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A Brief History of Alaska

James L Bradley - Kanook Tlingit Nation, Raven Moiety, Dog Salmon Clan Part One The Russians
The European history of Alaska begins with the myth of Atlantis in the Atlantic, and the myth of “Gama” land in the Pacific, a myth that was supported in the reality of some by the remnants of some South Sea Islands and by the fact that at the close of 18th century little was known about the North Pacific. Sir Francis Drake1, having reached a undisclosed point north of San Francisco and the Russians going eastward from Siberia reaching the Sea of Okhotsk, caused tales and rumors about Gama land and the fabled Straits of Anian (known to the English as the Northwest Passage), supported in fact by information from the voyage of Juan de Fuca.. Native tradition in Southeast Alaska sometimes relates to these stories and tales as the origination of the people as a significant part of their history. There is an “old” story that relates the coming of strange people from the western ocean, which had among them two sisters. They are said to have landed on Dall Island where the sisters met and married men whose people had migrated down the rivers from the interior of North America. One sister went with her new family to the Queen Charlotte Islands, her children said to have multiplied becoming the Haida Nation. The other sister and her family settled on Prince of Wales Island, where she became the ancestor (or) ancestress Mother of the Tlingit Nation23. Regardless of myth or “no” myth, in the days of Peter the Great4 this land was believed to have existed among a great many sailors of Northern Europe. It is generally believed that this “mythical land” was often discussed among the sailors and as time went on the desire to discover this new land grew far beyond just common
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June 17th, 1579 It is thought that the Tlingit have inhabited for over 11,000 years, artifacts in Angoon have been found that have carbon dated back 9,300 years
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from Vancouver Island north to Cross Sound Tlingits were known as the “fiercest” and “bloodiest” of all the native peoples on the west coast of America
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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_Russia#Peter_the_Great

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“boarding house” talk, and eventually made its way to the ears of Peter the Great. Peter at the time was working (under one of his many disguises) as a common labor on the docks in Europe and having participated in these discussions from time –to- time generated a great interest in the “Gama Land”. It was during this time that Peter made the acquaintance of many Danish sailors, one being Vitus Jonassen Bering (Ivan Ivanovich] who later was to join the Russian Navy in 1703. Peter understood the value of finding this “Gama-Land”, knowing that Siberia was always laboring under a great many difficulties in providing for its population, and calculated that if he was to find this mythical land he would be able to supply food and other materials that were needed desperately in Siberia. He also realized that this discovery would enhance the dominion of Russia making it possible for his country to be as great on the sea, as it was on land. Many years were to pass before Peter’s grand plan was to bear fruit and it wasn’t until 1724 that he endorsed an order5 to explore east of Siberia but, as a matter of record it wasn’t till after Peter the Greats death on January 28 th, 1725 that Vitus Bering was to begin his quest for Gama Land under the order of Peter’s successor Catherine the First6 7. Vitus chose for his assistants, Alexei Chirikov, a navy lieutenant and Martin Petrovich Spanberg also a lieutenant in the Russian Navy. Vitus under rule of the government8 journeyed overland to Okhotsk9, crossed to Kamchatka were he build the ship Sviatoi Gavriil (St Gabriel). On this ship on July 13th, 1728 he sailed from Kamchatka River northeast (usually in sight of land). On August 11th he sighted land to the east and named it St Lawrence
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Characteristically, when handing over the directions to Admiral Pyotr Apraksin for Bering, Peter I was quoted as saying: "Once we have protected our Fatherland from enemies, we should bring it glory through the arts and sciences. In our search for such a route, we will be more successful than the Dutch and the English, who have already made numerous attempts to reach the American coast." 6 Catherine I (In Russian: Екатерина I Алексеевна) (April 15, 1684 – May 17, 1727), the second wife of Peter the Great, reigned as Empress of Russia from 1725 until her death. She also functioned as co-ruler with her husband from 1724 until his death early in the next year 7 In 1727, the Admiralty decided to send another exploration expedition to be commanded by navigator Ivan Fyodorov and land surveyor Mikhail Gvozdev, who in August of 1732 crossed the Bering Strait, discovered the Diomede Islands and approached Alaska in the vicinity of Prince of Wales Cape. The expedition reported that what they had discovered was "not an island but a far greater portion of land... a landmass." 8 Peter II (Russian: Пётр II Алексеевич or Pyotr II Alekseyevich) (October 23, 1715 – January 29, 1730) was Emperor of Russia from 1727 until his death. He was the only son of Tsarevich Alexei Petrovich, son of Peter I of Russia by his first Empress consort Eudoxia Lopukhina, and Princess Charlotte of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel, a sister-in-law of Charles VI, Holy Roman Emperor. He was also the only male-line grandson of Peter the Great. 9 First Russian settlement in the Russian Far East, located at the mouth of the Okhotsk River on the Sea of Okhotsk, it was established in 1647, who had for a governor at the beginning of Vitus trips Anton de Vieira, a Portuguese Jew

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Island (after a brief exploration), going onto the northeast he passed through the strait (later named for him) past the Diomede islands (previously documented by Semyon Ivanovice Dezhnev in 1648), and up into the Arctic Ocean. Upon reaching North 67 degrees and 18 minutes, he decided that he had passed the extreme eastern point of the Asia coast; turning back he followed the Siberian coast reaching the mouth of the Kamchatka River on September 2nd 1728 completing his first voyage of the Pacific in fifty-one days. The following year (spring-1729) he a made a fruitless trip eastward from the mainland, having traveled eastward for 100 miles and finding nothing he returned to Okhotsk from where he begin his overland trip to St Petersburg. Bering and his family returned to St Petersburg reaching the capital on March 31st, 1730 after a total absence of five-years. Unfortunately during the long trip across Siberia Bering became very ill and almost perished, five of his children did not survive the trip. On his return to St Petersburg he received a commission to commence with a further expedition to the east, and on his return to Okhotsk in 1735 had local craftsman “Makar Rogachev and Andrey Kozmin” build him two vessels, the Sviatoi Piotr (St Peter) and Sviatoi Pavel (St Paul). While he was absent on his first voyage, Afanasius Shestakov (a Cossack officer of eastern Siberia) presented to the government a plan for the subjugation of the “Chukchee people”10. He was given permission to make the “attempt” with the Russian government giving him forces for the enslavement of the local population. On Shestakof’s return to Siberia, he equipped two expeditions, one by the land and one by sea. The one by land was led by him, Afanasium Shestakov and the one by sea by Captain Pavlutskyh, with a total troop strength of over 400 soldiers. In Okhotsk, Shestakov had two ships built for his campaign to sail up and engage the “Koryaks” in the Penshina and Gizhiga River areas, to restore the Oklan fortress then join Captain Pavlutsky and go together fighting the “Chuckhis”. Shestakov’s ship destroyed some settlements on the Nayahana and Ayakan Rivers, but when they met and fought the “Chuckhis” near the Egatche River in 1730 he along with 31 of him men were killed and the remaining contingent disbanded. Shestakov’s other ship, the “Vostochnyi Gavril”, sailed to Kamchatka where it was wrecked in a storm.
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The first to present a suitable version about the conquest of Siberia to the Empire was a German historian G.F.Müller, the head of the scientific staff of Bering's second Kamchatka expedition.

