Rear Admiral Jules Sébastien César Dumont d'Urville (May 23, 1790 – May 8, 1842) was a French explorer and naval officer, who explored the south and western Pacific, Australia, New Zealand, and Antarctica.
His first feat as an explorer, one which brought him much acclaim and proved to be his most significant discovery, occurred in 1820 during an expedition to the Greek islands. On that expedition, D'Urville recognized the true value of a recently unearthed statue as an ancient masterpiece that had been carved around the year 130 BC. He immediately arranged for the government of France to acquire one of the most valuable and famous statues in the world. The Venus de Milo now stands in the Louvre in Paris.
In 1822 he sailed on a voyage around the world under Captain Duperrey, and brought home a very fine collection of animals and plants.
In 1826 he was sent to the Pacific, surveyed the coasts of New Guinea, New Zealand, and other islands, and found out the probable place of the death of La Perouse.
In 1837, on an expedition to the South Polar regions, he sailed along a coastal area of Antarctica that he named the Adélie Coast in honor of his wife.
On his return in 1840, he was made rear admiral.
Later, in honor of his many valuable chartings, the D'Urville Sea , off Antarctica, Cape d'Urville , Irian Jaya, Indonesia, and D'Urville Island (New Zealand) were named after him. There is a street in Paris, Rue Dumont d'Urville, in the 8th district near the Champs-Élysées. Dumont d'Urville Station on Antarctica is also named after him.
D'Urville was killed with his wife and son in a railroad accident near Meudon, France. He is buried in the Cimetière du Montparnasse, Paris, France.
The account of his voyages was published in twenty-four volumes, with six large volumes of illustrations.
Last updated: 08-04-2005 17:03:59