FOUNDING OF VLADIVOSTOK
In 1859, when passing
the shores of Peter the Great Bay,
N. N. Muraviov-Amurski, governor-generalof East Siberia, paid special
attention to a well-sheltered inlet. He proposedto name it Golden Horn and
ordered to found on its shores a military post,which he later renamed Vladivostok.
The morning of June 20, 1860waswarm, but cloudy. Heavy gray clouds hung over the densely green hillsto precipitate drizzle. Yet, this not very pleasant weather did not affectthe good moodof the Russian sailors standing on deck of the transport“Manchzhur”,unhurriedly entering Golden Horn. People are always curiousin discoveringsomething new, and the officers, sailors and soldiers onboard gazed in curiosityat the quiet cozy inlet, the light sand on thecoast, caressed gently by smallwaves, and at the curly hills with theirbirches, lindens, acacias, maplesand oaks descending almost to the waterline.Mighty cedars and graceful firsshowed through the fog in the forest thicketscloser to the hilltops.
Lieutenant-Captain Alexei KarlovichShefner, the transport commander, having inspected with a telescope thesceniclandscape to select a little inlet for anchorage at the foothillof the southernslope of the coastal ridge, ordered to lower a boat. Ondisembarking withEnsignN. V. Komarov, Shefner ordered to continue rowingalong the coastlineto choosea site most suitable for landing the fortysoldiers of the thirdcompany ofthe 4th east Siberian battalion that arrivedon the transport.Soon a suitableplace was found, and the soldiers beganto land. The followingentry was madein “Manchzhur’s” logbook about thiseventon June 20, 1860:“Sent to shore this day: one officer, two noncomsand thirty-seven privatesof 4th battalion to take up post.”
A slight soft wind dispersedtheclouds, and everything under the rays of the bright summer sun beganto lookeven more picturesque. Axes resounded and saws buzzed rhythmically,and nowthe soldiers were already covering the plant-free ground with sand.Whitetents appeared in an hour or two. Having made a flagpole from a treetrunkthe soldiers dug it deep into the ground, and then the Tricolor ofthe RussianEmpire soared high. Dressed in ceremonious line, the soldiersturned theireyes toward the flag. Ensign Komarov saluted the Tricolorwith his sword.The ceremony evidenced that the military post of Vladivostokon the shoresof the Sea of Japan had been established.
On the next day afterthe landing,and on the days that followed, the sound of axes, saws anddropping treesresounded again: construction was under way. The soldiersand sailors wereerecting a barracks, kitchen, warehouses, bath and officers’quarters.In one month after the first landing, the corvette “Griden” underLieutenant-Captain G. H. Egersheld arrived in Golden Horn inlet. The corvettewas assigned the task of protecting Vladivostok and providing the garrisonwith all necessary supplies. In line with G. H. Egersheld’s instructions,a navigationteam fathomed the inlet, and in accord with measurement resultsobtained byLieutenant P. F. Churkin, the following new names for the firsttime appearedon the map: Vladivostok harbor and post, Golden Horn Inlet, Cape Egersheld,and Cape Churkin.
By winter, all things required by the post were completed. When frosts set in, the post garrison and the crew of corvette “Griden” were conducting topographical surveysand weather observations. The best sharpshooters hunted game and returned with rich trophies, e.g. roe deer, hares and boars. In addition, the Brockhaus and Efron Encyclopedia reports that during the first year of existenceofpost Vladivostok, tigers had eaten all the dogs brought to Golden HornfromNikolaevsk-on-the Amur.
In those years, the city developed relatively slowly. But starting from about 1869-1870, Vladivostok grew more noticeably. Everything increased in geometric progression, asit were. Yet, the authorities still had their doubts whether to establishRussia’s main naval port on the Pacific in Vladivostok, or to select someother place for that purpose, say Olga inlet or Possiet Bay.
- Servicemen, soldiers and sailors with wives and children—348;
- People of free professions with families—89;
- Settlers and retired soldiers—32;
- Their wives and children—5;
- Other residents—36;
In the 1890s, Vladivostok’s status as Russia’s main naval base on the Pacific continued to consolidate. The navy now included not only sailboats, but also powerful steam battleships. In July 1894, when the Sino-Japanese war broke out, the Russian Pacificsquadron based in Vladivostok included first-class cruisers “Admiral Nakhimov”, “Admiral Kornilov” and “Rynda”, second-class cruisers “Razboinik”, “Kreiser”and “Zabiyaka”, gunboats “Manchzhur”, “Bobr”, “Sivuch” and “Koreets”, destroyers“Sungari”, “Ussuri”, “Yanchihe” and “Suchena”, torpedo boats Nos. 77,79and 80. And the following year of 1895 the Pacific squadron was strengthened by the battleship “Emperor Nicholas I”, the first-class cruisers “PamiatjAzova” and “Vladimir Monomakh”, the torpedo boats “Gremiashchii” and “Otvazhnyi”,the torpedocruisers “Vsadnik” and “Gaidamak”, and the destroyers“Sveaborg”,“Revel” and “Borga”.
In thirty-five years, the small naval post of Vladivostok had turned into Russia’s major port and naval base in the Far East. But Vladivostok, like all of
Russia, was facing the looming tragedy of the Russo-Japanese War.
On photographs and in figures: sail-propeller transport
“Manchzhur” (drawing by Botanets); A. K. Shefner, commander of
transport“Manchzhur”and subsequently commander of Vladivostok
port (drawing by V.Chebotarev); view on city from Golden Horn inlet in early
20th century;one of the first photographs of Vladivostok, 1874; Goden Horn
inlet in1890s; first streetcar in Svetlanskaya Street in 1895.
A.V. BORODIN, Leading Editor, Institute of History,Archeologyand Ethnography of the Peoples of the Far East, Far East Branch,RussianAcademy of Sciences, Colonel (Retired), Pacific Fleet veteran.
- Central National Naval Archive. F. 909,D.45, L.110.
- G. Dmitriev and V. Tkachov. Peter the Great Bay. Vladivostok,1981. P. 16.
- L. Ermolenko, S. Ivanov, L. Ivashchenkoand L. Lysenko.Our town. Vladivostok, 1970, p. 38.
- G. Ammon. Memorable Sea Dates. Reference Book. Moscow(1987, p. 141 (in Russian).
- N. Przhevalsky. Travel in Ussuri Region (1867-1869), Moscow, 1940, p. 49 (in Russian).
- Vladivostok. Sketches to Portrait. Collected Articles.Vladivostok, 1985. P.24 (in Russian).
- Ibid., p.p.40, 41.
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