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The ship “Lev” and its crew were destroyed by the “Koryaks” at the mouth of the Yama River. The transport ship “Fortuna” managed to carry equipment and food to “Bosheretsk” and sail to explore the Kurili Islands, the fourth ship “Svyatoi Gavril” did not find the Shantarski Islands, returned to Kamchatka and spent the winter in Bosheretsk. The next year it moved to “Nizhne-Kamchatsk” with the task of conveying “supplementary” forces to Captain Pavlutsky, as the great Itelmens’ uprising had begun. The uprising began with the destroying of the Nizhne-Kamchatsk fortress, but since bad weather had prevented the sailing of the Svyatoi Gavril, its captain ordered the ships troop (77 men) with their mortars and cannons running to help the Cossacks. They surprised the Itelmens’ and recaptured the fortress. After the battle the chief of the Itelmen, “Harchin”, was taken captive (with the help of a traitor) and as the Itelmens’ failed to take the “VerkhneKamchatsk” fortress by storm, they dispersed into small groups. only after receiving help from various sources. The war against the Russians lasted nearly two years, with the Russians taking power Hundreds of Itelmens’ were slaughtered, even after imprisonment. The wives and children were captured and enslaved, whereas in 1729 the list of “yassak-paying aborigines” consisted of 2,983 men – in 1735 only 2,055 were on the same list. After some “glorious” victories over the Chuckhis, Captain Pavlutsky in 1732 went as the leader of 225 Cossacks and hundreds of supplementary forces made up of local natives, to fight against the Koryaks in the Gizhiga River region. Numerous settlements were burned and “all” native people murdered – in some fights “Koryaks” killed their own families and then defended themselves up to the last man, but to no avail. When Pavlutsky turned back to “Yakutsk”, the Chuckhi and the Koryaks rebelled again. The next year (1733) a major Merlin, with additional forces, arrived in Kamchatka and Captain Pavlutsky was sent to assist him. In the meantime, taking into account the huge distance from Yakutsk to the eastern shores, ruling of Eastern Siberia was now concentrated in Okhotsk. In the Penzhina Bay area a new fort was constructed on the banks of the Yama River – its sole purpose being to better control the Koryaks. Within this political and violent atmosphere Bering began his second expedition to Kamchatka – with instructions in strictest confidence duplicating

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the instructions of the first expedition, and in addition to convert the locals to Christianity. In the meantime a expedition using the St Gabriel (Bering's first ship) left Kamchatka on July 12th, 1732 under the command of Jacob Hens, with Ivan Fedorof as his lieutenant, and under the navigational command of Michael Spiridinovich Gvozdef (a geology professional) sailed northeast and upon reaching the Diomedes (and being opposed by the local natives on Big Diomede), they landed on Little Diomede where they noted in their log the sighting of land to the east. On August 21st, 1732 they sailed eastward toward that land but were unable to go ashore, skirting the coast they sailed south and because of the shallow sea had to stand offshore for five days of sailing. Disappointed they sailed back to Kamchatka; this by all accounts was the first sighting of the land today called Alaska. As for Captain Bering who had enemies at the Russian court who disliked him as a foreigner and were very jealous of him as a commander of a Russian expedition, his records were questioned, and in truth were not fully acceptable until they were verified by another foreigner Captain Cook in 1778 – politics! In December, 173211 overcoming these nay-sayers, the Russian Senate approved the plan for a second expedition, making Bering commander, and assigned other duties that had been outlined by him earlier. They included the survey of the Arctic coast and a side expedition to Japan, it was labeled the Great Northern Expedition. This expedition took over 2-years to organize and eventually had over 10,000 people in its scope. The first detachment left St Petersburg in February – 1733 12, with others following later. Bering now a Captain-Commander and his two previous assistants, Chirikov and Spanberg promoted to Captain-Lieutenants, along with a comprehensive scientific core had begun their second exploration. Bering went to “Tobolsk”, built a boat for the first Arctic expedition and sent it down the Irtish River13 to the Arctic coast in May-1734. He then went to

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17th of April, 1732, orders has been issued by the government it took until December for them to be approved Anna Ioannovna (Russian: Анна Иоанновна) (February 7, 1693, Moscow - October 28, 1740) reigned as Duchess of Courland from 1711 to 1730 and as Empress of Russia from 1730 to 1740. 13 a river in Central Asia, the chief tributary of the river Ob. Its name means White River. It is actually longer than the Ob to their confluence. Irtysh's main affluent is Tobol River.

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“Yakutsk”, built two boats, which sailed down the Lena River 14 in June-1735, and then went on to “Okhotsk”. The trip to Okhotsk proved to be a difficult task, where the freight (and there was plenty of that) was roped up swift mountain streams by the men wading in very cold rivers or along their banks, packed over divides by horses and finally floated down the Urak River to Okhotsk. At one time 1,000 men (with another 2,000 involved in different stages for overland transportation) and 4,000 horses were employed, many of both were drowned and some even freezing to death. At Okhotsk the expedition for Japan was placed under the command of Captain-Lieutenant Martin Petrovich Spanberg15. Bering then (using the ships constructed by the local craftsman, Makar Rogachev and Andrey Kozmin) left Okhotsk in September-1740 and established, upon reaching Avacha Bay (Avachinskaya Bay), the settlement of Petropavlovsk (or Peter and Paul) on the Kamchatka peninsula. It was from this base of operations that Bering (in command of the St Peter) led an expedition to North American on June 4th 174116 (Bering was one-month shy of being 60 years old), accompanied by his deputy, Aleksei Ilyich Chirikov (38 years old in 1741), in command of the St Paul. The St Peter, Bering's ship had a crew of seventy-six men including17 Lieutenant Waxel, Shipmaster Khitrof and the scientist George Wilhelm Steller18. Chirikov (on the St Paul) had in his command seventy-six men, and Marine Officers Chegatschof and Plautin with the scientist Louis Delisle de Croyere19. Sailing eastward together, they were separated during a gale on the night of the 19th of June. Chirikov sailed in a east-northeasterly direction and it is noted that on the 15th of July-1741 sighted land near “Cape Addington” on the west side of Prince of Wales Island – moving slowly northwest he entered a bay on
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in Siberia is the 10th longest river in the world and has the 9th largest watershed. Rising at the height of 1640 m at its source in the Baikal Mountains 15 In 1738, Captain Martin Spanberg examined the Kurili Islands. In 1739, Spanberg, in the St. Michael, Walton, in the double shallop, the Gabriel and a small yacht, made the voyage to Japan. 16 Yelizaveta (Yelisavet) Petrovna (Russian: Елизаве́та (Елисаве́т) Петро́вна) (December 29, 1709 - January 5, 1762 (N.S.); 18 December 1709 - 25 December 1761 (O.S.)), also known as Elizabeth, was an Empress of Russia (1741 - 1762) 17 Gerhard Friedrich Müller. The German-born Müller, a professor at the Russian Academy of Sciences in St. Petersburg, who only remained with the task force until 1738 18 Georg Wilhelm Steller (March 10, 1709 - November 14, 1746) was a German botanist, zoologist, physician and explorer, who worked in Russia and present-day Alaska. 19 Louis De l'Isle de la Croyère - a French astronomer. 1741 were De l'Isle with the Russian discoverer Alexei Iljitsch Tschirikow on the ship pc. Paul on the way from Kamtschatka to Alaska. On the return journey it died at the Awatscha bay of scurvy. It was buried in close proximity to Awatscha.

