Russians mapped most of the Alaskan coasts and nearby islands, explored the inner areas of the peninsula, and went as far south as Fort Ross in California.
In 1803–06 the first Russian circumnavigation was led by Ivan Kruzenshtern and Yury Lisyansky, partly with the aim of establishing direct marine communications between Saint Petersburg and Russian America.
In the times of the Soviet Union and the Russian Empire the country's share in the world's land mass reached 1/6.
Most of these territories were first discovered by Russian explorers (if indigenous peoples of inhabited territories are not counted).
Russians were among those rare medieval Europeans who traveled deep into Central Asia or visited South Asia.
Prince Yaroslav II of Vladimir and his sons Alexander Yaroslavich Nevsky and Andrey Yaroslavich traveled to Karakorum, the capital of the Mongolian Empire in the 1240s, By the beginning of the Age of Discovery, most of the former principalities of Kievan Rus were re-integrated by the Grand Duchy of Moscow.
Explorers such as Pyanda, Pyotr Beketov, Kurbat Ivanov, Ivan Moskvitin, Vasily Poyarkov and Yerofey Khabarov pushed eastward mostly along the Siberian River Routes, and by the mid-17th century there were Russian settlements in Eastern Siberia, on the Chukchi Peninsula, along the Amur River, and on the Pacific coast.As early as the 11th century Russians from the Novgorod Republic had occasionally penetrated into Siberia.In the 14th century the Novgorodians started exploring the Kara Sea and the West-Siberian river Ob.More Russian circumnavigations followed, notably those led by Otto Kotzebue, Ferdinand Wrangel and Fyodor Litke.These voyages brought multiple discoveries in Alaska and the Pacific.