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Russians were among those rare medieval Europeans who traveled deep into Central Asia or visited South Asia.
Peter the Great, who turned the country into the Russian Empire in 1721, ordered the first instrumental mapping of Russia, and conceived the Great Northern Expedition, which was carried out after the Emperor's death with Vitus Bering as the leader and main organizer.More Russian circumnavigations followed, notably those led by Otto Kotzebue, Ferdinand Wrangel and Fyodor Litke.These voyages brought multiple discoveries in Alaska and the Pacific.The Russian conquest of Central Asia was accompanied by the penetration of many explorers into the depths of Eurasia, including Mongolia, Jungaria and Tibet.Notable explorers in this direction included Chokan Valikhanov, Pyotr Semyonov-Tyan-Shansky, Pyotr Chikhachyov, Nikolay Przhevalsky, Grigory Grumm-Grzhimaylo, Bronislav Grombchevsky and Pyotr Kozlov.With over 3,000 people directly and indirectly involved, the expedition was one of the largest exploration enterprises in history by its geographic scale and results.
the achievements of the expedition included the discovery of the Aleutian Islands and the Commander Islands by Bering and Alexei Chirikov, the mapping of most of the Russian Arctic coastline and part of the Pacific coast in 1733–1743 by teams led by Stepan Malygin, Dmitry Ovtsyn, Fyodor Minin, Semyon Chelyuskin, Vasily Pronchischev, Khariton Laptev and Dmitry Laptev.
The history of exploration by citizens or subjects of the Russian Federation, the Soviet Union, the Russian Empire, the Tsardom of Russia and other Russian predecessor states forms a significant part of the history of Russia as well as the history of the world.
At 17,075,400 square kilometres (6,592,850 sq mi), Russia is the largest country in the world, covering more than a ninth of the Earth’s land mass.
Russians mapped most of the Alaskan coasts and nearby islands, explored the inner areas of the peninsula, and went as far south as Fort Ross in California.
In 1803–06 the first Russian circumnavigation was led by Ivan Kruzenshtern and Yury Lisyansky, partly with the aim of establishing direct marine communications between Saint Petersburg and Russian America.
In 1648 the Bering Strait between Asia and North America was passed through for the first time by Fedot Popov and Semyon Dezhnyov.