Jules Sébastien César Dumont d'Urville

Jules Sébastien César Dumont d'Urville

Birth
Conde-sur-Noireau, Departement du Calvados, Basse-Normandie, France
Death 8 May 1842 (aged 51)
Meudon, Departement des Hauts-de-Seine, Île-de-France, France
Burial Paris, City of Paris, Île-de-France, France
Plot Division 15
Memorial ID 7344 · View Source
Suggest Edits

French Navigator. Born the eighth child and only surviving son of Jeanne Françoise Julie Victoire de Croisilles and Gabriel Charles François Dumont d'Urville, a judge, in Condé-sur-Noireau, Normandy, France. He was educated by private tutor until he entered the Lycée Malherbe at Caen on a scholarship at the age of 14 where he became fluent in English, German, Spanish, Greek, Italian, Hebrew, and developed interest in astronomy, geology, entomology, and botany. At seventeen, he joined the French Navy as a midshipman and in 1812 he was promoted to ensign. In May 1815, he married Adèle Dorothée Pepin. He was sent on a survey in the Aegean and Black Seas (1819-20), there he learned of a statue recently unearthed and wrote the French ambassador advising the government purchase it. Now known as the Venus de Milo, it is still on display at the Louvre in Paris. For his efforts, d'Urville received the Legion of Honor and was promoted to Lieutenant. Upon his return home, he became a member of the Linnean Society and a foundation member of the Société de Géographie. In 1822, he published 'Enumeratio plantarum,' a study written of the botanical specimens he collected during the 1820 cruise. From 1822 to 1825 he served aboard the 'Coquille,' surveying the Falklands, Gilbert and Caroline Islands, Tahiti, and New Zealand, an expedition of 31 months. Upon his return to France, he was awarded the Cross of St. Louis and promoted to Commander. In 1826, he was placed in command of the 'Astrolabe' for his second successful circumnavigation of the globe. The expedition discovered the Fijian islands of Matuku and Totoya, charted the Loyalty Islands, surveyed the New Zealand coastline, and mapped the Tongas and Moluccas. His records were detailed enough so that for the first time the islands were divided into the groups Melanesia, Polynesia and Micronesia. He returned to France in March 1829 with some 1,600 plant specimens, 900 rock samples, and information on Polynesian languages. He was promoted to captain, but politics left him largely landbound for the next seven years during which he contributed to 'Voyage of the Corvette ‘Astrolabe,’ 1826–1829' (1830-1834), comprising twelve volumes, five of which were written by him. In 1837, he was given command of the corvettes, 'Astrolabe' and 'Zélée' for an expedition to Antarctica. He was instructed to to sail 'as far as the ice permits.' After a survey of the Straits of Magellan, they encountered pack ice and were unable to penetrate it and coasted it for 300 miles. They discovered Joinville Island and Louis Philippe Land before heading across the Pacific where they turned south; in January 1840, they sighted the Adélie coast region in Antarctica and named it for d’Urville's wife. Scurvy and dysentery plagued the expedition, however, resulting in the deaths of more than 50 men. Upon his return to France he was promoted to rear admiral. The Société de Géographie awarded him the Gold Medallion, their highest honor. 'Voyage to the South Pole and in Oceania, 1837–1840' (1841 -1854) was published in several volumes, most of which would appear posthumously. When returning from an outing to Versailles, he, his wife, and their only surviving child were killed in a fiery train crash.

Bio by: Iola


Advertisement

Plan a visit to Cimetière de Montparnasse?

Advertisement

Advertisement

How famous was Jules Sébastien César Dumont d'Urville?

Current rating:

24 votes

Sign-in to cast your vote.

  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Added: 27 Nov 1999
  • Find A Grave Memorial 7344
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Jules Sébastien César Dumont d'Urville (23 May 1790–8 May 1842), Find A Grave Memorial no. 7344, citing Cimetière de Montparnasse, Paris, City of Paris, Île-de-France, France ; Maintained by Find A Grave .