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the 17th, which is navigator noted at 57°15’ North Latitude somewhere in the vicinity of present day Sitka – this author finds it interesting that no mention is made of Mt Edgecombe, albeit their writing never mentioned the numerous volcanoes on Kamchatka. Shortly after arriving, Chirikov sent a long-boat ashore with ten men armed with muskets and small brass cannon, under the command of his mate, Abraham Dementief – after not returning he sent boatswain, Sidor Savalilef with six men went to recall the first group – neither group was ever heard from again20. The next day they were approached by the Tlingit and repelled a supposed planned attack by the locals, leaving shortly (July 27th) after this he remarked that his only regret about the incident was that he “didn’t let the natives approach his ship close enough to capture one of the canoes and their occupants”. After waiting for a few days Chirikov gave up all hope for the return of his men, and having no other long-boats set sail for Petropaulovsk. Sailing northwest he sighted high mountains near the entrance to Cook Inlet, turned south and passed along the east side of Kodiak Island, turned west along the Alaska Peninsula where on September 4th he again saw land, on September 20th he dropped anchor in a small bay and met some local inhabitants. As the trip continued home Chirikov and many of his men suffered the effects of scurvy, and proceeding with all speed towards Awatscha Bay, missing the storms that caused Bering’s eventual death. On October 9th he finally reached Petropaulovsk, having lost a total of twenty men and had so many of crew with scurvy that “Yelagin”, was the only navigating officer able for duty. Louis Delisle de la Croyere, the astronomer, died when brought on deck in the fresh air. Bering sailed on and according to published records on July 16th he sighted Mt St Elias just 36-hours after Chirikov dropped anchor near Sitka. On the 19 th he was close to the southern point of Kayak Island, (known as Cape St Elias); he anchored between Kayak Island and Wingham Island – where he named Kayak Island as St Elias Island in honor of the Saint of the day. Steller searched on
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Chevalier de Poletica, Russian Minister at Washington in 1822, in a dispatch to the American Secretary of State, says that, in 1789, the Spanish ship San Carlos, commanded by de Aro, found in the latitude fifty-eight and fifty-nine degrees, "Russian establishments to the number of eight (50% of original group) consisting in the whole of twenty families and four hundred and sixty-two individuals. These were the descendants of the companions of Captain Chirikov, who were supposed till then to have perished."

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shore for objects of natural history21 and for evidence of human habitation finding houses containing articles of household use, some of which he took on board the ship. Taking on water, Bering turned westward on the 21st (under the protest of Steller) sailing home – a few days later he sighted Kodiak Island sailing on the eastern side, drifted at night through Douglas Passage, and on August 2nd discovered and named “Tammanoi” or “Foggy Island” (Chirikov Island) as his officers placed it on their charts. On August 30th they landed on a small island to bury one of the first sailors to die of scurvy and named the island after him, Shumagin. On another island they stopped and met some local natives. After setting the standards of the meeting everything seemed to be going smoothly, that is until one of the Russian seamen gave a local a drink of brandy. The native upon tasting the vile liquid, spit it out and made motions that the invaders where trying to poison them – suspicions ran high so Bering (without taking on fresh water) left in a hurry making sail for home. They sailed to the westward on September 6th, but the delay of stopping at Shumagin Island cost them plenty – getting caught up in a storm on the 24 th they were “driven” back to the southeast for a distance of nearly 300 miles. For seventeen days there were beaten and buffeted by the winds off the south shore of the Aleutian Islands. On November 4th, they were supposed to have seen the Kamchatka peninsula, whereas a council of officers conferred on whether they should make landfall or sail on to Petropaulovsk – the crew was in deplorable condition as was the ship itself. The rain had turned to snow and sleet which froze on the decks and the rigging, which was rotting and was breaking apart. And the continued ravages of scurvy had left very few crewmen to operate the ship from watch to watch. Bering advised the council to make for Awatscha Bay at any cost, but Waxel and Khitrov opposed him and they decided to land. It was to be the death blow for Bering. Steller and Waxel went ashore to reconnoiter – finding a land covered with snow and with only driftwood as wood. On the 8 th of November they started the transfer of the sick to the beach (some of whom died immediately on exposure to the outside elements), and others shortly after reaching shore.
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The

During this time Steller became the first European naturalist to describe a number of North American plants and animals, including a jay later named Steller's Jay.

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abundances of blue foxes proved to be a big nuisance, where they disturbed the dead and even bothered the sick and dying who were too weak to defend themselves. They dug caves on the seashore finding ravines, and pits to work with and in covering them with driftwood constructed their shelters. Bering being brought ashore and very sick survived for a month in these conditions, no fresh food or proper food and medical care was as distant as the moon. On December 19 th, 174122 Vitus Jonassen Bering gave up his life, just 4 months over the age of 60. Shortly after landing another storm battered the sea coast driving the St Peter ashore, a total wreck was the result. As time progressed and a new year arrived the crew no longer suffered from scurvy (those that had survived) and Steller found the island a rich field for investigations and to this day we owe some most interesting material to his explorations23. The sea otter were on land in mass, the fur seal was as thick as thieves, there were foxes all over the place (over 60 were killed in one day), the great scientific food for the remaining crew. Constructing a 40-foot boat from the remaining wreckage, the crew sailed away from Bering Island on August 12th, 1742 arriving in Petropaulovsk with forty-six of the original crew of seventy-seven men. There are two main islands (today), Bering and Medny Island and two very small islets in this group of islands where they landed, called the “Commander Group”. In the mean time, efforts to locate “Gama” land continued, resulting in many trips to the coast line of Alaska. And with discovery and charting of Alaska, Russia had set a claim to the land opening the path for the Promishleniki, who
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mammal, order Sirenia,

Hydrodamalis gigas in the today called the Steller Sea Cow were abundant and became a chief source of

some reference December 8th, 1741 as his death During this time Steller wrote De Bestiis Marinis, describing the fauna of the island, including the Northern Fur Seal, the Sea Otter, Steller's (or Northern) Sea Lion, Steller's Sea Cow, Steller's Eider and Spectacled Cormorant.

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later swept along the coast and explored every bay and inlet until finally permanent settlements were established, which completed the “title” of the Czar to his holdings in the colonies in America – Bering and Chirikov had broken the mystery of the unknown and blazed their way across three thousand miles of uncharted seas, more than 60-years before Lewis and Clark crossed the continent of North America24.

Beginning Russian Fur Trade and the Promishleniki Interest in this new land seemed to disappear after Bering expedition returned, where the coasts of the east would have abandoned completely if it hadn’t been for the furs that returned with the crews. The sea otter 25 especially turned the heads of the fur traders of Siberia, who had followed the sable26 for nearly a century; the sea otter was to become the primary force behind the Russian expansion into Alaska. Russian furs were generally sold in China, whereas even furs from Canada were routed through St Petersburg and sold in China. The Treaty of Kiachta27 between the Russians and Chinese provided the ports of Kiachta and Zuruchiatu for trade between the two nations. The estimated 2005 value of the furs brought back by the Bering crew of the 900 skins returned with is at $1.5 mil (comparing to the Consumer Price Index) with an “unskilled wage value” of $25 million. A hefty sum even in 1700s equal to about 3 million rubles, of which I have no comparison in dollar vs. ruble value. The Russian fortress of Kiachta and the Chinese city of Miamastchin shared the banks of a stream near the international border south of Irkutsk. The furs from the Aleutian Islands and the Alaskan coasts went to Okhotsk and from there by pack trains to Kiachta, this continued until the opening of the direct trade route by sea with Canton in the early part of the 19 th century. After
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The names of Bering, Chirikov, Stepan Malygin, Fyodor Minin, Dmitry Ovtsyn, Vasily Pronchishchev, Chelyuskin, and Khariton and Dmitry Laptev will stay forever in the history of geographic discoveries. 25 The Sea Otter (Enhydra lutris) is a large otter native to the North Pacific, from northern Japan and Kamchatka east across the Aleutian Islands south to California. The heaviest of the otters, Sea Otters are the only species within the genus Enhydra.
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Said to have played a major role in the development of Siberia

The treaty which established trade between Russia and China at “Kiachta” provided that no one should reside there except merchants engaged in traffic. No officer could live there, nor could any person whatever beyond merchants and their employees and families remain over night. No stone buildings except a church could be erected, and visits of strangers were to be discouraged.

