Ivan Chersky was a Belarusian-Polish paleontologist , geologist, geographer and explorer of Siberia. He was exiled to Transbaikalia for participation in the January Uprising of 1863. A self-taught scientist, he eventually received three gold medals from the Russian Geographical Society. He authored the first map of Lake Baikal and died during an expedition to Kolyma.
Ivan Chersky was born on May 3 (15) of 1845 in the villiage of Svolna in the noble family. (now in Verchnaydzvinsk district of the Vitebsk region) Some hypothesis about his nationality exist. Some scientists consider him Polish, a number of explorers attribute him to Lithuanian. Other adduce proofs of his Belorussian origin. There is not much information about his childhood. At the age of ten Ivan lost his father. So, mather began to bring the son up. Before entering the Vilnia gimnazium he knew four languages: English, German, French and Latin, could play the piano, was good at dancing and drawing. Chersky said, that such upbringing was more suitable for a girl.
After he had finished the Vilnia gamnazium he entered the Shliahitsky institute of Vilnia in 1860. In three years Chersky participated in Konstanty Kalinovsky's rebelian. He was arrested and sent to Blagoveschensk to serve. He was also demoted from the gentry, and all his property was confiscated. On foot Chersky came to Omsk and stayed there.
I.Chersky's greatest achievements were in geology and geography. He studied the geological structure of the Sayan Mountains, the Sayan and Angara areas, the basins of the rivers Selenga and Tunguska, and the postal route from Irkutsk to the Urals. The fame was brought to him by expeditions undertaken from 1877 to 1880 to explore Lake Baikal.
Chersky took part in the uprising of K. Kalinovsky (1863-1864) when he was eighteen. He was exciled to Omsk. There he began his research activities.