Monday, 2 April 2018

B is for (Canadian) Beringia (Bering Strait) ...



Historically Beringia is the land bridge that separates Russia from the northern American continent - stretching on the west from the Lena River in Russia, to the Mackenzie River in Canada.

Showing the approximate area of the
Beringia coverage

The term Beringia was coined in 1937 by a Swedish botanist Eric Hulten ... after the Dane, Vitus Bering (1681 - 1741) a Russian mariner, was encouraged by Tsar Peter the Great to secretly explore the separation of the two continents.


Bering was not the first to go ashore on the North American continent ... but has been credited with doing so - hence the Bering Strait, Bering Sea, Bering Island, Bering Glacier and the Bering Land Bridge - or Beringia.

Map of the Mackenzie River watershed -
showing the Mackenzie flowing into the
Arctic Ocean


Beringia during the ice ages was not glaciated because snowfall was very light - it was a grassland steppe, including the land bridge, that stretched for hundreds of kilometres into the continents on either side.

Bering did not survive his final voyage ... and is buried in a sandbank, on the side of a wind-swept hill on Bering Island, east of the Russian Kamchatka Peninsula.

Post mortem reconstruction of Bering

The tale is told in a recently published book Island of the Blue Foxes - by Stephen R Bown ... I noticed a review in British Columbia's Bookworld publication Spring 2018.

That is B for Beringia ... from Aspects by a British 'girl' in Canada ...

Hilary Melton-Butcher
Positive Letters Inspirational Stories

43 comments:

Elephant's Child said...

Fascinating.
Not least that he is buried on an island which bears his name.

mail4rosey said...

Well, Bering got LOTS of credit, didn't he??? :) I'm here to wish you a Happy Easter!

Yamini MacLean said...

Hari OM
Oh, another new thing learned! I had of course been familiar with the Bering sea being named after the sailor... but had not fully appreciated the other places bearing the name, or the collective noun. Very interesting! YAM xx

M. Denise C. said...

How sad about Bering. Grasslands?? Wonderful to learn about this area I never really think about, H. Cheers, Denise

Jo said...

Of course I think of Alaska as being American not Canadian and didn't realise that the area of Beringa stretched that far. Interesting Bering is buried on Bering island in a sandbank, doesn't sound a very secure burial site.

Liz A. said...

I heard that perhaps that land bridge wasn't how ancient peoples travelled to North America. At least, that's the latest theory.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ EC - yes I found that burial site rather sad ... but at least he got buried ... however that particular journey was rather 'nasty' ...

@ Rosey - yes he's sitting on lots of credit as you say ...

@ Yamini - it's interesting what they find and are able to tell us about our lands; Bering was an intrepid sailor with a sad end ...

@ Denise - yes poor Bering - though the tale is even worse poor things. But I can quite believe grasslands were here millennia years ago ... it sounds like 'we' walked over and that's how this part of the world became populated ...

@ Jo - well Alaska is American ... yet that whole area of Beringia makes for fascinating reading ... the land was very different all those years ago. I agree Bering's burial ground doesn't/ perhaps even didn't sound very secure ... they made a mask of him - so perhaps he's been reburied ...

@ Liz - I hadn't heard something different ... but could easily be so - if they didn't come on foot - how did they come? ... Beringia was in existence 10,000 to 50,000 years ago ... during the Last Glacial Maxmimum ... I'd like to know another route ...

Cheers to you all - it's interesting to think about being able to walk across Beringia - except I'd rather not do it now!! Hilary

Lenny Lee said...

very cool! another interesting history lesson.

keithsramblings.net said...

An interesting piece and some interesting comments too! Another day, another lesson learned.

My Friend Rosey - B is for Boyfriend

Ronel Janse van Vuuren said...

Fascinating!

Nilanjana Bose said...

Your posts are always informative and a pleasure to read, A-Z and otherwise!

Natalie Aguirre said...

Interesting history lesson. Interesting that there was not much snow there at one time.

Bob Scotney said...

You've taught me much more about Bering and the associated places than I knew before,

Emily Bloomquist said...

