Richardson  John

Outstanding English naturalist, doctor, arctic explorer.
Born in Dumfries, his father was the mayor of this city. He graduated from high school in his hometown and in 1801 entered the medical department of the University of Edinburgh. Upon graduation in 1807, he began serving as an assistant surgeon in the Navy. He participated in the siege of Copenhagen, served off the coast of Spain and Portugal, became an active surgeon on the 74-gun frigate “Hercules”.
In 1816  Richardson received his MD degree from the University of Edinburgh.
In 1819  its Arctic activities  began. As a naturalist and surgeon, he took part in the ground expedition of J. Franklin, who was ordered to leave the south on the coast of the Arctic Ocean near the mouth of the Copper River and move along it to the east to meet with W. Parry’s sea unit from the sea of baffin.
Expedition proceeded extremely hard.
On May 23 they left England and on August 30, 1819  arrived at theYork factory on the shore of the Hudson Bay. Only on July 18, 1821  after two severe winterings, the expedition reached the starting point of its research - the mouth of the Mednorudnaya River. On fragile canoes travelers moved east. Swimming continued until August 18, when, in the conditions of the approaching winter, Franklin ordered to turn back. The return trip was the hardest stage of the whole expedition.
They reached the mouth of the river by canoe, which was later named after a member of the expedition of junior officer Hood, climbed it to the waterfall and walked across the pass to the valley of the Copper Mine River. Food has come to an end, a terrible famine began. Ate disgusting taste and unhealthy lichen. September 10 managed to kill the female musk ox. The contents of her stomach and intestines were eaten in place, and to everyone, even the most discriminating, this dish seemed beautiful.
Discipline weakened, people fell behind. The crossing of Mednorudnaya took a lot of time and effort, as the canoes were thrown by porters. Franklin sent forward two people with his strongest aide, J. Back. They were to reach the fort Enterprise and inform the Indians about the status of the expedition. The expedition was divided into small groups, moving independently. At the fort, the Enterprise found neither Indians nor foodstuffs; they found only a note from Buck, in which he reported that he had moved to the fort Providence, but he very much doubts what will come.
Gradually lagged behind. They fed on deer skins, bones, and lichens abandoned at the beginning of the hike.
Richardson went along with junior officer Hood and sailor Hepburn [1]. After some time, they were joined by Michel, who had lagged behind earlier, and two Canadian porters. The arrival of an experienced hunter, Michel, encouraged the sailors, but soon his behavior seemed strange to them. After some time, as it turned out, Michel shot one after the other guides and ate their meat. Then he killed Hood by simulating an accident. Richardson realized that he and Hepburn would most likely face the same fate, and killed Michel with a pistol shot to the head. So sounded version of what happened in the report of Richardson and then Franklin. She was unconditionally accepted by contemporaries, but in the XX century, some researchers have refuted it, putting forward an opinion on the criminal behavior of Richardson. Nevertheless, no irrefutable evidence was given, and it is hardly possible now.
[1]  An island in Coronation Bay is named after Hepburn.

