Jules Dumont d'Urville
|Born||23 May 1790|
|Died||8 May 1842 51) (aged|
|Relations||Gabriel Charles François Dumont|
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Jules Sébastien César Dumont d'Urville (French pronunciation: [ʒyl dymɔ̃ dyʁvil] ; 23 May 1790 – 8 May 1842) was a French explorer and naval officer who explored the south and western Pacific, Australia, New Zealand and Antarctica. As a botanist and cartographer he gave his name to several seaweeds, plants and shrubs, and places such as d'Urville Island in New Zealand.
Dumont was born at Condé-sur-Noireau in Lower Normandy. His father, Gabriel Charles François Dumont, sieur d’Urville (1728–1796), Bailiff of Condé-sur-Noireau, was, like his ancestors, responsible to the court of Condé. His mother Jeanne Françoise Victoire Julie (1754–1832) came from Croisilles, Calvados, and was a rigid and formal woman from an ancient family of the rural nobility of Lower Normandy. The child was weak and often sickly. After the death of his father when he was six, his mother's brother, the Abbot of Croisilles, played the part of his father and from 1798 took charge of his education. The Abbot taught him Latin, Greek, rhetoric and philosophy. From 1804 Dumont studied at the lycée Impérial in Caen.[ citation needed ] In Caen's library he began to read the Encyclopédistes and the reports of travel of Bougainville, Cook and Anson, and he became deeply passionate about these matters.[ citation needed ] At the age of 17 years he failed the physical tests of the entrance exam to the École Polytechnique and he therefore decided to enlist in the navy.
In 1807 Dumont was admitted to the Naval Academy at Brest where he presented himself as a timid young man, very serious and studious, little interested in amusements and much more interested in studies than in military matters. In 1808, he obtained the grade of first class candidate.
At the time the neglected French navy was of a much lower quality than Napoleon's Grande Armée, and its ships were blockaded in their ports by the absolute domination of the British Royal Navy. Dumont was confined to land like his colleagues and spent the first years in the navy studying foreign languages. In 1812, after having been promoted to ensign and finding himself bored with port life and disapproving of the dissolute behaviour of the other young officers, he asked to be transferred to Toulon on board the Suffren ; but this ship was also blockaded in port.[ citation needed ]
In this period Dumont built on his already substantial cultural knowledge. He already spoke, in addition to Latin and Greek, English, German, Italian, Russian, Chinese and Hebrew. During his later travels in the Pacific, thanks to his prodigious memory, he would acquire some knowledge of an immense number of dialects of Polynesia and Melanesia. Meanwhile, ashore at Toulon, he learnt about botany and entomology in long excursions in the hills of Provence and he studied in the nearby naval observatory.[ citation needed ]
Finally in 1814, when Napoleon had been exiled to Elba, Dumont undertook his first short navigation of the Mediterranean Sea. In 1815, he married Adèle Pepin, daughter of a clockmaker from Toulon, [ citation needed ]who was openly disliked by Dumont's mother, who thought her inappropriate for her son and refused to meet her and, later on, her grandsons from the marriage.
In 1819 Dumont d'Urville sailed on board Chevrette, under the command of Captain Gauttier-Duparc, to carry out a hydrographic survey of the islands of the Greek archipelago. During a pause near the island of Milos, the local French representative brought to Dumont's attention the rediscovery of a marble statue a few days before (8 April 1820) by a local peasant. The statue, now known as the Venus de Milo dates from around the year 130 BC. Dumont recognised its value and would have acquired it immediately, but the ship's commander pointed out that there was not enough space on board for an object of its size. Moreover, the expedition was likely to proceed through stormy seas that could damage it. Dumont then wrote to the French ambassador to Constantinople about its discovery. [ citation needed ]Chevrette arrived in Constantinople on 22 April and Dumont succeeded in convincing the ambassador to acquire the statue.