Buried in a sandbank almost sounds like his remains may one day be uncovered by the sea and swept out. My imagination is probably running wild, though. After all, it has been many years and it has not happened yet. Thanks for the education, Hilary.

Emily In Ecuador | Boats in Puerto Lopez

Susan Scott said...

Thanks Hilary! That's so interesting! I know of the Bering Strait but that's the extent of my knowledge. Good that the Dane is acknowledged for his daring Bering excursions. As a British gal exploring your new 'home' you're doing great!

Kim Blades said...

A very interesting and informative post Hilary. I have learnt a lot. Hope you are keeping well and enjoying life. Kim

Natasha Duncan-Drake said...

So that's where all the Bering stuff comes from, many thanks for the education :)
Tasha
Tasha's Thinkings - Movie Monsters

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Lenny - great to see you ... and thank you ...

@ Keith - yes it's great when commenters interact isn't it ...

@ Ronel - thank you ...

@ Nila - lovely comment thank you ... appreciate it ...

@ Natalie - yes I was surprised about the lack of snow ... it was explained, but was too complicated to add in to the post ...

@ Bob - thanks ... I found him an interesting subject, though his grisly voyage wasn't 'the best' ...

@ Emily - yes ... it wasn't stated, but I slightly suspect he's no longer there ... especially as a mask was made of his head ... so the sandbank didn't last long - but they don't usually last long ...

@ Susan - well I too knew nothing but Bering's name ... there's more to this story as told in the book - but for the A-Z this was enough ... well I'm latching onto useful and interesting information ...

@ Kim - thanks so much ... it is warming up compared to your turn into Autumn ...

@ Tasha - I know ... I learnt too and the book sounds historically interesting ...

Cheers to you all - thanks for being here - Hilary

Jacqui Murray said...

Quite interesting, Hilary. I deal with the Bering Straits in my series so I really enjoyed this.

Andrea Ostapovitch said...

I first learned of Beringia about 16 years ago when we were taking a trip up through B.C. into the Yukon and over to Alaska. There is a wonderful museum in Whitehorse called Berengia, actually that whole city was a wonderful place to visit.
I hope you've had a Happy Easter and have a great week ahead,
Andrea

Lynda Dietz said...

What an awful lot of places are named after him! But "buried in a sandbank" sounds a bit anticlimactic . . . and not nearly as permanent a resting place as one would hope.

H.R. Sinclair, Southpaw said...

Wow, that Bering really got around.

Sophie Duncan said...

Well, I knew nothing about the multitude of Bering this and thats. I have learned something :)

Sophie
Ghostly Inspirations - Sophies A to Z

Joanne said...

good history lesson, but rather sad to end buried in a sandbank..

Silvia Villalobos said...

Much still to learn about this area, Hilary, so thank you for the post. My knowledge stopped at a thought or two regarding the Bering Straight and Bering Sea. Must've been brutal exploring it given the weather and rough terrain.

Victoria Marie Lees said...

This is so fascinating, Hilary! I learn so much here. I love hearing of your adventures, now in western Canada. Seriously, you are truly amazing. I hope you are enjoying some spring weather by now. New Jersey is still having snow. Our spring has started with some crazy weather. All best to you!

Elsie Amata said...

I feel bad for the guy because he didn't survive his final trip but I also feel bad because whoever went ashore first deserved the credit, not Bering. Just sayin' :)

Elsie

diedre Knight said...

Excellent post! I've only known of this area by watching "Deadliest Catch" with my husband. Mr. Bering was a brave man to have tried this in his day.

Rosalind Adam said...

Gosh. You're doing the A to Z again. That's how we met. Good luck with it.

Pamela Wright said...

It always amazes me how close together America and Russia are, as we think of them as being really far apart - well they are in political views. Really interesting post.
Pamela @ Days of Fun

Anabel Marsh said...

Interesting! I knew of the Bering Strait but not about how it got its name, and who from.

Deborah Weber said...

I've literally never thought about this other than recognizing Bering Strait and Bering Sea. Sometimes I'm appalled at the huge gaps in my knowledge and this is certainly one of those instances.

