Gerasim Izmailov
Gerasim Grigoryevich Izmaylov was a Russian
The Russian people are an East Slavic ethnic group native to Russia, speaking the Russian language and primarily living in Russia and neighboring countries....

 navigator involved in the Russian colonization of the Americas
Russian colonization of the Americas
The Russian colonization of the Americas covers the period, from 1732 to 1867, when the Tsarist Imperial Russian Empire laid claim to northern Pacific Coast territories in the Americas...

 and in the establishment of the colonies of Russian America in Alaska
Alaska is the largest state in the United States by area. It is situated in the northwest extremity of the North American continent, with Canada to the east, the Arctic Ocean to the north, and the Pacific Ocean to the west and south, with Russia further west across the Bering Strait...

. He was responsible for the first detailed maps of the Aleutian Islands.

A native of Yakutsk
With a subarctic climate , Yakutsk is the coldest city, though not the coldest inhabited place, on Earth. Average monthly temperatures range from in July to in January. The coldest temperatures ever recorded on the planet outside Antarctica occurred in the basin of the Yana River to the northeast...

, Izmaylov attended a navigation school in Okhotsk
Okhotsk is an urban locality and a seaport at the mouth of the Okhota River on the Sea of Okhotsk, in Okhotsky District, Khabarovsk Krai, Russia. Population: 4,470 ;...

 with Dmitry Bocharov
Dmitry Bocharov
Dmitry Bocharov is a Russian chess Grandmaster .In 2003 he tied for 1st-7th with Vladimir Burmakin, Eduardas Rozentalis, Philipp Schlosser, Alexander Areshchenko, Jakov Geller and Evgeny Miroshnichenko in the Cappelle-la-Grande Open. In 2004, came first at Abu Dhabi. In 2006 he won the 14th...

, who became his lifelong business companion. In 1771, both were caught up in the Benevsky mutiny on Bolsheretsky island in Kamchatka. Izmaylov attempted to break away from the mutineers but, after being flogged, was marooned on the isle of Simushir
Simushir is an uninhabited volcanic island near the center of the Kuril Islands chain in the Sea of Okhotsk in the northwest Pacific Ocean. Its name is derived from the Ainu language for “large island”.-Geology:...

, one of the uninhabited Kuril Islands
Kuril Islands
The Kuril Islands , in Russia's Sakhalin Oblast region, form a volcanic archipelago that stretches approximately northeast from Hokkaidō, Japan, to Kamchatka, Russia, separating the Sea of Okhotsk from the North Pacific Ocean. There are 56 islands and many more minor rocks. It consists of Greater...

. For a year he subsisted on "scallops, grass, and roots" before being rescued by yasak
Yasak or yasaq, sometimes iasak, is a Turkic word for "tribute" that was used in Imperial Russia to designate fur tribute exacted from the indigenous peoples of Siberia.- Origin :...

 gatherers. He was tried in Irkutsk
Irkutsk is a city and the administrative center of Irkutsk Oblast, Russia, one of the largest cities in Siberia. Population: .-History:In 1652, Ivan Pokhabov built a zimovye near the site of Irkutsk for gold trading and for the collection of fur taxes from the Buryats. In 1661, Yakov Pokhabov...

 on charges of mutiny, but was eventually cleared in 1774.

In 1775, Izmaylov assumed command of the boat St. Paul and set to work mapping the shores of the Aleutian Islands. On October 1778, while visiting Unalaska, he made the acquaintance of Captain James Cook
James Cook
Captain James Cook, FRS, RN was a British explorer, navigator and cartographer who ultimately rose to the rank of captain in the Royal Navy...

 who presented him a sword and a Mercator
Mercator may refer to:* Marius Mercator , a Catholic ecclesiastical writer* Gerardus Mercator, a 16th-century Flemish cartographer** Mercator projection, a cartographic projection devised by Gerardus Mercator...

 map in exchange for a letter of introduction to the Kamchatka authorities. He also handed over to Izmaylov a recently drawn map of the western coast of North America, which was to be delivered by the Russians to the British Admiralty.

In 1783-1785, Izmaylov and Grigory Shelikhov
Grigory Shelikhov
Grigory Ivanovich Shelekhov Grigory Ivanovich Shelekhov Grigory Ivanovich Shelekhov (Григорий Иванович Шелехов in Russian; (1747–July 20, 1795 (July 31, 1795 N.S.)) was a Russian seafarer and merchant born in Rylsk....

 made their historic voyage from Okhotsk to Kodiak Island
Kodiak Island
Kodiak Island is a large island on the south coast of the U.S. state of Alaska, separated from the Alaska mainland by the Shelikof Strait. The largest island in the Kodiak Archipelago, Kodiak Island is the second largest island in the United States and the 80th largest island in the world, with an...

, where they founded the first Russian settlement in America. In 1789, Izmaylov became the first to explore and map the Kenai Peninsula
Kenai Peninsula
The Kenai Peninsula is a large peninsula jutting from the southern coast of Alaska in the United States. The name Kenai is probably derived from Kenayskaya, the Russian name for Cook Inlet, which borders the peninsula to the west.-Geography:...

. Three years later, he took up employment under Alexander Baranov, helping him withstand a sea attack by the Tlingit.

Having wintered in Unalaska, Izmaylov visited Saint Paul Island
Saint Paul Island, Alaska
Saint Paul Island is the largest of the Pribilof Islands, a group of five Alaskan volcanic islands located in the Bering Sea between the United States and Russia. The city of St. Paul is the only residential area on the island. The two nearest islands to Saint Paul Island are Otter Island to the...

, where he discovered the crew of a Russian ship that had been missing since 1791. He brought them back to Okhotsk in June 1794. He is mentioned for the last time in 1795, when he accompanied to Alaska a group of Orthodox missionaries under Father Joasaph.
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