This Year Marks 225 Years Since the Birthday of Roman Boyle

Photo: Timur Ahmetov
Photo: Timur Ahmetov

The 225th anniversary of the birth of the Russian Vice-Admiral, round-the-world navigator Roman Boyle was on January 16. He wrote a detailed description of the cape on the island of Nunivak in the Bobrov Sea (this is the Bering Sea today). He participated in North Polar Expedition in 1819. The "Otkritie" (“Discoveries”) and "Blagonamerenny" (“In Good Faith”) sloops under the leadership of lieutenant-commanders Mikhail Vasilyev and Gleb Shishmarev started from Kronshtadt. The purpose of the expedition was to find a passage through the Bering Strait into the Atlantic Ocean. In difficult conditions, the group was able to explore a significant part of the shores of America and Asia having overcome the bad weather. However, they did not reach the goal of the campaign and returned to St. Petersburg in 1822.

Boyle was born in Revel (Tallinn) in 1794 in the family of an English naval officer, captain-commander Platon Boyle. Platon Boyle entered the Russian service at the invitation of Empress Catherine II and took Russian citizenship. In 1811 Roman Boyle graduated from the Naval Cadet Corps and went as a midshipman to the frigate “Emmanuel”. He also served on the ships "Благодать" (“Grace”) and "Jupiter" under leadership of his father. He served in the ranks of the English fleet, participated in the blockade of the Dutch coast and in the landing on the island of Nord-Belent over the next five years.

Roman Boyle repeatedly participated in long sailings and sea expeditions. Boyle received the Order of St. Vladimir of the 4th degree for participation in the expedition of Mikhail Vasilyev. Also he received the Order of St. George of the 4th degree for conducting of 18 naval campaigns.

Boyle got the rank of lieutenant-commander in 1826, and he became a captain of the 1st rank in 1834. Boyle left the service at sea because of poor health in 1849 and he became the Archangel military governor in 1850.

Roman Boyle was interested in the manners, culture and life of the region entrusted to him. He went on a journey through the eastern part of the Arkhangelsk province in 1850. All the journey he used reindeer sleigh of the Samoyedic people and also dressed as people of the ethnic group. He traveled around Pinezhsky and Mezensky districts, visited the most distant Pechersk places, on the shores of the Arctic Ocean, he also was in Ust-Sysolsk, Izhme, Pustozersk and even visited the local chums.

Boyle had got the right to arm the port of Arkhangelsk in 1853. He gained the rights of a commander of a separate corps participated in the defense of Arkhangelsk when the Crimean War started in 1854. Boyle, as the experienced commander, took up the task of protecting the Northern Territory from the enemy with such caution and reliance, that he never dared to make an open attack on the Russian port. The Anglo-French squadron was limited only to the seizure of civilian ships and the shelling of unfortified settlements.

Roman Boyle went to St. Petersburg with a report on the affairs of the defense of Arkhangelsk in December 1854. He began to take service cares when he returned to Arkhangelsk, but he died of cholera on December 17.

In memory of his contribution to Russian science, a cape on the island of Nunivak was named after Roman Boyle, the description of which he compiled.