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Bering, the hunters now faced new dangers on the waters of the eastern ocean using small poorly constructed and poorly equipped vessels built of material they could lay their hands on, on the shores of the Sea of Okhotsk. One Sergeant Emelian Basof (financed by Andrei Serebrennikov) in 1743 (in a sewed boat [no nails] or shitik – Kapitan) went as far east, with his crew of 30, as Copper Island (near Bering Island in the Commander Group) securing 60 pounds of copper, 1600 sea otter pelts, 2000 blue Arctic fox skins, and 2000 fur seals, he made three trips to this region – hence setting the stage for the exploitation of the Alaskan resources by the Russians. In 1745, Michael Nevodchikov (the silversmith who was with Bering on his last voyage) began another expedition landing first in the Near Islands at Agatuu where sending a boat ashore for water scattered almost 100 local residents. On their return to the shoreline the natives asked for one of the Russian muskets, being refused they attempted to take by force. A single shot was fired by a sailor wounding a local in the hand, following this the Russians left and upon their return to Agatuu started systematic hunts for Natives, at one time they killed 15 Natives. The sailors in their hunt became so cruel that even a Cossack in their company complained concerning their treatment. Nevodchikov’s direct answer was “more shot and issue more powder”. Such was the cruelties of that period of time that up into the 20th century the stories had been retold many times. Nevodchikov’s expedition was not a financial success, whereas his ship was wrecked on Kraginski Island with 12-men drowned and most of his valuable cargo lost. In 1753 a certain Serebrennikov sent a ship that discovered the Rat Islands, where the ship was wrecked. The crew reached the shore and spent the next year constructing a new boat from the wreckage and returned to Kamchatka. Trapeznikov sent out the “shitik” St Nicholas, which sailing east found another island returned with a cargo valued at 1,877,268 rubles. Two years later Andrean Tolstykh visited a group of islands that were later to bear his name, the Andreanof Islands which contain the Great Sitikan Island, where one of his crew members Peter Yasyutinsky gave an account that survives today. mentioned in his account that about 400 families resided on the island. Other adventurers sailed out on the eastern ocean, and met with varying results. Stephen Glottof went as far as to the Fox Islands in 1759 and made the He

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first exploration of that group, later in 1763 he was to explored Kodiak Island spending an entire winter with his crew in the region. Gavril Pushkarev sailing in 1759 made a landing on the mainland on the Peninsula of Alaska and was well received until his crew attempted to seize some girls, causing a fight where several of his crew was killed. In retaliation the Russians killed some hostages, and sailing from Umnak took with them six-men and twenty-five girls. At one point when landing they sent some of the girls to pick berries; two ran away, one was killed, some drowned themselves, then in order to remove any witnesses Pushkarev threw all, but two boys, into the sea to drown. upon hearing this rumor began an investigation. The result? After returning to Siberia a rumor leaked out detailing the outrage, the authorities Only a stern warning was issued that such outrages would not be tolerated in the future! Many such expeditions started and ended in cruelty with the Natives of Alaska bearing the brunt of the actions of the merchant class from Siberia. One such merchant from Irkutsk, Bechevin lead an expedition were local men were killed and their wives were taken from the villages. The reports of the expedition made their way back to the Russian capital causing such a stir as to cause the Empress of Russia Catherine II28, or Catherine the Great to issue an order that adopted the policy of letting “only” those go on these voyages that were licensed by the government. But, all the previous evils had been done and weight heavily on the inhabitants of Alaska as the reports of the cruelties had passed from island to island. As it is written so many times in fiction, the Natives were getting restless, so much so that when Stephen Glottof landed on Kodiak 29 the locals tried to set fire to the ship, advancing behind what appeared to be bullet proof vests and shields they were defeated by Glottof and withdrew to the hills. Stephen made it known he wanted to be friendly attempting to trade items like cotton and other woolen goods, seems they didn’t accept these things, finally he offered beads and other ornaments that appealed to them. Glottof located a young Their response Aleut man who had learned some Russian, who through rough translation asked the locals what they thought of the ship as it approached. indicated they believed it was a big whale, and when the large guns on board fired a warning shot they thought all white people were devils. After a visit and
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born Sophie Augusta Fredericka of Anhalt-Zerbst (Catherine the Great) One Ship made the voyage the Andrean & Natalie, this until this time had been unvisited by White People A Brief History of Alaska – Page 12

some exploration Glottof left the Kodiak Islands after a stay lasting over the winter. The Kodiak Islanders tell a different story of the encounter of a ship landing near the island of Alitak where the natives went to the Russians to trade furs for beads and other goods, and were set upon with many of them killed and the Russians took all their furs. This one I believe – Glottof was a ruthless man. Glottof left with his next stop being Umnak Island reestablishing trade in a region he was familiar and felt comfortable in his trades. The Aleuts Rebel Of the five ships that sailed in 1762/1763/1764 30 to the Fox Islands, Aleutians and points beyond only one returned, the Andrean and Natalie, the rest fell into the hands of the outraged Aleuts and were destroyed along with most of their crews. The locals were pretty upset, to say the least – civilization was on its way to Alaska. The Russians for several years utilized the eastern islands (Unalaska, Umnak and Akutan) for their bases and local human resources. Their practice was to take young children as hostages, forcing the men of the villages to hunt for the Russians and sell them furs. Consequently the men had little time to hunt for food or furs which their own families needed to survive. In addition to the preceding, the Russians (laying about and getting bored) where quick to entertain themselves with their guns, at time pointing at and shooting a local resident just for sport, although some were killed by accident – nevertheless locals were dying at the expense of good entertainment for the fur traders. Many incidents occurred during the time in question in several different locations in the Unalaska region, some legends tell of meetings amongst the headmen from various villages during the fall, where the men agreed that all Unangans (Aleuts) would act especially nice/friendly with the traders, offering up their best furs and giving hostages without a fuss. It was their hope that the Russians would relax and eventually be off guard against an attack. Four ships were working the region at the time, seeing that events were friendly they decided to separate in hopes of expanding their hunting scope. One of the four ships, the Holy Trinity, under the command of Ivan Korovinm
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On Jun 28, 1762 Catharine II, Russian Tsarina, grabbed power. 1762-1796 Catherine the Great ruled over Russia A Brief History of Alaska – Page 13

anchored near “Kosheega” a small bay on the west side to Unalaska Island, Medvedelf’s31 ship went to the north side of Umnak, while Alexei Drushinin with his ships the Zacharias and Elizabeth32 discovered the harbor of Unalaska (Dutch Harbor), where Drushinin hauled his ship for some minor repairs. The fourth boat went farther to the east to Isanotski Strait. At Captains Harbor the locals appeared to be friendly, bringing excellent furs for trade, and were told where the other boats were anchored. For the Russians extracting the hostages proved painless and without fuss, furthering the impression that everything was okay. Alexei Drushinin sent out parties, one to Kalekhta and another to Biroka, where he later went in person. After Drushinin had gone to Biroka with some additional members of his crew an attack was made on the remaining crewmembers, every man perished. The creek near the scene was named for a very long time, Ubienna or Massacre Creek! On the same day, at Biroka, the locals attacked the party and killed all but five of the Russian party. Gregory Shavarin and four of his companions managed to make it into a barabara (underground hut) where they kept the attacking locals at bay for four-days. During the night time hours they managed to secure a bidar and went to Kalekhta only finding that the men there had suffered the same fate as their unfortunate companions. Going on to Captains Harbor and finding the same thing, they quickly secured some articles from the remaining ship stores and retreated to the mountains above the bay and were to remain there for over nine-months. In August or September of the “next” year a friendly local informed them that Ivan Korovin was in Makushin Bay – making a small bidar from the leather sacks in which their provisions had been stored they made their way to the bay, where they joined Ivan aboard his ship the Holy Trinity. Ivan Korovin had the previous August, reached Kosheega on the 15th of the month and anchored his ship in the bay, later moving his ship to Makushin where he prepared and went into winter quarters. The Holy Trinity and its crew were to have received the same action by the locals as the Drushinin party, but Korovin was warned by a local allowing him to successfully defend his ship. He was harassed to a point that he pulled anchor and moved offshore, confined to
31

