Cagni Umberto 
(24.02.1863–04.04.1932)


Italian 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 arch. ZFI, 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 archipelago, Rudolph, without any problems through the British Channel. Since Peterman's Land was nowhere to be seen, we decided to start from here. The 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 friends! 
At 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 homeland”.

 

"Stela Polare" in the ice of the bay Teplits

 

In March, there were severe frosts. The temperature dropped to minus 49ºС. U 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 hurriedly left”.  
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 venture! Assuming that it will succeed, could it be hoped that we will make the same way back with the same speed”?  He 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

 

Kan'i'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 tent”.  
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 Island. We 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 PHI. 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 Polare" 1900".

 

Memorial obelisk at Cape Flora


This expedition didn’t stop Kanji’s contacts with Abruzzi. In 1906, they explored the Rwenzori Ridge in Africa. 
In 1911, Kagni 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. 
Bay in 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.

 

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