That managed to make Russian Alaska until it was sold

History 18/02/20 That managed to make Russian Alaska until it was sold

the Russian rulers, with the exception of Paul I, was skeptical about prospects for development of Alaska. Other opinions were Industrialists who saw in the far realm is not only a source of enrichment, but also an Outpost for dominating the Pacific.

Russian America

it is believed that the first to see the shores of Alaska, were members of the expedition of Semyon dezhnyov in 1648. A little later, in 1697, the conqueror of Kamchatka, Vladimir Atlasov, a seasoned pioneer, visited the undiscovered shore, where on the ice “come foreigners”, who “talk your language and bring the sable”. However, the sable, according to the Atlasova was “lean with striped tails.” Russian industrialist could not know that it was raccoons, animals, unknown in Russia then.
the time will come the expeditions of Vitus Bering and Mikhail Gvozdev, before Alaska will be founded the first Russian settlements. The official St. Petersburg showed a complete indifference to the question of development of new lands over the Bering Strait. The initiative in this matter was taken up fishers who immediately became interested in the story of the expedition of Bering about the extensive rookeries of the sea beast.

In 1740-ies the Russian traders and trappers established close contacts with Aleuts, allowing them to organize more than a dozen expeditions along the coast of Alaska and the neighboring Islands. Field campaigns were funded exclusively by private companies of the Siberian merchants.
In 1770 the among traders and suppliers of furs the special place occupied by Grigory Shelikhov. Largely due to his boundless energy in the new territories has been a permanent Russian possession. Compiled Shelikhov plans included the construction of streets, parks, schools, libraries. But to implement such a grandiose plans was extremely difficult. The remoteness of fishing areas forced expedition be delayed for six or even 10 years. Shipwreck, famine, disease, and skirmishes with the natives or with the crews of foreign ships – this puts the “Russian Columbuses” on the brink of survival.

In 1772 on the island of Unalaska laid the first Russian trading settlement that would become the main port of the Empire in the region and framework of the Russian-American Company. In 1778 these places visited by James cook, which estimated that the total number of Russian Industrialists, who were in the Aleutian Islands and in the waters of Alaska, was about 500 people.

Ambitious plans.

Over time the government began to think about how to combine hunted in Alaska merchant company and to subordinate them to the interests of the state. So, in 1780, the Secretary of the College of Commerce Mikhail Chulkov was filed by the General Prosecutor of Prince Alexander Vyazemsky appropriate project under which the company would have received a 30-year monopoly on the fishery and trade in the entire Pacific North. Catherine II because of its persistent hostility to monopolies ideas Chulkova has not found support. But they lit Shelikhov, who together with the merchant Ivan Golikov founded the Association, aims not simply the production of fur in Alaska, and the establishment there of permanent settlements. The companions sought the immediate patronage of Irkutsk governors, as over his company, and over the founded in the American colonies.
In March of 1788, the Commission on Commerce, navigation and trade in the Pacific asked the Empress on benefits and state aid, the company Shelikhov–Golikov. In particular, the company requested assistance in the provision of trading and fishing monopolies in already developed areas and in newly opened territories of up to 20 years. Alas, Catherine’s response was sharply negative.

But Paul I, who did everything in defiance of his mother, the idea of establishing a monopoly on the fur PRmysel in a New Light seemed constructive. At the initiative of a new autocrat in 1799 was formed Under the Highest of His Imperial Majesty’s protection Russian-American company (RAC), whose purpose was the development of Alaska and the administration of the territory, as well as the representation and protection of interests of Russia in the Pacific.
One of the founders of the company was the Shelikhov-in-law Nikolai Rezanov (known to us from the rock-Opera “Juno and Avos”). He headed the CANCER comes from an old merchant family, — Alexander Baranov, who was assistant Shelikof even with 1791. This unprecedented honest person who will manage the Russian America for more than two decades and control a multimillion dollar amount and will not acquire any state. In subsequent shareholders of the CANCER was part of Alexander I and the Grand Dukes, big statesmen and Industrialists.
Shelikhov developed a large-scale project activities CANCER. The plan included the following items: to protect the company from the tyranny of patronage by the Irkutsk Governor-General; send to the American settlement of the military team, various experts, exiles and missionaries; to seek authority to purchase from local chiefs of slaves and settle them on the Kamchatka Peninsula and the Kuril Islands. Also, before company, the objective was to obtain permission to trade with the countries of the Pacific basin; to prohibit foreigners to engage in commercial-fishing activities within the emerging Russian America.
the work of the CANCER is difficult to give an unambiguous assessment. Of course, you need to recognize the courage and enterprise with which its creators have begun to achieve ambitious goals. However, the absence of many of the Industrialists of strategic thinking, their desire for quick wealth and penchant for bribery has almost wiped out good beginnings.

