Martin Spangberg

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Martin Spangberg or Martyn Petrovich Shpanberg (Мартын Петрович Шпанберг) was a Danish-Russian naval lieutenant in Russian service who took part with his compatriot Vitus Bering in both Kamchatka expeditions as second in command. He is best known for finding a sea route to Japan and exploring the Kuril Islands (one of which, Shikotan, was renamed Shpanberg by the Russians in 1796).

In 1738, Spangberg was in command of the first Russian naval squadron to visit the island of Honshu in Japan. The Russians landed in a scenic area which is now part of the Rikuchu Kaigan National Park. Despite the prevalent policy of sakoku, the sailors were treated with politeness if not friendliness.[1] This was the first diplomatic encounter of the Russians and the Japanese.[1] he also made voyages in 1739 and 1742 to survey the coasts of Sakhalin, Japan and the Kuril Islands.[2] Spangberg left a brief account of this expedition. He died in 1761.


Shpanberg Island in the Kurils and Shpanberg Island in the Nordenskiöld Archipelago were named after him.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Glynn Barratt. Russia in Pacific Waters, 1715-1825. UBC Press, 1981. ISBN 9780774801171. Pages 35-37.
  2. ^ Quanchi, Max (2005). Historical Dictionary of the Discovery and Exploration of the Pacific Islands. The Scarecrow Press. p. 233. ISBN 0810853957.