Meanwhile, the peasant had sold the statue to a priest, Macario Verghis, who wished to present it as a gift to an interpreter for the Sultan in Constantinople. The French ambassador's representative arrived just as the statue was being loaded aboard a ship bound for Constantinople and persuaded the island's primates (chief citizens) to annul the sale and honour the first offer. This earned Dumont the title of Chevalier (knight) of the Légion d'honneur, the attention of the French Academy of Sciences and promotion to lieutenant; and France gained a new, magnificent statue for the Louvre in Paris.
On his return from the voyage of Chevrette, Dumont was sent to the naval archive where he encountered Lieutenant Louis Isidore Duperrey, an acquaintance from the past. The two began to plan an expedition of exploration in the Pacific, [ citation needed ]an area out of which France had been forced during the Napoleonic Wars. France considered it might be able to regain some of its losses by taking over part of New South Wales. On 11 August 1822, the ship La Coquille sailed from Toulon with the objective of collecting as much scientific and strategic information as possible on the area to which it was dispatched. Duperrey was named Commander of the expedition because he was four years older than Dumont. Dumont discovered the Adélie penguin, which is named after his wife.
René-Primevère Lesson also travelled on La Coquille as a naval doctor and naturalist. On the return to France in March 1825, Lesson and Dumont brought back to France an imposing collection of animals and plants collected on the Falkland Islands, on the coasts of Chile and Peru, in the archipelagos of the Pacific and New Zealand, New Guinea and Australia. Dumont was now 35 and in poor health. On board La Coquille, he had behaved as a competent official, but rather abrupt, little inclined to socialise and with a sometimes embarrassing lack of interest in his physical condition and medical and hygiene advice. On the return to France, Duperrey was promoted to commander, while Dumont was demoted to a lower rank, even after having been on his best behaviour. This greatly disturbed Dumont in subsequent years.[ citation needed ]
On La Coquille, Dumont tried to reconcile his responsibilities as second in command with his need to carry out scientific work. He was in charge of carrying out research in the fields of botany and entomology. La Coquille brought back to France specimens of more than 3,000 species of plants, 400 of which were previously unknown, enriching moreover the Muséum national d'histoire naturelle in Paris with more than 1,200 specimens of insects, covering 1,100 insect species (including 300 previously unknown species). The scientists Georges Cuvier and François Arago analysed the results of his searches and praised Dumont.[ citation needed ]
As a botanist and cartographer, Dumont d'Urville left his mark on New Zealand. He gave his name to the genus of seaweeds Durvillaea , which includes the giant bull-kelp; the seaweed Grateloupia urvilleana; the species of grass tree Dracophyllum urvilleanum; the shrub Hebe urvilleana and the buttercup Ranunculus urvilleanus.
Two months after Dumont d'Urville returned on La Coquille, he presented to the Navy Ministry a plan for a new expedition, which he hoped to command, as his relationship with Duperrey had deteriorated. The proposal was accepted and La Coquille was renamed the Astrolabe in honour of one of the ships of La Pérouse, and sailed from Toulon on 22 April 1826, towards the Pacific Ocean, for a circumnavigation of the world that was destined to last nearly three years.
The new Astrolabe skirted the coast of southern Australia, carried out new relief maps of the South Island of New Zealand, including improved surveys of the Marlborough Sounds in which he navigated through the narrow and treacherous French Pass and mapped D'Urville Island, which James Cook had mapped as being part of the mainland.
Astrolabe sailed up the east coast of the North Island, creating comprehensive coastline maps of New Zealand.The ship spent six days in the Bay of Islands taking on food and water before sailing for Tonga.