Overseas, the economy

In the first quarter of the nineteenth century profit CANCER was fabulous, millions. She provided a high value of the pelts of sea otters, causing Rincah Europe and Asia an unprecedented boom. According to the testimony of Baranov, in 1811, the income from the sale of hides of sea otters has made 4,5 million roubles – huge for those times money. A great demand was on the skins of sea otters: from the late eighteenth century to the 20-ies of the XIX century the cost of one of the skins increased from 100 to 300 rubles . For comparison, the sable was worth 20 times less. In addition, considerable income to the Treasury of the CANCER came from the extraction of seals, beavers, otters, foxes, foxes, bears, and walrus tusks. The profitability of CANCER in the best years reached 1000%! The salaries of naval officers-employees CANCER was 10 times higher than the average in the fleet. Up to 1820-ies of the profit of the company allowed her to learn on their own site.
1790-ies in Alaska Russian ship masters began to develop shipbuilding. In 1799-1821, respectively in Novoarkhangelsk (now Sitka) was built 15 ships, and in 1853 here was lowered into the water first in the Pacific steamer.
Studied Russian and the possibility of a deeper economic use of Alaska. Some Russian experts believed that this area may be gold. This assumption is confirmed only in the late nineteenth century, and begin the “gold rush”. But the Russian will not be there.

the rams did not stop the development of Alaska. In the early 1800s he established trade with Hawaii. With the distant archipelago of the Russian ships carried salt, sandalwood, tropical fruits, coffee, sugar. Like a real statesman, the sheep were planning to settle in Hawaii by old believers-Pomors of the Arkhangelsk province. Fortunately this did not prevent local potentates with whom the head of the CANCER found a common language. Moreover, the natives are so imbued with confidence to the Russian envoy that asked for residents of the Islands Russian citizenship.
the Russian went even further and had my eye on the Marshall Islands. But Petersburg is eventually cooled the ardor of Industrialists and refused to join the Hawaiian and Marshall Islands to the Empire.

We can only admire the Russianthey settlers of Alaska, which is a relatively small group (about 800 people) were able to develop such a huge land coast, got to California and claimed to be the Hawaii. However far inland they went, for fear of collision with hostile Indians. Perhaps it is a catastrophic shortage of people played a fatal role in the fate of Russian America.
First in the highest circles talking about the sale of Alaska was Nikolai Muravyov-Amursky, Governor-General of Eastern Siberia. Provided in 1853 Nicholas I note he has expressed his views on the troubled region. Muravyov-Amursky, was of the opinion that the area of 1.5 million sq km his Majesty’s subjects not protect you can. And if you give the U.S., in the future we can build with the transatlantic power relationship of trust.
the Russian authorities understand that Alaska requires huge investments. But the government was not ready to go on such expenses. Another serious argument in favor of abandoning Alaska was the decline of the fur trade, the almost complete extermination of sea otters and a strong decline in the population of sea otters. The region soon threatened to become fully subsidized. CANCER began to experience problems in providing the colonists with food and have agreed with a British company to supply food.
From the “extra territories” deprived was to get rid of, and March 30, 1867 in Washington a Treaty was signed, by which Russia ceded Alaska for 7 200 000 dollars in gold. Very long was considered that Russia has not received the aforesaid amount. However, not so long ago in the state archives of the Russian Federation the document was found, drawn up by the Ministry of Finance in 1868.

Here are its contents:
“For the assigned North American States Russian possessions in North America came from the aforesaid States 11 362 481 R. 94 kopecks From among 11 362 481 RUB 94 kopecks expended abroad for the purchase of supplies for Railways: the Kursk-Kiev, Ryazan-Kozlovsky, Moscow-Reasonscoy etc. 10 972 238 R. 4 K. the Remaining 243 390 RUB 90 K. received in cash”.
it Turns out that Russia to a certain extent provided money from the sale of Alaska to the construction of the needed roads. The question of what our country has lost, having lost its overseas possessions, are destined to forever remain debatable.

Taras Repin

© Russian Seven

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