Jo-Anne's Ramblings said...

This was so interesting, I didn't even know there was a land bridge or anything else about this

Sue McPeak said...

Really enjoying these history lessons, Hilary. Interesting about the naming of each of the areas and their geological aspects. Bearing buried on a Sandbar...better than in an iceberg. Well done!
Sue at CollectInTexas Gal

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Jacqui - I knew you'd probably addressed this part of the world in your continuing series ... glad you enjoyed it ...

@ Andrea - oh thanks for the info on the museum in Whitehorse - I hope I can get up into the Yukon ... as I'd love to visit and see more of that area.

@ Lynda - yes there were a lot of places named after him, weren't there ... I suspect his body was removed and put somewhere else ... not very restful an end, nor was his journey there ...

@ Holly - he was some intrepid Danish mariner

@ Sophie - glad I've highlighted something about Bering and his achievements ...

@ Joanne - that sandbank was a sad end wasn't it ... but it was a tricky time for the crew ...

@ Silvia - oh I've lots to learn too - and this part of the world now fascinates me ... and the conditions must have been awful in those very early days of exploration ...

@ Victoria Marie - well I just got asked to come out ... so could come, so travelled out ... shortish visit, yet long enough to see a bit of Canada I hope ... Oh gosh still having snow on the east coast - how very horrid ... it's still cold here - but the trees are bursting their buds ...

@ Elsie - yes I feel bad for him as he never got home. That recognition thing is the luck of the draw slightly ... but a rum deal for the other guy ...

@ Diedre - oh I haven't watched the Deadliest Catch - oh yes I have ... I think I sort of watched one or two of them in the UK. Bering had a job and a commission - I guess he felt lucky ... when this journey failed - who knows ... still he's remembered ...

@ Ros - I know ... and it was great meeting you - one day we'll meet in person ... thanks for popping in and wishing us well ...

@ Pam - we do think they are miles apart don't we - still it's pretty rough up there ... politically, as you say = ways apart.

@ Anabel - I too didn't know about Bering or that area ... I know a little more now ...

@ Deborah - I knew about the land bridge ... but not much and practically nothing about Bering himself - ie he was Danish and worked for Peter the Great ...

@ Jo-Anne - I knew a little, but was pleased to find out more ...

@ Sue - I'm not sure how deep or fully covered I'm going to go with these - I'm branching out into my usual eclectic musings on the subjects ... but am happy if they are being enjoyed ...

Thanks so much everyone - great to see you ... cheers Hilary

Rhodesia said...

You are so good at improving my knowledge, something else I have learnt today. Cheers Diane

Pearson Report said...

Hi Hilary,

Again, another interesting fact I did not know. I feel I'm getting the education I did not get when I should have back in high school.

Many thanks!

Cheers, Jenny at Pearson Report

Christine Rains said...

How fascinating. I've always wanted to visit that area, when it's summer!

Debby Gies said...

Hi Hilary. I'm back! Thanks for this interesting part of history - or should I say, history? :)

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Diane - thanks .. I just try to make posts interesting - but I teach myself first!!

@ Jenny - thanks so much ... it's good to see you - and glad that a Canadian is learning a little too ...

@ Christine - I think the Bering Strait would be really interesting to visit - but pick a fair-weather day ... not many of those up there ...

@ Debby - welcome back ... and delighted you think this snippet is interesting ...

So good to see you all - thanks, cheers Hilary

Deborah Barker said...

Bering buried in a sand dune on a windswept hillside? Oh goodness, is he still there or has a sudden sandstorm scattered his bones far and wide I wonder. Very interesting post. I love the prospect of that grassy steppe surviving while the rest of the world turned to ice.!

Lynn said...

Very interesting!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Deborah - poor chap ... but that was where he died - and no I suspect the sand didn't let him stay buried too long - but I've bought the book so we'll see what it says. Beringia does sound like an extraordinary interesting piece of geological history ...

@ Lynn- thanks ...

Cheers to you both- Hilary