Over two hundred years later, in 1970, archaeologists found the bones of Medvedev and the 12 other Russians at Chaluka on Umnak Island.
32

from the bible Luke 1.5 to 25 A Brief History of Alaska – Page 14

their ship (through the winter) they suffered from scurvy and the lack of food and it was in this state of sickness, that the remaining crew of the Zacharias and Elizabeth found them. They all soon sailed to Umnak (when informed of Drushinin death) to join Medvedef but were wrecked on the shore of that island – the crew having survived were soon attacked by the Aleuts killing two Russians and three hostages, allowing the remaining hostages to escape. Although the remaining crew defended their position, nearly all of them were wounded in some fashion and in driving away their attackers the build a small bidar and continued to search for Medvedef’s vessel – with strong hopes on finding it on the North side of Umnak. After ten-days of searching they found the remains of a ship that had been burned, and the remains of twenty men including Medvedef. They buried the dead, and investigated their means of escape from this land of death. At the end of their rope, despair running high they watched from the beach one day as the Andrean and Natalie sailed around a point, Stephen Glottof had arrived from Kodiak. He took the information back to Siberia and vengeance became the word of the day among the promishleniki of Russia. It was not as one-sided or without provocation as it may appear, remember these events were just a small portion of the overall conditions in the Aleutians, where most of the atrocities were not in the Aleut’s favor. Over sixty-years later many details of the events were noted by Father Veniaminof33, who was the priest at Unalaska for ten years, information he had obtained detailed an account of one of the ships crew, “Jacob” as being a rather stout fellow. According to Veniaminof’s information shortly before the locals When the Aleuts assumed a manner of war, a Russian sailor, Jacob (who was very strong) had abused some of the Aleuts even killing some of them. attacked the boat they assigned five men to go against Jacob, but with his unusual strength he managed to kill some of his attackers with a spear that he had pulled from one of the assailants – during the height of the battle he was mortally wounded falling dead beside the ship. As for the crew of the un-named ship and its master who sailed in Isanotski Strait, they had heard that the natives contemplated hostilities, working around
33

Saint Innocent, Ivan Evseyevich Popov-Veniaminov

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the expected trouble by taking the offensive and destroying some villages and their inhabitants. They met with success at four villages but at the fifth they were defeated, and retreated to their ship – harassed by the locals all winter, they suffered with scurvy and other manners of ill health. In the spring, they were attacked on the water and were all killed and the ship burned. Revenge albeit slow in coming was cruel and very in discriminatory. Records indicate that one Ivan Solovief after hearing of the fate of the fellow promishleniki, took it on himself the mission of revenge, proceeding to wreak his wrath on the islanders without discrimination – not caring about guilty or if they were innocent. In one particular instance he had heard that over 300 locals were fortified in a single village, attacked numerous times eventually depleting them of their arrows, placed gunpowder against the walls of their barabaras and blew up the structures – and proceeded to kill all the survivors huddled against the walls – the Russians had returned. Solovief went on, under the pretext of avenging the death of his countrymen, destroying villages and murdering the villagers on the entire southern side of Umnak, and moved on doing the same on Samalga and the Islands of the Four Mountains. His energy for destruction knew no bounds, finding two bidars on the open sea with entire families on board and killing them all. It is told that Solovief one time tied twelve Aleuts in a row, fired a musket killing eight with the ball lodging itself in the ninth – he was testing his weapons! Finally drawing to a close his spree (so it is written) by killing all the inhabitants of several villages assembled on Egg Island – he was ready for his second cup of vodka. Stephen Glottof it appears extracted his due also, he destroyed four large villages on Umnak, where he kept the young woman along with a few strong young men for slaves – other atrocities are credited to Glottof who at times was as ruthless as Solovief. Having the ability to peer back into the past reading the accounts, the author finds the reasoning behind the initial Aleut uprising justifiable, and yet one must remember the Russians acted in kind simply because in their mind(s) they felt a sub-standard group of people had no right to protect their homeland and the superior race had every right to exploit that land of opportunity, and so it went across America. I note that at almost the same time period the Aleuts rose up against their oppressors (and that is what they were), the Indian leader

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Pontiac on the east coast was fighting the same battle, attempting to slow the flood of aliens crossing and taking land that for centuries had been under their dominion34. To imagine that all of this to this date was driven by an animal(s) who had the misfortune to have as an outer protection a fur worth millions to the people chasing it across Siberia and eventually Alaska. As with oil today, death and destruction ruled the day for the ownership of the almighty fur. Behind the Fur When a present of a royal robe of the velvety lustrous black foxes from the islands was given by the merchants to the Czarina (Catherine the Great) or the Empress of Russia, her excitement was immeasurable and she demanded to know more of the land from which they came. In one particular merchant she paid intense attention Vasili Shilof, in her court he presented a crude map of the islands informing her of the manner in which trade could be conducted and of the riches to be realized from that trade. She bought into the deal. Officially she sent Lieutenant Synd of the Royal Navy on an expedition in 1764. Sailing from Okhotsk on the St Catherine he touched on St Paul Island, drew and named St Matthew Island on his charts, and continued on the present site of Nome, where he claimed to have landed. His finished chart (map) was badly distorted; his lats and longs incorrect, consequently his final results of the expedition had little value adding little to the existing knowledge of Alaska. On May 4th, 1764 the Empress issued a ukaz (order) for another expedition, this one was classified a “secret” naval expedition to explore and chart the region between Asia and America. Levashef. The commander was Captain-Lieutenant Peter Kuzmich Krenitzin, with his second in command Lieutenant Michael They left St Petersburg on July 1st, 1764 and traveled overland to Okhotsk where they build vessels, repaired two others and after dealing with smallpox in Kamchatka which delayed their departure, the four ships eventually sailed from Okhotsk on October 10th, 1766, 2 years and 3 months after leaving St Petersburg. Misfortune struck early with a shipwreck at Bosheretsk in Kamchatka, taking the following summer (after spending the winter here) they
34

Pontiac's Rebellion was a war launched in 1763 by North American Indians who were dissatisfied with British rule in the Great Lakes region and the Ohio Country after the British victory in the French and Indian War/Seven Years' War (1754–1763).

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repaired the boats, sailed to Nizhnikamchatsk and there passed another winter. Finally, on June 21st, 1768, 3 years and 11 months from St Petersburg, and they were ready and the party sailed eastward. Krenitzin commanded the “galiot35” St Catherine and Levashef the “hooker36” St Paul. The cruised through the eastern part of the Aleutian chain and wintered, Lavashef in the port of Unalaska (which now bears his name), Krenitzin anchored in the strait between Unimak and the Alaska Peninsula. The following year (1769) both ships returned to Kamchatka, Krenitzin arriving on July 29th, (13 months) and Levashef on August 24th, (14 months). They wintered at Kamchatka where on July 4th, 1770 Peter Kumich Krenitzin drowned while crossing the Kamchatka River, Levashef assumed command and returned to St Petersburg, arriving on October 22nd, 1771, 7-years, 3-months, and 21-days after leaving on July 1, 1764. As is common with all natural resources and man, man soon outstrips the land and its ability to replenish its resources, whether it be trees, fish or in this case fur bearing animals – as an overall race we are voracious consumers. So, instead of a short trip to the Commander Islands and a cargo valued at many thousands of rubles, the promishleniki found themselves having to travel much larger distances and spend more time on each voyage, and with this extended distance and time the cost of each trip was fairly expensive. As the voyages increased in cost the traders begin to form companies, as it is today – high cost is spread among many to overcome the risk that is normally found with an operation of this sort – spread the risk! Typically a merchant would organize a company (keeping the majority of ownership), sell most of the remainder while setting aside some for high government officials, the Church, the tribute gatherer, the shipmaster, or others who might distinguish himself in the service of the expedition. Shares that were distributed in such a fashion were commonly known as dry shares. Between the years of 1743 and 1764 there were over 40 such companies registered with the Russian Government. There were various other ventures into Alaska during the late 1700s until the first charter of the Russian-American Company issued by Tsar Paul I in 1799.