Astrolabe visited Fiji, then Dumont executed the first relief maps of the Loyalty Islands (part of French New Caledonia) and explored the coasts of New Guinea. He identified the site of La Pérouse's shipwreck in Vanikoro (one of the Santa Cruz Islands, part of the archipelago of the Solomon Islands) and collected numerous remains of his boats. The voyage continued with the mapping of part of the Caroline Islands and the Moluccas. Astrolabe returned to Marseille on 25 March 1829, with an impressive load of hydrographical papers and collections of zoological, botanical and mineralogical reports, which were destined to strongly influence the scientific analysis of those regions. Following this expedition, he invented the terms Malaisia, Micronesia and Melanesia , distinguishing these Pacific cultures and island groups from Polynesia.
Dumont's health was by now weakened by years of a poor diet. He suffered from kidney and stomach problems and from intense attacks of gout. During the first thirteen years of their marriage, half of which passed far apart, Adélie and Jules had two sons. The first one died at a young age while his father was aboard La Coquille and the second, also called Jules, on the return of his father after four years away.
Dumont d’Urville passed a short period with his family before returning to Paris, where he was promoted to captain and he was put in charge of writing the report of his travels. The five volumes were published at the expense of the French government between 1832 and 1834. During these years d’Urville, who was already a poor diplomat, became more irascible and rancorous as a result of his gout, and lost the sympathy of the naval leadership. In his report, he criticised harshly the military structures, his colleagues, the French Academy of Sciences and even the King – none of whom, in his opinion, had given the voyage of Astrolabe due acknowledgment.
In 1835, Dumont was directed to return to Toulon to engage in "down to earth" work and spent two years, marked by mournful events (notably the loss of a daughter from cholera) and happy events (notably the birth of another son, Émile) but with the constant and nearly obsessive thought of a third expedition to the Pacific, analogous to James Cook's third voyage. He looked again at Astrolabe's travel notes, and found a gap in the exploration of Oceania and, in January 1837, he wrote to the Navy Ministry suggesting the opportunity for a new expedition to the Pacific.
King Louis-Philippe approved the plan, but he ordered that the expedition aim for the South Magnetic Pole and to claim it for France; if that was not possible, Dumont's expedition was asked to equal the most southerly latitude of 74°34'S achieved in 1823 by James Weddell. Thus France became part of the international competition for polar exploration, along with the United States and the United Kingdom.
Dumont was initially unhappy with the modifications made to his proposal. He had little interest in polar exploration and preferred tropical routes. But soon his vanity took over and he saw the opportunity for achieving a prestigious objective.The two ships, Astrolabe and Zélée, commanded by Charles Hector Jacquinot, were prepared for the voyage at Toulon. In the course of the preparation Dumont also went to London to acquire documentation and instrumentation, meeting the British Admiralty’s oceanographer, Francis Beaufort and the President of the Royal Geographical Society, John Washington, both strong supporters of the British expeditions to the South Pole.
Astrolabe and Zélée sailed from Toulon on 7 September 1837, after three weeks of delay compared to Dumont's plans. His objectives were to reach the most southerly point possible at this time in the Weddell Sea; to pass through the Strait of Magellan; to travel up the coast of Chile in order to head for Oceania with the objective of inspecting the new British colonies in Western Australia; to sail to Hobart; and to sail to New Zealand to find opportunities for French whalers and to examine places where a penal colony might be established. After passing through the East Indies, the mission would have to round the Cape of Good Hope and return to France.
Early in the voyage, part of the crew was involved in a drunken brawl and arrested in Tenerife. A short pause was made in Rio de Janeiro to disembark a sick official. During the first part of the voyage there were also problems of provisioning, particularly rotten meat, which affected the health of the crew. At the end of November, the ships reached the Strait of Magellan. Dumont thought there was sufficient time to explore the strait for three weeks, taking into account the precise maps drawn by Phillip Parker King in HMS Beagle between 1826 and 1830, before heading south again.
Two weeks after seeing their first iceberg, Astrolabe and Zélée found themselves entangled again in a mass of ice on 1 January 1838. The same night the pack ice prevented the ships from continuing to the south. In the next two months Dumont led increasingly desperate attempts to find a passage through the ice so that he could reach the desired latitude. For a while the ships managed to keep to an ice-free channel, but shortly afterwards they became trapped again, after a wind change. Five days of continuous work were necessary in order to open a corridor in the pack ice to free them.
