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Many expeditions of that era met a tragic fate, like the voyages of Eduard Toll, Georgy Brusilov, Vladimir Rusanov and Georgy Sedov, yet brought some valuable geographic results.Modern era polar icebreakers, dating from Stepan Makarov's Yermak, made Arctic voyages safer and led to new attempts to explore the Northern Sea Route.The last major unknown archipelago on Earth, Severnaya Zemlya, was discovered by Boris Vilkitsky during his expedition on the icebreakers Taymyr and Vaygach The Soviet Chief Directorate of the Northern Sea Route under Otto Shmidt completed the exploration of the Russian Arctic and established regular marine communications alongside Russia's northern shores in the 1930s.North Pole-1, the drifting ice station populated by the team led by Ivan Papanin, became the first expedition of its kind in 1937–38, and inaugurated a succession of drifting polar research stations which continues to this day.Proclaimed the Tsardom of Russia, by the end of the 16th century the state had colonized the easternmost territories of Europe by conquering the Khanate of Kazan in 1552 and the Khanate of Astrakhan in 1556, thus gaining full control of the Volga River valley.The road to Asia was opened, and in 1581 Yermak Timofeyevich crossed the Ural Mountains with a band of adventurers, defeated the Siberian Khanate and started the Russian conquest of Siberia.Following the settlement of East Slavs in the Russian Plain in the middle of the 1st millennium BC, through the next thousand years, most of European Russia came into the sphere of Slavic cultural and political influence, and finally became a part of the Russian state.From the 11th century on, a group of Russians which settled the shores of the White Sea and became known as Pomors ("seaside-dwellers") began navigating in the freezing seas of the Arctic Ocean, gradually developing the first icebreaking ships known as kochi.
The Russian colonization of the Americas followed in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, through the joint efforts of the state and private enterprises such as the Russian-American Company, led by Grigory Shelikhov, Nikolay Rezanov, Alexander Baranov and others.
Gombojab Tsybikov was the first European explorer in Lhasa, but he travelled by the customary road of Buryat pilgrims.
The late 19th century and the early 20th century was marked by a renewed interest in Arctic exploration.
Russians were among those rare medieval Europeans who traveled deep into Central Asia or visited South Asia.
Prince Yaroslav II of Vladimir and his sons Alexander Yaroslavich Nevsky and Andrey Yaroslavich traveled to Karakorum, the capital of the Mongolian Empire in the 1240s, By the beginning of the Age of Discovery, most of the former principalities of Kievan Rus were re-integrated by the Grand Duchy of Moscow.The Russian conquest of Central Asia was accompanied by the penetration of many explorers into the depths of Eurasia, including Mongolia, Jungaria and Tibet.