20 September 1778 – 1852

Nationality: Estonian
Place of Birth: unknown
Grave: unknown

Biography

At the age of 10, Fabian von Bellingshausen started his career as a cadet and at the age of 18, he graduated from the Naval Academy at Kronstadt. From 1803 to 1806, he was part of the first Russian circumnavigation of the earth as a 5th LT under Captain J. Kruzenstern in Frigate “Nadezhda” in the Russian Imperial Navy. On 5 September 1819 he was sent off from Portsmouth on a voyage to discover the Southern Ocean and reached South Georgia by the end of the year. This was a dream assignment for Bellingshausen as he admired Cook’s voyages. He crossed the Antarctic Circle on 26 January 1820, and is credited as the first person to see the Antarctic continent. To avoid the oncoming winter they spent four months in the South Pacific. On 21 January 1821, he thought that they had come across land within the Antarctic Circle, but it was just an island – he called it Peter I Island. On 28 January 1821, Bellingshausen discovered a second piece of land, which he called Alexander Coast. Today, people know it as an island joined to the Antarctic Peninsula by an ice shelf, known as Alexander Island.

On 4 August 1821, they arrived back at Kronstadt after 2 years and 21 days. For an additional 30 years, Fabian von Bellingshausen served his country and was promoted to Admiral. He also became Governor of Kornstadt. The family was ennobled by Queen Christina of Sweden in 1651, Johan Eberhardt v B., for his participation in Sweden’s war with Russia.

The PCO thanks William Lohmus von Bellingshausen (great grandson) for his input.