After reaching the South Orkney Islands, the expedition headed directly to the South Shetland Islands and the Bransfield Strait separating them from Antarctica. In spite of thick fog they located some land only sketched on the maps, which Dumont named Terre de Louis-Philippe (now called Graham Land), the Joinville Island group and Rosamel Island (now called Andersson Island).Conditions on board had rapidly deteriorated: most of the crew had obvious symptoms of scurvy and the main decks were covered by smoke from the ships' fires and bad smells and became unbearable. At the end of February 1838, Dumont accepted that he was not able to continue further south, and he continued to doubt the actual latitude reached by Weddell. He therefore directed the two ships towards Talcahuano, in Chile, where he established a temporary hospital for the crew members affected by scurvy.
During months of exploration in the Pacific, the ship visited many islands in Polynesia. On their arrival in the Marquesas Islands, the crews found ways "to socialise" with the islanders. Dumont's moral conduct was irreproachable, but he provided a highly summarised description of some incidents of their stay in Nuku Hiva in his reports. During the voyage from the East Indies to Tasmania some of the crew were lost to tropical fevers and dysentery (14 men and 3 officials); but for Dumont the worst moment during the expedition was at Valparaiso, where he received a letter from his wife that informed him of the death of his second son from cholera. Adélie's sorrowful demand that he return home coincided with a deterioration in his health: Dumont was more and more often hit by attacks of gout and stomach pains.
On 12 December 1839 the two corvettes landed at Hobart, where the sick and the dying were treated. Dumont was received by John Franklin, Governor of Tasmania and an Arctic explorer who later perished on the infamous Franklin Expedition, from whom he learned that the ships of the American expedition led by Charles Wilkes were berthed in Sydney waiting to sail south.
Seeing the consistent reduction of the crews, decimated by misfortunes, Dumont expressed his intention to leave this time for the Antarctic with Astrolabe only, in order to attempt to reach the South Magnetic Pole around longitude 140°. A deeply wounded Captain Jacquinot urged the hiring of a number of replacements (generally deserters from a French whaler anchored in Hobart) and convinced him to reconsider his intentions; Astrolabe and Zelée both left Hobart on 1 January 1840. Dumont's plan was very simple: to head south, wind conditions permitting.
The first days of the voyage mainly involved the crossing of twenty degrees and a westerly current; on board there were further misfortunes, including the loss of a man. Crossing the 50°S parallel, they experienced unexpected falls in the air and water temperatures. After completing the crossing of the Antarctic Convergence, on 16 January 1840, at 60°S they sighted the first iceberg and two days later the ships found themselves in the middle of a mass of ice. On 20 Januarythe expedition crossed the Antarctic Circle, with celebrations similar to crossing of the Equator ceremonies, and they sighted land the same afternoon.
The two ships slowly sailed to the West, skirting walls of ice, and on 22 January, km north from the glacier extremity near Cape Geodesie, and hoisted the French tricolour. Dumont named the archipelago Pointe Géologie and the land beyond, Terre Adélie The map of the coast drawn under sail by the hydrographer Clément Adrien Vincendon-Dumoulin is remarkably accurate given the means of the time.just before 9 in the evening, some members of the crew disembarked on the north-westernmost and highest islet of the rocky group of Dumoulin Islands, at 500–600 m from the icy coast of the Astrolabe Glacier Tongue of the time, today about 4
In the following days the expedition followed the coast westward then led for the first time some experiments to determine the approximate position of the South magnetic pole. They sighted the American schooner Porpoise of the United States Exploring Expedition commanded by Charles Wilkes on 30 January 1840, but failed to communicate due to a misunderstanding.On 1 February, Dumont decided to turn to the north heading for Hobart, which the two ships reached 17 days later. They were present for the arrival of the two ships of James Ross’s expedition to Antarctica, HMS Terror and HMS Erebus.
