Middendorf Alexander Fedorovich
naturalist and traveler, academician.
Born in Petersburg. His
ancestors settled in Livonia at the beginning of the XVI century,
were merchants, and his great-grandfather and grandfather were
father graduated from the University of Jena, served as a home
teacher, after moving to Petersburg in 1803, he taught German at the
provincial gymnasium. By
the time his son was born, he worked as a teacher of German and
Latin literature at the Pedagogical Institute in St. Petersburg. Since
the marriage of the parents was not registered, and this could
adversely affect the career of the father, the mother and the
children lived separately. Only
nine years after the birth of Middendorf, the parents formed their
relationship, and the family was reunited in St. Petersburg.
During the years 1824–1832 Middendorf studied at the 3rd St.
Petersburg Gymnasium, at a private school and at the Main
Pedagogical Institute, and in the period 1828–1831 he combined his
studies with the office of clerk in the department of manufactures
and domestic trade of the Ministry of Finance. In
1832–1837 he completed a course at Dorpat (Tartu) University,
graduating from which he defended his thesis for the degree of
doctor of medicine. After
that, to deepen his knowledge, he went to Germany and Austria, where
he worked under the guidance of the greatest scientists of that
After returning to Russia in 1839 he became a professor of
zoology at Kiev University.
Since 1852 Middendorf is a full member, and since 1865 - an
honorary member of the St. Petersburg Academy of Sciences, since
1845 a member and since 1883 an honorary member of the Imperial
Russian Geographical Society.
In 1840 together with K.M. Baer Middendorf
traveled around the Kola
In 1842–1845 on
behalf of the Petersburg Academy of Sciences Middendorf traveled
across Siberia, passed along the Yenisei
from Krasnoyarsk to the lower reaches, crossed the Taimyr and
descended to the mouth of the Taimyr. He
was essentially the first researcher to provide basic information on
the geography and orography of the Taimyr region. Returning
to Krasnoyarsk, Middendorf, through Yakutsk, reached the Shantar
Islands in the Sea of Okhotsk. His
report was the most complete natural historical description of
important were his findings on the distribution of permafrost and
the zonal distribution of vegetation in Siberia. He
compiled an extensive ethnographic description of the population of
Taimyr, the Yenisei region, the Amur region, and others. The Russian
Academy of Sciences gave a brilliant assessment of the activities of
the Siberian expedition of Middendorf. Later
he explored the Barabinsk Steppe and the Fergana Valley.
In 1861 the Imperial Russian Geographical Society awarded
Middendorf with its highest award, the Konstantin
In 1867 Middendorf accompanied Grand Duke Alexei Alexandrovich
in Russia, in 1868 - Vladimir Alexandrovich, and in 1870 - Alexei
Alexandrovich in touring the White Sea and Novaya
Zemlya, and made important observations regarding the Gulf
Stream to the east of the Nordkap.
Middendorf owns a number of valuable studies on the Russian fauna
of modern and fossil, in geography, especially physical. In 1888 ,
he was awarded the highest award of Russian zoologists - the
The Siberian expedition, full of hardships, had a very negative
effect on Middendorf's once mighty health. He
was often ill, but still led a very active lifestyle for many
decades, and only in the early 1880s began to complain of poor
one of the letters, Middendorf reported that he feels badly that his
body, “which in the past was well tolerated both by the adversities
of the polar countries and by the heat of the Fergana Valley, is now
tired ...”. He
developed an acute form of rheumatism, he lost the ability to move
independently, and from the beginning of the 1890s he was forced to
use an armchair on wheels. At
the end of 1892 Middendorf could no longer walk, sit or read.
He died at his estate in Gellenorm (Dorpat County) and was buried
in the family
the request of Middendorf, an unworked stone was placed on his grave
with the inscription “Dr.Alexander
von Middendorf" with dates of birth and death.The
cemetery and the grave are still preserved.
of Icy Harbor Bay on the east coast of the northern island of Novaya
in 1870 by the captain of the Norwegian schooner "Polar Star" Mack.
the Taimyr Gulf in the Nordensheld archipelago. Named
in 1878 by N.A.- E.
in the Taimyr Gulf in the Nordenskjold archipelago. Called
by E.V. Toll in
memory of his teacher Middendorf, who was buried in the village of
Gellenorm in Estonia (now Hellenurme).
the north coast of Greenland in the Lincoln Sea.
the island of Edge Svalbard archipelago. The
coordinates are 78° 10'N
21º 30'E. Named
in 1871 by the zoologist T.
the island of Rudolf archipelago
Franz Josef Land. Named
in 1874 by Yu.
cape on the
shore of Khariton Laptev. The
bay named in 1900 by E.V. Toll.