Russia and Oceania (XIX-XXI centuries)

Project period: 2019-2020
Project geography: Russia, Papua New Guinea
Organized by the Miklouho-Maclay Foundation with the support from the Presidential Grants Foundation and the project partners

Russia and the island world of Oceania have had very strong historical and scientific ties for more than two centuries. Russian circumnavigators of the XIX century, N.N. Miklouho-Maclay, Soviet expeditions of the 1970s, and Russian expeditions of 2017 and 2019 made a great contribution to the study of the culture and traditions of many peoples in all three historical and ethnographic regions of Oceania: Melanesia, Micronesia and Polynesia. The results of the research are of great interest to a wide audience: students of the secondary and high schools, gymnasiums and lyceums, higher education institutions, as well as specialists in history, ethnology and physical anthropology. Moreover, detailed coverage of this important milestone in the history of Russian science opens up good prospects for the involvement of new generations of young scientists in the process of further scientific research.
It should be noted that Russia has left its cultural mark among the indigenous peoples of certain regions of Oceania. For example, on the Maclay Coast (New Guinea), the inhabitants of several villages still pass on from generation to generation stories about the outstanding Russian scientist and traveler N.N. Miklouho-Maclay, who has become one of the major figures of their narrative folklore, and several phonetically modified Russian words entered the Bongu language. Further development of research in this region will allow Russia to further expand and strengthen scientific and cultural ties with the Oceanic world. During the Russian expedition to Papua New Guinea in 2017 and 2019, the New Guineans showed a sincere desire to develop cooperation between the two countries in various fields, including student exchange and the preparation of joint social programs. Russia’s interaction with the countries of the South Seas is entering a new stage of development.


The educational project “Russia and Oceania (XIX-XXI centuries)” lectures were developed and composed by a team of professionals — the scientists of the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS). Professors, candidates and doctors of Sciences, researchers and travelers are involved in lectureship.

Supplementary material

The project is dedicated to the natural science and ethnographic research of Russian scientists and travelers in Oceania. It will be interesting to a wide audience interested in world and Russian history, geography, especially relevant for children of secondary and senior school age, could broaden the horizons. The exhibition you see, is designed to tell the younger generation about the achievements of our compatriots in the study of the Pacific region, about the Russian titles of geographical objects in Oceania. The exhibition will help to learn about the contribution to the study of Oceania, it will help to understand how much has been done by the Russian pioneers, what will certainly allow to be proud of the achievements of Russian science and the exploits of famous Russian travelers and seafarers: N.N. Miklouho-Maclay, I.F. Kruzenshtern, F.F. Bellingshausen, M.P. Lazarev, and many others. The exhibition shows the continuity in Russia’s study of the Pacific region, and, undoubtedly, it will contribute to the enthusiasm of secondary and high school students of serious study of the history of their country and traveling.

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