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The Alaska Highway Dawson Creek, British Columbia to Delta Junction, Alaska (historical routes, heritage sites, sightseeing, driving tour) Pioneer Road - Contract Road - Public Road
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"Ghosts Of The Trail Of 1942"
Russian America (Russian: Русская Америка, Russkaya Amerika) was the name of the Russian colonial possessions in North America from 1733 to 1867. Settlements spanned parts of what are now the US states of California, Alaska, and two ports in Hawaii. Formal incorporation of the possessions by Russia did not take place until the Ukase of 1799 which established a monopoly for the Russian–American Company and also granted the Russian Orthodox Church certain rights in the new possessions. Many of its possessions were abandoned in the 19th century. In 1867 Russia sold its last remaining possessions to the United States for $7.2 million ($1.76 billion in 2015 dollars).
Russian sighting of Alaska
The earliest written accounts indicate that the first Europeans to reach Alaska came from Russia. In 1648 Semyon Dezhnev sailed from the mouth of the Kolyma River through the Arctic Ocean and around the eastern tip of Asia to the Anadyr River. One legend holds that some of his boats were carried off course and reached Alaska. However, no evidence of settlement survives. Dezhnev's discovery was never forwarded to the central government, leaving open the question of whether or not Siberia was connected to North America. In 1725, Tsar Peter the Great called for another expedition.
1740s to 1800
From 1743 small associations of fur traders began to sail from the shores of the Russian Pacific coast to the Aleutian islands. As the runs from Asiatic Russia to America became longer expeditions (lasting two to four years or more), the crews established hunting and trading posts. By the late 1790s some of these had become permanent settlements. Approximately half of the fur traders were Russians from various European parts of the Russian Empire or from Siberia. The others were indigenous people from Siberia or Siberians with mixed indigenous, European and Asian origins.
1800 to 1867
By 1804, Baranov, now manager of the Russian–American Company, had consolidated the company's hold on fur trade activities in the Americas following his suppression of the local Tlingit clan at the Battle of Sitka. The Russians never fully colonized Alaska. For the most part they clung to the coast and shunned the interior.
Russian settlements in North America
Unalaska, Alaska - 1774
Three Saints Bay, Alaska - 1784
Fort St. George in Kasilof, Alaska - 1786
St. Paul, Alaska - 1788
Fort St. Nicholas in Kenai, Alaska - 1791
Pavlovskaya, Alaska - 1791
Fort Saints Constantine and Helen on Nuchek Island, Alaska - 1793
Fort on Hinchinbrook Island, Alaska - 1793
New Russia near present-day Yakutat, Alaska - 1796
Redoubt St. Archangel Michael, Alaska near Sitka - 1799
New Archangel, Alaska (now Sitka) - 1804
Fort Ross, California - 1812
Fort Alexander near Hanalei, Hawaii - 1817
Fort Barclay-de-Tolly near Hanalei, Hawaii - 1817
Fort (New) Alexandrovsk at Bristol Bay, Alaska - 1819
Redoubt St. Michael, Alaska - 1833
Nulato, Alaska - 1834
Redoubt St. Dionysius in present-day Wrangell, Alaska (now Fort Stikine) - 1834
Pokrovskaya Mission, Alaska - 1837
Kolmakov Redoubt, Alaska - 1844
At Three Saints Bay, Shelekov built a school to teach the natives to read and write Russian, and introduced the first resident missionaries and clergymen who spread the Russian Orthodox faith. This faith (with its liturgies and texts, translated into Aleut at a very early stage) had been informally introduced, in the 1740s-1780s. Some fur traders founded local families or symbolically adopted Aleut trade partners as godchildren to gain their loyalty through this special personal bond. The missionaries soon opposed the exploitation of the indigenous populations, and their reports provide evidence of the violence exercised to establish colonial rule in this period.
Sale of Alaska to the United States
By the 1860s, the Russian government was ready to abandon its Russian America colony. Zealous overhunting had severely reduced the fur-bearing animal population, and competition from the British and Americans exacerbated the situation. This, combined with the difficulties of supplying and protecting such a distant colony, reduced interest in the territory. After Russian America was sold to the U.S. in 1867, for $7.2 million (2 cents per acre) (total $123 million in today's terms), all the holdings of the Russian–American Company were liquidated.
Following the transfer, many elders of the local Tlingit tribe maintained that "Castle Hill" comprised the only land that Russia was entitled to sell. Other indigenous groups also argued that they had never given up their land; the Americans encroached on it and took it over. Native land claims were not fully addressed until the latter half of the 20th century, with the signing by Congress and leaders of the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act.
At the height of Russian America, the Russian population had reached 700, compared to 40,000 Aleuts. They and the Creoles, who had been guaranteed the privileges of citizens in the United States, were given the opportunity of becoming citizens within a three-year period, but few decided to exercise that option. General Jefferson C. Davis ordered the Russians out of their homes in Sitka, maintaining that the dwellings were needed for the Americans. The Russians complained of rowdiness of the American troops and assaults. Many Russians returned to Russia, while others migrated to the Pacific Northwest and California.