Back in the first half of the 19th century, Russia suffered from a shortage of geographic information about the state. And finally it was decided to fix this flaw — to attract Russia’s finest minds “to study the dear land and people inhabiting it.” To that end, the best of the best asked Tsar Nicholas I to establish the Russian Geographical Society. The petition sent to the emperor was drafted by the famous navigator and honorary member of the London-based Royal Geographical Society Friedrich von Lütke (better known as Fyodor Litke). On August 18, 1845, N.S., the emperor signed the petition and ordered to allocate “ten thousand rubles in silver from the State Treasury annually” for the newly established society. Next year, the society sent the first scientific expedition to Livonia and Courland. In another year, they went to explore the borders between Europe and Asia all over the Northern Urals. They reached the Tian Shan and Central Asia and expeditions undertaken by Semyonov who was later nicknamed Tyan-Shansky and Przhevalsky brought the Russian Geographical Society worldwide recognition.
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