Back in 1732, Mikhail Gvozdev and Ivan Fedorov on the boat "Saint Gabriel" reached the coast of Alaska. Nine years later, Bering and Chirikov examined it. Full development of Alaska began in the 70s of the XVIII century. At this time, Russian settlements appear here, and Orthodoxy is spreading among local residents. In 1783, the American Orthodox Diocese was founded. Russian merchants come here who are interested in the fur trade and trade.
After the emperor Paul I took the throne, active measures were taken to develop new lands. In 1799, the Mikhailovsky Fortress was founded. More than 200 Russians lived in the village, trading stations appeared, various workshops, and an elementary school. The main activity was the hunting of sea otters. The territories were managed by a Russian-American company that had monopoly rights to trade on the coast of North America. These territories were part of the Siberian governorship. For the Russians, life in Alaska was difficult: they depended on the supply of food and weapons from Russia, but ships arrived at the port quite rarely.
Russian America in 1860
Lieutenant Laurenty Zagoskin describes his impressions of a trip to Russian America and meetings with natives: “There is no subordination based on recognized or assigned power between the natives, but some are considered honorable families, a smart, experienced trader, a skilled hunter and a beneficent person for his congregations, it is preferable to listen to him at public meetings. Work not by the will of them. We are somehow to blame for the fact that at present the natives of the Kang-Yulit people seem to us self-serving and ungrateful: in the first years, wanting to bind them to ourselves, we made gifts without consideration of merit, and yet we did not know how to gain their respect. They very soon noticed that we do not value our things, and therefore the value of native works quickly increased. Noticing that the Russians do not disdain their dear halves and are not jealous by nature, they immediately began to derive their own benefits from this. Noticing that the Russians love to eat and eat beautifully, they began to bring them fish, eggs, berries, birds, meat, all kinds of clothes, and, receiving payment for all this with European goods, they put the redoubt into a kind of dependence on themselves. Without having a chance to experience their mental abilities in a systematic teaching, it is necessary to give justice to the fact that they are sharp-witted, inconspicuous, positive in considerations, sights and are endowed with fresh memory.
Hospitality is famous for uneducated nations; this virtue is the most distinctive trait of the Kang-yulit people. There are no poor people between them - they use their wealthy property for the common good: making turnover, making profits, they all conclude their ambition in the distribution collected at the festivities in honor of the dead. Not one, not two, but the whole lived, spending their reserves in any way, on toys, parties, selling, finally, not having time to stock, moved to the nearest lived in the confidence that while there is something, the neighbors will share with him . From here it is not usual to bring small gifts to those who visit them for the first time, ”wrote Laurenty Zagoskin.
Russian America, in addition to Alaska, included settlements on the Pacific coast and the Elizabethan fortress in the Hawaiian Islands. Where at the moment is the historical park of the state of California, in the beginning of the XIX century there was a Russian settlement. Here led the fur trade Russian-American company. According to legend, the Russians managed to reach an agreement with the local people thanks to valuable gifts, in exchange for which the latter received the right to use the land. It was assumed that this settlement will supply Alaska with food. Russian planted a variety of crops, developed cattle breeding. In their farms, many grew pears, plums, apples.
Fortress Ross, California
The maintenance of the Ross fortress on the Pacific coast cost Russia a large sum, therefore, over time, the question of its sale arose. American entrepreneur John Sutter gave for her 42,857 silver rubles. The deal was made in 1841.
During the world tour, Hawaiian Islands were visited in 1804 by I. F. Kruzenshtern and Yu. F. Lisyansky. Later part of the Hawaiian Islands passed under the protectorate of the Russian Empire. Entrepreneurial German traveler Georg Schaeffer started the development. “This province is abundant in small rivers, rich in fish, fields, mountains, and in general a fascinating location, the soil of the land is most reliable for planting grapes, cotton, sugar cane, which he planted several, planting orchards and orchards for many tender fruits. The crop of these certified Schaeffer about the great benefits that this place and all the islands in general can bring to Russia, and even calculated the interest from that crop, which he saw from his plantings, ”wrote Schaeffer. Nevertheless, as a result, Russia refused to implement this large-scale project.
In 1867, Alaska was sold to the United States for $ 7,200,000, after which a significant portion of the Russians left North America.