An Environmentally Literate Explorer

A. E. Nordenskiöld’s Three Expeditions to the North Asian Coast, 1875–1879

in Sibirica
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  • 1 University of Turku seasni@utu.fi
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Abstract

Nils Adolf Erik Nordenskiöld (1832–1901), a Finnish Swedish scientist and explorer, made three expeditions to the North Asian coast between 1875 and 1879. He completed ten expeditions to the Arctic region between 1858 and 1883. The unifying goal of the North Asian expeditions was to open a trade route between Europe and Siberia. As a scientist, Nordenskiöld also studied the flora, fauna, geology, geography, hydrology, meteorology, ethnology, and history, and produced charts of this unfamiliar territory. This article argues that Nordenskiöld used his skills of environmental literacy when he combined the commercial and scientific goals of his expeditions. He also had the ability to deal with the environment in practical and rational terms, which I argue is also one expression of environmental literacy.

Contributor Notes

Seija A. Niemi is an environmental historian with a wide range of interests. She completed her MA in cultural history at the University of Turku in 2003 with a thesis on the Finnish Tango King Olavi Virta. In 2005, she earned her Ph.L. in Finnish history with an environmental thesis on the history of the birch tree in Finnish forests. Her doctoral thesis discusses the Finnish Swedish explorer and scientist Adolf Erik Nordenskiöld (1832–1901) and his place in the history of early Nordic conservation. A series of nonfiction books for children with topics on the Arctic and another on the history of Finnish workers are under way. E-mail: seasni@utu.fi

Sibirica

Interdisciplinary Journal of Siberian Studies

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