The Strait the Pacific and the Arctic oceans
and separates the North American and Eurasian continents.
Many experts are of the opinion that approximately 30 000
years ago there was an isthmus in the Bering strait in the
Bering Strait area and people travelled over it to the North
- Semyen Dezhnev and Fyedot Popov, Russian kozaks, were
the first, who sailed via the Bering Strait in 1646 on their
route from Kolyma to the east.
1728 Witus Bering, a great navigator and explorer, entered
the Strait on the ship "St. Gabriel" from the
- In fifty years James Cook, another famous navigator, sailed
in the strait, separating Asia and America, and named it
the Bering Strait.
- In 1815 Otto Kotzebu, a lieutenant of the Russian Fleet,
sailed in this area. He gave the current names to Diomede
islands, situated in the Strait and discovered by Witus
Bering. Bid Diomede turned out to be Ratmanov island and
Little Diomede island was named as Kruzenshtern island.
- In 1867 Russia had sold Alaska to America and from this
time the state border passes in the middle of the Bering
- In 1938 the USSR and the USA asserted the procedures regulating
visits of the local citizens of Alaska to Russia.
- During the Second World War 7308 American airplanes carried
out flights from the territory of America to the Western
frontier via Alaska and the Soviet Far East.
- In 1948 the USSR notified the USA about the nullification
of the agreement of 1938 concerning visits of citizens of
Alaska to Chukotka. From 1948 to 1987 (the epoch of the
Cold War) the border remained practically closed.
- In 1987 and 1988 the diplomatic, trade and cultural contacts
were renewed. A powerful incentive to this process was given
in 1989 when the Soviet-American expedition of Dmitry Shparo
and Paul Schurke by ski and dog-sleds travelled along the
"closed" settlements of Chukotka and the "closed"
settlements of Alaska. According to the public opinion this
expedition "had opened" the doors from one country
to another and the participants received the letters of
greetings from Michael Gorbachev, President of Russia and
George Bush, President of the USA. Just after the expedition
the governments of the USSR and the USA came to the agreement
about mutual visa-free visits of local citizens.
team consisted of twelve participants: six from Russia
and six from the USA. Among them there were four Eskimo
and two Chukchi, they represented the aboriginal nations
of the North. The expedition could not cross the Bering
Strait by ski as the storm, which lasted twelve days,
had scattered ice. From Chukotka the explorers sailed
on an Eskimo kayak to Ratmanov island and then by ski
to the Kruzenshtern, and, at last, they took a flight
to Wales – the most western settlement of the North America.
- In 1993 Dmitry Shparo – the leader of the Russian-Canadian-Lithuanian
expedition on snowmobiles along Chukotka and Alaska. Matvey
Shparo was the participant of this expedition. Persistent
attempts to cross the Bering Strait were unsuccessful. The
participants used a helicopter for the first part of their
route, then by snowmobiles they reached the Kruzenshtern
island and by aeroplane arrived in Wales. After passing
500 km along Chukotka the team had added 2 000 km travelling
along Alaska (including the Yukon river) and reached Fairbanks.