This Day in Alaska History-August 10th, 1728

On August 10th, the people of St. Lawrence Island celebrate St. Lawrence Day, named for the day that Danish explorer, under the flag of Russia, Vitus Bering, visited the island on August 10th, 1728.

According to history, St Lawrence Island is the first place in Alaska visited by Europeans. Bering did not set foot on the island but met with a few inhabitants near shore.

Bering set out on his first expedition to explore the eastern shores of Siberia to determine if Alaska was connected to Russia, he had received the task from Tsar Peter the Great. It was not known by many at the time that Semyon Dezhnyov had sailed through the Bering Strait in 1648 and had determined that the two continents were not connected. His report was made known in 1736 eight years after Bering gained fame for the same.

Bering never saw the North American shores during that expedition, but would do so when he embarked on his second voyage under Empress Anna in 1733-1743.