, then with reduced rations, we will have 30
days of food supplies ... If within 6 or 7 days we go through as
long as yesterday and the third day, then we will achieve very
satisfactory results. On
the other hand, our return journey may be delayed, and then we will
face severe deprivation and a serious danger ...”. In
response to this, everyone unanimously exclaimed: “Forward! Forward
up to 87°, at least”!
However, Kanyi made a decision, the decision is just as difficult
and courageous as his idol Nansen took five years ago: “... I
decided to give up my most cherished dream that lived in me and
seemed so close to execution: to reach 87°. For
this it was necessary to go 160 km in a week. Difficult
that it will succeed, could it be hoped that we will make the same
way back with the same speed”?
charted a closer frontier - 86° 30′. On
April 24, the calculations gave 86° 31′,
the next day they moved south.
Kanyi squad moves to the pole
Kanyi's frozen finger swelled and became completely black. It
was impossible to delay with amputation. With
the help of a lancet, which he held with his left hand, Kanyi
removed all the blackened part. “Before
I could put the tip of the knife into the meat, an incredible amount
of pus seemed from there, which gave me great relief. I
cut off the entire upper part and exposed a piece of bone ... I
pressed on the end of it and felt an unbearable pain in the whole
arm ... Meanwhile, the small bone turned out to be very hard and it
was very painful to cut it. For
this small operation, which the doctor would have finished in 3
minutes, I used two hours, delivering this not particularly pleasant
entertainment to my companions, who were forced to help me. Kanepa
could not stand it and, despite the storm and snow, he left the
The return trip was incredibly difficult. The
current carried them westward (after 14 years, this western drift
could hardly carry Albanov’s group
past the ZFI. There were many large divorces, the movement slowed
down, food was coming to an end. “The end of De Long and the
expedition of Greeley seems to me the silence that surrounds me, I
regret to look at the satellites sleeping around me. They, like me,
have a family that prays for us, and with this thought I feel a
surge of new strength ... No, we will fight to the end, and if we
fall then only after a desperate struggle".
June 9 saw the land, 13 - set foot on it. It
turned out to be Harley
Island in the
northeast of the British Channel. On
June 23, having made the most dangerous passage through the straits
of Franz Josef Land, along which the ice was moving, reached Rudolph
crossed the glacier and finally saw our camp. “I
took out the field binoculars and saw that everyone was running. They
saw us ... Friends ran towards us ... There were few of them, and I
tried in vain to count them. I
was possessed of horror ... Did the second group die? We
try to consider where the doctor is and do not see him. Meanwhile,
he is very close and shouts to us, waving his hat. After
a few minutes, we hold each other in our arms. I
shake hands with everyone. Hans
tells me: “You know, Querini has not returned! I
am amazed and look at the doctor ... He sadly lowers his head ... ”.
It was not possible to reach the pole, to make new geographical
discoveries, too, but the heroic campaign of Kanyi and his comrades
showed that the sea stretches to the north of the
Josef Land. Thus,
the myth of Peterman’s Land, which was hated by Yu.
Payer, was dispelled.
In 1901 a four-sided obelisk of gray granite was erected at Cape
Flora in memory of the dead members of the expedition of the Duke of
Abruzzi to the North Pole. The
inscription on it is barely distinguishable, it is only possible to
disassemble "Requiem: F. Querini, H. Stokken, P.Ollier.-"Stella
Memorial obelisk at Cape Flora
This expedition didn’t stop Kanyi’s contacts with Abruzzi. In
1906, they explored the Rwenzori Ridge in Africa.
In 1911, Kanyi commanded the Italian occupation forces in
Tripoli, and in 1919–1922. -
Italian Mediterranean forces. In
1928, he headed an expedition to investigate the causes of the death
of the airship "Italy" of the expedition of U. Nobile.
He died in Geneva.
the south of Jackson Island archipelago Franz Josef Land. Named
by Soviet cartographers in 1953.
The island in the Bay of Kanyi is named after Querini,
and in 1904, Stecken
and Olle. A.
Fiala named the western and eastern capes of this bay respectively.