Nikolay Przhevalsky. What surprising treasures it brought from the travel? Part 2
the Undoubted success of Ussuriysk expedition of 1867 - 69 allowed Przhevalsky to address to the General Staff with the offer on the organization of large-scale research of Mongolia and Northern China, one of the purposes of which implementation of attempt would be whenever possible farther to get into Tibet almost unknown to the European scientist.
The traveler was supported by the Russian geographical society, and Military department allowed expedition, though allocated for it very few funds. All preparation for expedition to Przhevalsky was entrusted to be conducted independently, taking advices and the help of the prominent scientist and traveler P. P. Semenov.
Experience of the first expedition convinced Nikolay Mikhaylovich that “the structure of expedition for long scientific reconnaissance of unknown and remote districts in the depth of Central Asia from state people is hardly possible. In such group the disorder will inevitably set in, and business falls itself soon. Besides the military group is necessary to guarantee personal security of researchers and to reach sometimes by force of what cannot achieve peacefully. Not military person can be accepted unless as the special researcher, but with a condition of full submission to the chief of expedition. This the last and his assistants will also be more reliable from people of military, certainly, on condition of their validity for travel business. The escort has to consist of the serving soldiers and Cossacks. The discipline in group should be entered relentless, near the brotherly treatment of the commander of the subordinates. All group has to live one family and work for one purpose under domination of the head“.
By this principle it completed all the expeditions. The assistants whose most was officers, chose and prepared for travel personally. If there was opportunity, itself selected soldiers and Cossacks. So, Cossack Dondok Irinchinov accompanied the traveler in all four Central Asian expeditions.
The first of Central Asian expeditions, Mongolian, was organized and equipped all for half a year - term is simply amazing small for the Russian military bureaucracy. At the beginning of November, 1870 Przhevalsky and his assistant second lieutenant M. A. Pyltsov reached the transbaikal town of Kyakhta where in only two weeks created final structure of expedition, bought in addition the food, bought horses and camels. On November 17 the small group (only four persons) left in the direction of border with China. They were fated to return back only in three years, having passed during this time 12 thousand kilometers. Expedition crossed the Gobi and Alashan Desert, investigated the lake Kukhinor, salt bogs of Tsaydam, an upper course of the great Chinese river Yangtze, since 1872 for 1873 wintered in mountains of Northern Tibet.
The Tibetan stage of expedition was the heaviest. Here is how Przhevalsky remembered it: “Deep winter with hard frosts and storms, full deprivation of everything, even the most necessary, at last, various other difficulties - all this, to the day, exhausted our forces.... It is impossible to sit on a horse from cold, to walk also hard, especially bearing on itself the gun, a bag and the cartridge belt. On high uplands, in the rarefied air each excess pound of weight diminishes many forces; the slightest rise seems very difficult, short wind is felt, heart very strongly fights, hands and legs shiver; from time to time dizziness and vomiting begins.
To all this should be added that our warm attire in two years of the previous wanderings so wore out that everything was covered with patches and could not protect enough from cold. Boots disappeared at all so we hemmed to old tops pieces of a skin from the killed yaks and sported in similar boots the most hard frosts“.
In the hardest conditions expedition executed enormous amount of works. Territories from Northern China to river Yangtze upper courses were plotted, height of the Plateau of Tibet is determined. During all travel daily meteorological observations were made. The richest collections including about one thousand effigies of birds, 130 skins of mammals, 70 reptiles and more than three thousand insects are collected. The herbarium from 4 thousand plants was built. It is amazing that only four persons could make all this - it was really the feat, from time to time life of all members of expedition is cheerful literally on a hair.
By the way when members of expedition came back to St. Petersburg, they were met as national heroes. All travelers, including Cossacks, received prestigious awards of Geographical society. Also military department showed a bit of generosity. Przhevalsky received a rank of the lieutenant colonel and lifelong personal annual pension in 600 rubles (for the subsequent expeditions it was several times increased), Pyltsov became a lieutenant and too received lifelong pension. Cossacks were awarded with medals and handed them cash bonuses.