35 36

A light, single-masted, flat bottom Dutch merchant ship small merchant vessel used in the coastal waters, Some hookers had pole masts, while others had the more usual separate mainmast and topmast, with tops, shrouds and the rest. All of the hookers had bluff rounded bows and sterns , with a high rudder and

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In 1779, Lieutenant Ignaciao de Arteaga and his second in command Lieutenant Juan Francisco de la Bodega y Quadra37 (now there is a mouthful) visited Kayak Island, and Prince William Sound on the frigates Princesa and Favorita. In 1781, Commanders Eustrate Ivanovich Delarof38, Dmitri Polutof, and Potap Zaikof were the first Russian trading expedition into Prince William Sound. There was a certain Captain James Strange39 and Alexander Walker40 who visited Alaska during the year of 1786, with each of them leaving a brief detailed account of their stay. John Meares41, captain of the Nootka, sailed eastward through the Aleutian Islands and the Kodiak Archipelago, traveling in and out of Cook Inlets in to Prince William Sound, spending the winter at Montague Island in 1787. Captains Nathaniel Portlock (King George) and George Dixon (Queen Charlotte) sailed to Alaska in 178742, missing the SW entrance into Prince William Sound, and did not make Cape Hinchinbrook. During the summer of 1787, they returned from Hawaii and spent roughly 3-months in the vicinity of Montague and Hinchinbrook Islands, visiting John Meares, who had survived the winter. There were three voyages to Prince William Sound in the spring of 1788. Captain James Colnett43 spent April and May trading in the Sound accompanied
37

His 2nd voyage to Alaska – where he got as far as what is now close to Sitka, Alaska, reaching 59˚ North Latitude on August 15, 17751. Failing to find any Russians, he returned southward on the 1st voyage. 38 Greek by origin, born in Peloponessus, the first documented Greek explorer and merchant, to arrive in Alaska, in 1783 he was employed by the Panov Company, Delarof the forgotten man in Alaska History, see http://www.pahh.com/frangos/delarof.html 1787 to 1791 1st Russian Governor of Alaska 39 After entering Prince William Sound, Strange was surprised to meet yet another vessel named the Sea Otter, this one a trading vessel from Calcutta, commanded by William Tipping, who later disappeared with his ship en route to Cook Inlet, never to be seen again. The Strange expedition left Prince William Sound on September 14. The Experiment reached Macao in mid-November; the Captain Cook reached Asia in December. Strange’s expedition was not a financial success. He died in 1840. 40 Alexander Walker later interviewed John MacKay, the first European to see how the Indians at Nootka lived during the winter months when their most important ceremonies were held. Walker's much revised journal, unpublished until 1982, offers rare eyewitness testimonies. “We saw many bare skulls in the possession of these people and one [with] the flesh and hair upon it; and which was still bloody. They ate part of this raw before us, and as usual expressed the highest relish for the food. Upon another occasion they produced an arm half roasted, feeding on it in the same manner.” 41 Meares, John -1756?–1809, British naval officer, explorer, and trader. He served in the navy, in which he attained the rank of lieutenant, until after the Peace of Paris (1783), when he entered the merchant service. In Macao he formed a commercial company for trade with the northwest coast of America, to which he paid his first visit in 1786. He explored along the coast of Alaska, wintered in Prince William Sound, and then returned to East Asia. Two years later he went to Nootka Sound, erected a trading post on its shores, and built the Northwest America, first ship launched in British Columbia. In 1789 his establishment at Nootka Sound was seized by the Spanish; war between England and Spain was narrowly averted. Meares later returned to the British navy and became (1795) a commander. He wrote Voyages Made in the Years 1788 and 1789 to the North West Coast of America (1790). 42 Portlock commanded this 1785-1788 expedition from the ship King George while Dixon captained the Queen Charlotte. The purpose of the expedition was to investigate the potential of the Alaskan fur trade and to resume Cook’s search for a Northwest Passage through the continent. Expedition of 1785-1788 The pair left England on August 29, 1785, and took nearly a year to reach Alaska, rounding Cape Horn and touching the west coast on their trip northward. 43 James Colnett made five Pacific voyages in the late 1700s and early 1800s, over a period of about 13 years, and in the process he became the first European to see parts of the southern Queen Charlotte Islands.

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by surgeon and naturalist Archibald Menzies44, who later returned to Alaska with Vancouver. In May, two vessels under the command of Esteban Jose Martinez 45 (Princesa) and Gonzalo Lobez46 (San Carlos), anchored in a harbor on the southern end of Montague Island. During the 11-days they explored the area by small boat and traded with the locals. Three other expeditions visited Prince William Sound and the rest of Alaska before the turn of the century. Salvador Fidalgo47 visited in 1790 when he “discovered” the Columbia Glacier and he named Valdez Arm. This same year, Captain Joseph Billings48 sailed eastward in 1789 from Okhotsk on a “secret astronomical and geographical expedition 49”, traveling as far east as the sound. His crew members included his 2nd in command Lieutenant Gavrila Sarychev, secretary and translator Martin Sauer and naturalist Carl Merck, who kept all his journals of the voyage. This expedition visited Kodiak, Montague Island, the Sound, and saw Mt St Elias – scarcity of food forced Billings to return to Petrapavlosk, not fulfilling the original mandate of the Empress. The following year (1791), Alejandro Malaspina50, on a round the world expedition sailed past Kayak Island and along the outer shores of Hinchinbrook Island never entering the Sound he then returned to the Spanish force in Nootka Sound (west coast of Vancouver Island) from there he returned to Mexico.
44

Archibald Menzies (March 15, 1754 – February 15, 1842) was a Scottish physician and naturalist. In 1786 Menzies (pronounced Ming-iss) was appointed surgeon on board Prince of Wales, which was travelling round Cape Horn to the northern Pacific. He collected a number of new plants on this voyage, and also ensured that none of the crew died of illness. 45 In June, 1789, Spaniards under Esteban Jose Martinez established a settlement at Nootka, to protect Spanish interests. They brought along a priest, medical doctor, a contingent of troops, and some livestock. They installed a fort, a 16-gun emplacement, a headquarters building, barracks, a bakery, sick bay, carpentry workshop, water wells, vegetable gardens, livestock pens, and cemetery. 46 In 1788, Esteban Martinez and Gonzalo Lopez de Haro sailed there with two frigates and established a presence in Nootka. This occupation continued until 1795, when Spain withdrew in accordance with the Treaty of El Escorial, which had been signed in 1790. 47 The Spaniards had spotted in western Alaska the first Russian promyslhennik (fur hunters) two years earlier and Salvador Fidalgo had the commitment to find out the full extent of their penetration. On May 5th of 1790 he sailed in the San Carlos out of Nootka Bay for Prince William Sound and Cook Inlet. He arrived there twenty days later to explore the gulf, which he called Príncipe Carlos. 48 Joseph Billings (c. 1758 - 1806) was an English navigator and explorer . In 1785, the Russian government of Catherine II commissioned a new expedition in search for the Northeast Passage, led by English officer Joseph Billings, who had previously sailed with Captain Cook, and the Russian officer Gavril Sarychev as his deputy. This enterprise operated till 1795, this expedition was the first to “carefully” chart Alaska and the Aleutians, especially Unalaska. This expedition also marked the close of the Russian surveys on the Eastern Coast of Siberia
49 50

Alexandro Malaspina was born on November 5, 1754 to an aristocratic and distinguished Italian family in Mulazzo, in northern Tuscany. After studying at the Clementine College in Rome, he learned navigation as a Knight of the Order of Malta, and worked his way up to the rank of Captain in the Spanish Navy.

