La Recherche Expedition (1838–40)

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The La Recherche Expedition of 1838-1840 was a French Admiralty expedition whose destination was the North Atlantic and Scandinavian islands, including the Faroe Islands, Spitsbergen and Iceland.

The expedition in the Scandinavian countries from 1838 to 1840, was a direct continuation of shipments in 1835 and 1836. A letter dated March 22, 1837 revealed that Joseph Paul Gaimard and Xavier Marmier were preparing a trip to Copenhagen and Christiania (Norway) whose purpose was to gather additional information on Iceland and Greenland.[1]

On June 13, 1838, the French corvette La Recherche left Le Havre in France, bound for Northern Scandinavia. Joseph Paul Gaimard (1796-1858), a physician and zoologist was the commanding officer of the expedition. The expedition was on a purely scientific nature, rather than a colonial venture in cooperation with the governments of Norway and Sweden. Gaimard invited the Sami minister and botanist Lars Levi Læstadius on the voyage for his knowledge in botany and Sami culture.[2] The company was given an international dimension. Gaimard had hired many renowned European scholars. The Arctic exploration in the 1870s marked a watershed in the history of international scientific cooperation. The first evidence of this cooperation was, in 1882, the International Polar Year.

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