Polar Record

The place names of Zemlya Frantsa-Iosifa: Leigh Smith's Eira expeditions, 1880 and 1881–1882

P.J. Capelottia1 and Magnus Forsberga2

a1 Division of Social Sciences, Penn State University, Abington College, Abington, PA 09001 USA (pjc12@psu.edu)

a2 Västerängsvägen 12, 432 96 Åskloster, Sweden

ABSTRACT

In the summer of 1880, the British explorer Benjamin Leigh Smith made the first reconnaissance of the western reaches of Zemlya Frantsa-Iosifa [Franz Josef Land] in the specially built polar research vessel Eira. This was the first expedition to go ashore in the archipelago after its acknowledged discovery by Weyprecht and Payer in 1873. Combined with his brief reconnaissance in 1881 before Eira sank near Cape Flora, Leigh Smith added a total of 41 place names, 37 of which are still in use, to its geographic nomenclature during his two expeditions, 1880 (39 place names) and 1881–1882 (2). The 1880 names were a post-expedition collaboration, between Leigh Smith and Clements Markham, Secretary of the Royal Geographic Society (RGS). Leigh Smith provided the names of colleagues and scientists who had either been with him in 1880 or on one of his earlier expeditions to Svalbard, or those of favoured relatives, while Markham, along with Sir George Nares as an RGS peer reviewer, added the names of particularly influential individuals in geographical circles as well as a variety of museum curators who identified natural history collections returned by the expedition. Additionally, two place names are connected to the Dutch Willem Barents expedition of 1879.

(Received April 2013)

(Online publication June 28 2013)