Salvation in the face of three Indians came on November 7th. It turns out that the brave Buck still got to the fort Providence. Having strengthened, the travelers moved on and on December 11 they arrived at the fort Providence. After wintering on July 14  the expedition gathered at the trading post York, from which it left to the north three years ago. In total, during this time 5550 miles has been overcome.
England did not leave attempts to open the Northwest Passage. In 1825  a new expedition began, consisting of three detachments: a naval commander under Parry’s command, moving from the Baffin Sea to the west, a naval command under F. Beachy, moving from the Bering Strait to the east, and a ground mission led by Franklin, which, as in the last time was to come from the south to the coast of the ocean. All three groups planned to meet at any point, which should have meant the opening of the passage. Richardson, like Buck, again accompanied Franklin. It should be said that Franklin fully took into account the experience of the previous expedition, so that this time everything went much more successfully. The plan was to descend along the Mackenzie River to the mouth and further, dividing into two units, moving west and east along the coast.
We set off from Liverpool to New York on February 16, 1825, at the end of July we reached the Great Slave Lake, from which Mackenzie flows, and on August 7 we reached Great Bear Lake, where we stood for the winter. Until the end of winter, we had three routes. Richardson explored the north shore of the lake.
Wintering was successful. In the twentieth of June, 1826, they marched north. As planned, reaching the mouth of the Mackenzie, divided: Franklin and Buck on the boat "Lion" went west towards Beechy, and Richardson on two boats "Dolphin" and "Union" east towards Parry. Due to the favorable ice conditions, the advance of Richardson was fast. The sea was ice-free almost to the mouth of the Copper River. One of Richardson's bays, deeply plunging into the continent, was named after Franklin. In the north, travelers saw a large island, named after them in honor of the famous English naturalist Dr. Wallace. It was later proved that this is the peninsula of Victoria Island. Having passed the mouth of Mednorudnaya, they reached Coronation Bay. Here Richardson considered his task accomplished and on August 6 went back. Along the unknown coast of the Arctic Ocean, they traveled 900 miles.
After wintering at Fort Franklin, the expedition arrived in New York in August 1827, and in London on September 29. Having made a number of interesting geographical discoveries, the Parry – Franklin – Beachey expedition did not fulfill its main task. The meeting in the Arctic did not take place.
In 1829, Richardson published the first part of his scientific work on the fauna of northern British America, where he described the collections he collected on an expedition.
Richardson rose through the ranks, becoming in 1838 a doctor of the flotilla, in 1840 - an inspector of hospitals. In 1846 he was given a noble title.
Richardson's next meeting with the Arctic took place in 1848. The grandiose, which lasted for more than a decade, began an epic of searching for the missing Franklin expedition, which in 1845 set out on two ships, the Terror and Erebus, with the aim of opening the Northwest Passage. In 1848, three detachments were sent to search: James Ross Marine from the east into the Lancaster Strait, Captain G. Kellett and Commodore Moore from the Bering Strait and Richardson above the ground, who were ordered to explore the coast between the mouths of the Mackenzie and Mednorudnaya, and the southern coast of Victoria Island. The expedition scheme of 1848 completely coincided with the scheme of the Parry – Franklin – Beachey expedition of 1824–1828.
Richardson began preparing for his march before the decision of the Admiralty. It was this forethought that allowed the expedition to be well organized and to perform without delays. He managed to negotiate with the all-powerful Hudson’s company for the supply of boats and food.
An expedition of 42 people set off from Liverpool on March 25, 1848. Richardson's assistant was John Rae. Already on July 31, they reached the mouth of the Mackenzie, left a food warehouse there, and moved to the east by boat. Friendly Eskimos did not hear anything about Franklin's expedition. The ice to the east was getting harder. Even before entering the Dolphin and Union Strait, travelers were forced to start moving along the shore. It was not possible to cross over to Victoria Island - a strong current carried heavy ice in the strait. Moved very slowly, the forces melted. Reaching the cape of Kruzenshtern, they entered the mouth of the Mednorudnaya, and from there went to Great Bear Lake, where they stood for the winter in a prepared residential house. May 7, 1849, transferring the command of Ray, Richardson went to England, where he arrived on November 6.
In 1851, Richardson published a book about his expedition, which in addition to the hiking journal contains a large amount of information about the geology, geography, fauna and flora of the northern part of the Americas. Much attention is paid in it to the manners and customs of the local population.
From the time of his retirement in 1855 and until his sudden death, Richardson devoted himself entirely to scientific activities, the management of the museum, the publication of numerous articles and books.
He died in Grasmere 10 years after he moved there, retiring. He was buried in the church cemetery in Grasmere.
Islands in the Coronation Bay between the North American mainland and  Victoria Island.
Mountains in northwestern Canada. Named in 1826 by J. Franklin.
Cape northeast of Ellesmere Island.
Cape in the Simpson Strait between the mainland and King William Island in the Canadian Arctic Archipelago.
Cape on the west coast of the Melville Peninsula in Commie Bay.

Cape in the east of Melville Island in the Canadian Arctic Archipelago.

Bay (John - Richardson) in the east of the island of Ellesmere in the Kennedy Strait.
A bay in the west of Coronation Bay on the north coast of Canada.

River flowing into the Coronation Bay. It was opened by the detachment of J. Richardson in 1826.


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