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The third expedition was that of Captain George Vancouver 51 (Discovery) and Lieutenant William Broughton52 (Chatham), this was actually his 2nd trip into Alaska, the first being spent in SE Alaska in and around the Ketchikan area. It was Lieutenant James Whidbey who recorded the small details in and around Prince William Sound from the back end of a small boat. As it can be seen, there were other countries interested in Alaska, and not just for the furs. Some were still searching for the Northwest Passage (Straits of Anian), a fabled passage linking the Atlantic with the Pacific. Some expeditions set out to chart the North Pacific coastline, and some were express voyages by the respective countries to stake their claim on the lands surrounding Northern Pacific, and all at one time or the other were after the fur. Before the relocation of the hunters to SE Alaska, the Russians had discovered the Pribilof Islands (or the Seal Islands as they were called in 1786). Gerassim Pribilof53 noted (along with others) that many seals passed through the Aleutians on a journey north during the spring months and returned in the fall with their young, and there was a local legend (tradition) of the native “Enghadeer”, who had been cast away on an Island to the north. So, he went searching for this land, and with a little bit of dumb luck almost sailed into it in a heavy fog, he named the land St George after his ship and landed there on June 12th, 1786. Leaving a party of hunters over the winter (there was no safe harbor on the island) he returned to the Andreanof Islands. Returning on June 29, 1787, and collecting the hunters and their load of furs, he also observed land to the northwest, and as it was the Day of the Saints, Peter and Paul the new discovery was named after them – as of today the named has been shorten to St Paul Island. The islands were uninhabited, but they housed a multitude of sea otters, walruses, foxes, sea lions and especially seals – all which hadn’t been really disturbed for ages and this being the case had no fear of man – this leading to
51

George Vancouver (June 22, 1757 – May 12, 1798) was an officer of the Royal Navy, best known for his exploration of North America, including the Pacific coast along present-day Oregon, Washington, and British Columbia; he also explored the southwest coast of Australia 52 William Robert Broughton was a British naval officer in the late 18th century. As a Lieutenant in the Royal Navy, he commanded the HMS Chatham as part of the voyage of exploration through the Pacific Ocean led by Captain George Vancouver in the early 1790s 53 Gerassim Gavrilovich Pribilof, master in the Russian Navy, was the son of one of the sailors who accompanied Bering in 1741. He entered the service of the Lebedef-Lastochkin company in 1778. In 1786 he sought for and discovered in Bering Sea the breeding place of the fur seals, the group of islands that now bear his name. He died in Sitka in March, 1796.

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their slaughter. There were millions of seals in the rookeries – the Russians did their bit to reduce this number, not even coming close that first season, they left with their eyes full of riches they figured would be untapped for years to come. First Russian Colony in America Grigorh Ivanovich Shelekof54, a merchant from Rilsk (Ukraine) developed an interest in the trade of the “Kurile Islands55”, and later outfitted a ship for the Aleutian Island trade in 1777. This venture extended his operations and working with Solovief and others they sent out the Barfolomei I Barnabas on this mission to Alaska. The subsequent ventures to the Aleutians were successful, giving rise to his additional investment in many different companies; he owned stock in the Lebedef-Lastochkin Company when Gerassim Gavnlovich Pribilof discovered the Pribilof Islands. He also saw and predicted the declining condition of the fur trade, noting the depletion of the finest hunting ground; because of his foresight he formed a plan on the islands and of the organization of the business on a permanent basis. One of his companies (Shelekhov-Golikof Company) ended one voyage at Kodiak Island (three ships were outfitted at left Kamchatka on the 16 th of August 1783), where at Three Saints Bay 56 (Old Harbor) he founded the first permanent European settlement in Alaska (Aug - 1784), his wife (Natalie A. Shelekof) accompanied him to Kodiak and subsequently became the first “white” woman to sail these northern seas, a woman of rare courage and ability. She was a worthy partner of her man, and later on after his death fought for her rightful place to run his company and was specially honored by the order of the Empress. From this location, where he built storehouses, offices, and dwellings, his traders explored the mainland, going to Cook Inlet, Prince William Sound, and to the side of the Island where the body of water between Kodiak and the Alaska
54

Grigory Ivanovich Shelikhov (Shelekhov) (Шелихов (Шелехов), Григорий Иванович in Russian; English spelling varies from Shelekov to Shelikof) (1747, Rylsk – July 20(.. July 31), 1795) was a Russian seafarer and merchant 55 The Kuril Islands /kʰʊˈɹɪl aɪ̯ləndz/ (Russian: Кури́льские острова́ /kuˈrʲilskiɪ əstrʌˈva/) or Kurile Islands in Russia's Sakhalin Oblast region, stretch approximately 1,300 km (700 miles) northeast from Hokkaidō, Japan, to Kamchatka, Russia, separating the Sea of Okhotsk from the North Pacific Ocean. There are 56 islands in total. 56 Three Saints Bay is a small inlet on the southeast side of Kodiak Island in southern Alaska. It is 97 km (60 miles) southwest of Kodiak at 57°08′N 153°30′W. The bay was the site of the first Russian settlement in Alaska in 1784 by Grigory Shelikhov. The bay and settlement were named after one of his ships. The settlement of Three Saints Bay was moved to the site of present-day Kodiak, Alaska in 1792 when an earthquake and tidal wave destroyed it.

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Peninsula bear his name. Fur-trading centers were established at Cook Inlet, Afognak, Karluk and other various locations. It was from this Three Saints Bay location that Shelekhov (leaving on May 22, 1786, leaving command to a peredovchik, leader of hunters, named Samoilof) returned to Russian where he unsuccessfully57 sought a “grant” giving his company a monopoly over the fur trade in Alaska, from the Catherine II (Catherine The Great). During his absence from Three Saints Bay, he dispatched Alexandr Baranov to manage his interests in Alaska as the residing manager58. It was during his trip to the Motherland that he came to the attention of Nikolay Petrovich Rezanov, who at one time had been the private secretary to the Empress, who in watching the tireless efforts of Shelikhov and having tired of the workings of the Russian court life, became a partner in Shelikhov company. This company was to become the nucleus for the Russian American Company that was to become a guiding factor in Alaska’s economy and government until its sale in 1867 to the United States of America. After the death of Shelikhov in 1795 Rezanov59 became the leader of wealthy and amalgamated companies that he and other merchants owned. He set out to obtain for these companies privileges similar to those that Great Britain had granted to the East India Company. He had, through his previous relationship, succeeded in getting Catherine II to sigh his charter doing just that, but she up and died (Nov 5 th, 1796) before endorsing the papers. Now he was forced to begin again with the ill-balanced and intractable Emperor Paul60. The process looking hopeless he applied his skill, subtlety and position in the prior court and eventually (before Paul’s assassination, March 11, 1801) obtained his signature (1799) to the instrument granting the “Russian-American Company” for a period of 20-years complete
57

It was his petition to the Empress that prompted her to send Joseph Billings (Englishman) on a Secret Geographical And Astronomical Expedition, in September 1788, he reached Three Saints on June 20, 1789, it was also noted during the trip by Mr. Sauer, that “these people (Russians) lord if over the inhabitants with more despotism that generally falls to the lot of princes, keeping the islanders in a state of abject slavery.”
58

Alexandr Andreevich Baranov (Александр Андреевич Баранов in Russian), sometimes spelled Aleksander or Alexander and Baranof, was born in 1746 in Kargopol, in the Arkhangelsk province of Russia. 59 Nikolay Petrovich Rezanov (1764-1807) was a Russian nobleman and statesman who promoted the project of Russian colonization of Alaska and California. One of the ten barons of Russia, he was the first Russian ambassador to Japan (1804), and instigated the first attempt of Russia to circumnavigate the globe (1803), commanding the expedition himself as far as Kamchatka.
60