On 25 February, the schooners sailed towards the Auckland Islands, where they carried out magnetic measurements and they left a commemorative plate of their visit (as had the commander of Porpoise previously), in which they announced the discovery of the South Magnetic Pole.They returned via New Zealand, the Torres Strait, Timor, Réunion, Saint Helena and finally Toulon, returning on 6 November 1840, the last French expedition of exploration to sail.
On his return Dumont d'Urville was promoted to rear admiral and was awarded the Gold Medal of the Société de Géographie (Geographical Society of Paris), later becoming its president. He then took over the writing of the report of the expedition, Voyage au pôle Sud et dans l'Océanie sur les corvettes l'Astrolabe et la Zélée 1837–1840, which was published between 1841 and 1854 in 24 volumes, plus seven more volumes with illustrations and maps.
On 8 May 1842, Dumont and his family boarded a train from Versailles to Paris after seeing water games celebrating the king. Near Meudon the train's locomotive derailed, the wagons rolled and the tender’s coal ended up on the front of the train and caught fire. Dumont's whole family died in the flames of the first French railway disaster, generally known as the Versailles rail accident.Dumont's remains were identified by Pierre-Marie Alexandre Dumoutier, a doctor on board the Astrolabe and a phrenologist.
Dumont was buried in the cemetery of Montparnasse in Paris. This tragedy led to the end of the practice in France of locking passengers in their train compartments.
He is the author of The New Zealanders: A story of Austral lands – likely to be the first novel written about fictional Maori characters. Later, in honour of his many valuable chartings, the D'Urville Sea off Antarctica; D'Urville Island in the Joinville Island group in Antarctica; D'Urville Wall on the David Glacier in Antarctica, Cape d'Urville, Irian Jaya, Indonesia; Mount D'Urville, Auckland Island; and D'Urville Island in New Zealand were named after him. The Dumont d'Urville Station on Antarctica is also named after him, as is the Rue Dumont d'Urville, a street near the Champs-Élysées in the 8th arrondissement of Paris, and the Lycée Dumont D'Urville in Caen.
Dumont d'Urville himself named Pepin Island and Adélie Land in Antarctica after his wife, and Croisilles Harbour for his mother's family.
A French naval transport ship employed in French Polynesia is named after him;as was a 1931 sloop which served in World War II.
Jacques Bernard Hombron (1798–1852) was a French naval surgeon and naturalist.
René Primevère Lesson was a French surgeon, naturalist, ornithologist, and herpetologist.
The Dumont d'Urville Station is a French scientific station in Antarctica on Île des Pétrels, archipelago of Pointe-Géologie in Adélie Land. It is named after explorer Jules Dumont d'Urville, whose expedition landed on Débarquement Rock in the Dumoulin Islands at the northeast end of the archipelago on January 21, 1840. It is operated by the "French Polar Institute Paul-Émile Victor", a joint operation of French public and para-public agencies.
Joseph Paul Gaimard was a French naval surgeon and naturalist.
Jean René Constant Quoy was a French naval surgeon, zoologist and anatomist.
Jacques Pucheran was a French zoologist born in Clairac. He was a grandnephew to physiologist Étienne Serres (1786-1868).
The French Antarctic Expedition is any of several French expeditions in Antarctica.
Astrolabe Glacier is a glacier 7 kilometres (4 nmi) wide and 19 kilometres (10 nmi) long, flowing north-northeast from the continental ice and terminating at the coast in a prominent tongue at the east side of Geologie Archipelago. It was first sighted in 1840 by the French expedition under Captain Jules Dumont d'Urville, although no glaciers were noted on d'Urville's chart of this coast but a formidable icy dike with perpendicular flanks of 37.7 m high according to the joined plate, corresponding to the glacier tongue. The glacier was photographed from the air by U.S. Navy Operation Highjump in January 1947. It was charted by the French Antarctic Expedition, 1949–51, and named after d'Urville's flagship, the Astrolabe.