Wrote about expedition in the press much, did not do also without criticism of military department, he was accused reasonably what to send to Tibet expedition from only four people - deadly adventure which safely came to the end only thanks to Przhevalsky`s courage and his satellites. Probably, eventually, also military heads understood it. The following expedition (1876 - 77) included 10 people, including five Cossacks, and, two of them were participants previous. Then there was an expedition to Tibet (1879 - 80) which part 14 people were already. In the following expedition (1883 - 85) which went to Tibet too, included already 21 persons.
Increase in number of people in expeditions did not do them easier. So, the last Tibetan expedition of Przhevalsky was the most dangerous, and this danger was constituted not by(with) mountains, and people. Here is how Przhevalsky in the letter to the friend described some episodes of that expedition: “Having spent July in mountains Nan - Shan, we reached at the beginning of September of mountains Burkhan - Buda in Tsaydam. Here by nearly force got to themselves the conductor to Hlossa, but this conductor near the Blue river deliberately brought us to difficult mountains. We unpicked for it the Mongol lashes and banished: we went one forward, again traveling finding a way. So reached Tan`s mountains - La at whose top at the absolute height of 16 800 feet were attacked by the nomadic Tangut tribe of Egrayev which constantly plunder the Mongolian caravans here. Only this time Egrai were mistaken in calculation. As we met villains by volleys from Berdan rifles. One minute a quarter of robbers were killed, is a little wounded: the others got away to mountains. There was it on November 7. The next day Egrai, having gathered in bigger number, occupied the gorge through which our way lies. Again a volley of Berdan rifles - and again the coward swine ran up anywhere“.
In the letter Przhevalsky deliberately did not begin to describe details of those attacks, and they were extremely dangerous. At this time expedition was divided into two groups which conducted battles independently. It were fights as forwards were well armed and perfectly trained for actions in mountains. By the way, after these fights Przhevalsky by the power (during the previous expedition he received the colonel`s rank) made all soldiers in an unter - officers, and Cossacks in village constables. Upon return from this expedition all lower ranks were awarded by St George`s Crosses and solid allowances. High awards waited also for officers, and Przhevalsky was made in the general - majors.
The next travel was planned by Przhevalsky for 1888. In Pishpeke (nowadays Bishkek, the capital of Kyrgyzstan) where final preparation for an exit was carried out to expedition, Nikolay Mikhaylovich got sick with a typhoid. It to rescue attempts of local doctors were not crowned with success. On October 20 (on November 1 on N of page) Przhevalsky died. Before death he bequeathed to bury him on the bank of the lake Issyk - the Sack, having made the laconic inscription “Traveller Przhevalsky“ on a grave. The last will of Nikolay Mikhaylovich was executed.
N. M. Przhevalsky became history of science as the great traveler investigating enormous regions of Central Asia across which he passed more than 31500 kilometers. It plotted the whole mountain systems and large lakes, upper courses and sources of Yangtze and Huang He, the great rivers of China. The largest Asian deserts, including the great Gobi Desert are investigated. It collected the richest zoological, botanical and mineralogical collections. Among tens of thousands of collection copies brought by it from travel it appeared more 200th species of plants unknown to science, tens of insects, reptiles, birds and mammals among which there is the Tibetan bear, a wild camel, a wild horse who was called Przhevalsky`s horse subsequently.
Unfortunately, in short article it is impossible to describe all surprising travel of Nikolay Mikhaylovich and, probably, in it and there is no need. He perfectly made it. Przhevalsky had the literary gift therefore the books written to them which continue to be republished also today, are read on one breath. I recommend, you will not regret. Before you the amazing world of the wild nature which only began to slightly open the secrets, and people who at the price of incredible efforts and deadly risk moved apart boundaries of novel will open.