Ivan Fedorovich Krusenshtern, also known as Adam Johann von Krusenstern (1770-1846) was a Russian naval officer and hydrographer. He led Russia’s first circumnavigation and published numerous charts, particularly of the Pacific Ocean region.
Krusenstern was born in Hagudi, then part of the Russian Empire but now in Estonia. At the age of seventeen he joined the Russian Imperial Navy and first saw action in a conflict with Sweden. He was seconded to the British Royal Navy during the Napoleonic Wars. Between 1793 and 1799 he served in British vessels and traveled to North America, China, South Africa, and beyond. He then returned to Russian service and lobbied the Imperial Navy to support a voyage of exploration that would also serve as Russia’s first circumnavigation.
Having had the expedition approved, Krusenstern sailed around the world from 1803 to 1806, making important contributions to oceanography and hydrography in the Marquesas, Japan, Sakhalin, and the Northwest Coast of North America. Upon his return, Krusenstern was celebrated as a pioneer of Russian science and was awarded an honorary membership in the Russian Academy of Sciences. He would later also be named a foreign member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences and the Royal Society of London.
Krusenstern devoted the rest of his life to improving the Russian Imperial Navy and navigation. For the first years after his return he devoted himself to writing a voyage account and compiling an atlas of his voyage. Then, he acquired new instruments for the Imperial Navy on a trip to London in 1814 and 1815. He served as director of the Imperial Naval Academy from 1824 to 1842.
He continued to publish throughout his life. As part of his ongoing project to make Russia’s navy one of the best in Europe, he often looked to others for examples. He was an admirer of the Royal Navy and corresponded with many officers, but he also appreciated the Spanish Navy and its Hydrographic Service. He published several articles about the Malaspina expedition, for example, in 1815 and 1824-7.
His most notable publication is his Reise um die Welt, in den jahren 1803, 1804, 1805, und 1806, published from 1810-12 in three volumes with an atlas. In 1824, he published his famous Atlas de l’Ocean Pacifique, the most complete hydrographic representation of the Pacific Ocean region to date. Krusenstern attained the rank of admiral in 1841. He died in 1847 at his Estonian estate.