Astrolabe was a horse barge converted to an exploration ship of the French Navy and was originally named Coquille. She is famous for her travels with Jules Dumont d'Urville. The name derives from an early navigational instrument, the astrolabe, a precursor to the sextant.
François Edmond Eugène de Barlatier de Mas was a French naval officer, born in 1810 in the Saussay. He was the son of Auguste de Barlatier de Mas 1781-1836 and Sophie Joséphine Archdeacon 1785-1857, and grandson of the Famous Captain Paul François Ignace de Barlatier de Mas who fought in the American War of Independence against the English and was awarded a permanent seat in the General Society of the Cincinnati. He married Thérèse Armandine Santerre, great-niece of General Antoine Joseph Santerre, and had three children, Sophie de Barlatier de Mas Peghoux 1842-1918, Armand Auguste de Barlatier de Mas 1845-1894 and Jacques Edmond de Barlatier de Mas 1851-1857.
Débarquement Rock is an ice-free rock 200 metres (220 yd) long and 18.7 m high, marking the northern end of the Dumoulin Islands and the north-eastern end of the Geologie Archipelago.
Zélée Glacier is a glacier about 6 kilometres (3 nmi) wide and 11 kilometres (6 nmi) long, flowing north-northwest from the continental ice along the west side of Lacroix Nunatak and terminating in a prominent tongue at the west side of Port Martin. Probably first sighted in 1840 by the French expedition under Captain Jules Dumont d'Urville, although no glaciers were noted on d'Urville's chart of this coast. Photographed from the air by U.S. Navy Operation Highjump, 1946–47. Charted by the French Antarctic Expedition under Liotard, 1949–51, and named for the Zélée, corvette which accompanied d'Urville's flagship, the Astrolabe.
Charles Hector Jacquinot was a noted mariner, best known for his role in early French Antarctic surveys.
Jules Poret de Blosseville was a French naval officer, geographer and explorer. Born in 1802, he joined the French Navy at the age of 16. From 1822 to 1825, he participated in an expedition that explored the South Pacific and, by its conclusion, circumnavigated the world. He disappeared in August 1833, while in command of his own expedition to the Arctic.
Pollia wagneri is a species of sea snail, a marine gastropod mollusk in the family Pisaniidae.
The Dumoulin Islands are a small group of rocky islands in the Antarctic region at the northeast end of the Geologie Archipelago, 4.6 kilometres (2.5 nmi) north of Astrolabe Glacier Tongue. On January 22, 1840, a French Antarctic expedition led by Captain Jules Dumont d'Urville, aboard his flagship Astrolabe, landed a party on one of these islands, Rocher du Débarquement. Dumont d'Urville named the group of islands in honor of the hydrographer of his expedition, Clément Adrien Vincendon-Dumoulin.
The Géologie Archipelago, also known as the Geology Archipelago or Cape Geology Archipelago, is a small archipelago of rocky islands and rocks close to the north of Cape Géodésie and Astrolabe Glacier Tongue, extending from Helene Island on the west to the Dumoulin Islands on the east, in Adélie Land, Antarctica.
The expedition members were:
The South Magnetic Pole is the wandering point on Earth's Southern Hemisphere where the geomagnetic field lines are directed vertically upwards. It should not be confused with the South Geomagnetic Pole described later.
The era of European and American voyages of scientific exploration followed the Age of Discovery and were inspired by a new confidence in science and reason that arose in the Age of Enlightenment. Maritime expeditions in the Age of Discovery were a means of expanding colonial empires, establishing new trade routes and extending diplomatic and trade relations to new territories, but with the Enlightenment scientific curiosity became a new motive for exploration to add to the commercial and political ambitions of the past. See also List of Arctic expeditions and List of Antarctic expeditions.
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