Paul I of Russia (October 1, 1754–March 23, 1801) was the Emperor of Russia between 1796 and 1801. Paul was born in the Summer Palace at St Petersburg. He was the son of the Grand Duchess, later Empress, Catherine. In her memoirs, she strongly implies that his father was not her husband, the Grand Duke Peter, later Emperor, but her lover Sergei Saltykov. A Brief History of Alaska – Page 23

dominion over the coast of North-Western America, stretching from latitude 55 degrees northward, and over the chain of islands extending from Kamchatka northward to Alaska and southward to Japan. This “charter” granted 33% of all profits to the Emperor. In the meantime the operations at Three Saints Bay were under the command of Eustrate Delaref, a Greek who had been at Unalaska for a number of years, and who had been to Prince William Sound in 1781 with the first Russian ships in those waters, he took charge of the company in 1788. Before his watch (1786), some traders and hunters of the Lebedef Company came into port of the St Paul and asked to be directed to the sea-otter grounds --- in order to be rid of the un-welcomed visitors they were advised to go up Cook Inlet, whey established a post on the Kisselof River. Alexandr Baranov61, who was already managing Shelikohv’s interests at Three Saint Bay, was the first governor of the company, from 1799 to July 11 th, 1818, establishing a legacy that remains at the forefront of Alaska even today. Baranov experienced his first hostilities during the spring of 1792 on a visit to Prince William Sound (to cultivate trade relations with locals), whereas on one dark night he was attacked by a party of Tlingit from Yakutat. Two Russians and ten Aleuts were killed, and scores wounded before Baranov’s men chased the Tlingits to their boats. It was when he was in Prince William Sound that he met Captain Moore, of the East Indian ship Phoenix, who gave him information on Sitka – notwithstanding the information he also gave Baranov an Indian servant (a native of Bengal) – who served Baranov faithfully for many years. It was during his leadership that the first ship built in Alaska (Resurrection Bay – Voskresenski – Southeast side of Kenai Peninsula – Seward) was launched in August 1794, the ship Phoenix, 73 feet long, 23 foot beam, 13.5 feet draw and a total capacity of 180 tons, it was rigged with 3-masts and had two decks – but it sails were of such poor material (being made of fragments gathered from Kamchatka to Kodiak) it barely made it back to Kodiak on its maiden voyage. By 1792 the animal of wealth, sea otter, had been depleted along the Aleutian Chain, and were decreasing in the waters of Prince William Sound and
61

Baranov had a trying experience on his journey to Alaska – sailing from Okhotsk (Three Saints) on August 19th, 1790 – the ship wrecked at Kosheega Bay (Unalaska) – they made it ashore just to spend the winter amid bitter hardships. Three bidars (from the skins of sea lions) were constructed, two sent to the North side of the Alaska Peninsula, they later joined them on Kodiak Island. He arrived at Three Saints Bay on July 27th, 1791 and relieved “Delaref” – who returned to Okhotsk the following year.

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Cook Inlet, new hunting ground were needed.

In 1793 a group of trusted

hunters were sent to Yakutat, the report being favorable the following year over 500 bidarkas, with over 1,000 Aleuts descended on the region like seagulls on dead fish. They realized a very successful hunt! During the autumn of 1794 men and supplies arrived from Okhotsk on the Three Saints (author here, the Three Saints must have been a popular name for ships built in Okhotsk, seems Baranov wrecked one in Unalaska on his trip to Alaska), Ekaterina 30 was the 2nd of ship both providing steerage settlers) for from 150 the promishlenikis, families colonists (agricultural

Monarchoto Shelekof, and the Archimandrite Joassof with a retinue of priests, sent to establish the church – the group brought with them nothing but trouble for Baranov – at one time he wrote, “Even under my very eyes they had their secret councils, and when I went away in the winter it came near causing disastrous consequences.” He did have his hands full. In an attempt to colonize Yakutat, Baranov sent Manager Polomoshno in 1795, who deliberately went to Nuchek (Prince William Sound) instead, wasted the summer in inaction, then returned to Kodiak --such was the insubordination he dealt with from time-to-time in his rule of Russian America. Eventually the Yakatat station was set up in 1796, with two separate buildings and the port was named New Russia. Baranov’s first visit to the Sitka region was aboard the Ekatarina in 1795, this voyage made in his ever expanding search for the sea otter, which was being depleted in the Russian’s present location. It is written that he paid a small sum to the resident “Kiksadi”, Tlingit people of the region, in hopes to keep others from occupying the land. On May 25th, 179962 he returned with 100 employees (with their native wives) on board the cutter Olga and the sloop-of-war Konstantin of the Imperial Russian Navy, and sailing with the two ships were over 550 baidarkas with 6001000 Aleuts. Not in the mood to confront the locals he sailed past the Tlingit strategic hilltop encampment (Noow Tlen – Big Fort) and made landfall some 7miles north of the colony, Katlianski Bay. There he constructed a large warehouse, blacksmith shop, cattle sheds, barracks, stockade, block house, bath house, quarters for the Aleut hunters, and a primary residence for himself
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CL Andrews writes his 2nd trip was with the Ekaterina accompanied by the ship Orel [Eaglel under the command of Lieutenant Talin, and has Baranov landing at Old Harbor on July 7th, 1799, on the Olga.

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– Redoubt Saint Michael (Starrigavan Bay – or Old Harbor) had been established. It is written that Baranov purchased the land from one of the local leaders, a certain Skayeutlelt. Although the Tlingit initially welcomed the newcomers, they did not agree with a number of things the Russians had grown accustomed too, one major sticking point being the taking of native women as their wives – which caused constant “taunting” of the Kiksadi by other Tlingit clans63, who looked upon the Kiksadi as the kalga, or slaves of the Russians. otter64. Some have written that the Kiksadi were also jealous of the Aleut’s superior skill in the hunting of sea Riding behind all of this animosity was the fact that the Russian’s expected the locals to set their “allegiance” to the Tsar, and that therefore must provide “free” labor to the Company. Despite a number of unsuccessful Tlingit attacks against the post during the winter of 1799, business soon prospered as the competition between the Aleuts and the Kiksadi escalated in their hunting of the sea otter. March of the following year found trading ships frequenting the port, both English and American, on the 30th of March the American ship Caroline, commanded by Captain Cleveland, purchased 300 sea otter skins, giving two-yards of broad cloth for each skin, they also went against Baranov’s wishes and sold guns, ammunition and large quantities of Rum – devil juice. They told Baranov, “we have come ten thousand miles to get fur and will trade any kind of goods to secure these furs!” As typical of Americans even today! In the meantime pressing matters required that Baranov return to Three Saints Bay (which was still the capital of Russian America), he packed up his staff and most of the population he had arrived with and left in 180065. Vasilii G Medvednikov was left in command with 25 Russians and 55 Aleuts – things went well. In the spring of 1802 the population of Redoubt Saint Michael (by now named New Archangel /
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The Hoonahs, the Chilkats, the Kakes, and other kwans The initial force of Aleut hunters was reduced and sent back to Kodiak, on the trip back (about 2-days out) they stopped and ate some Black Mussels, whereas many were taken ill and within two-hours more than 100 died – hence the name Peril Strait. 65 Misfortune had struck his fleet – Orel was lost (Lieutenant Talin, where he and five of his men lost their lives), soon after it is assumed the Phoenix was found on the west shore of Kodiak Island (still today it remains one of the greatest mysteries of the sea), the St Michael was lost near Bolscheretsk and the St Alexander was wrecked on her way to Okhotsk with a load of furs --- consequently it was years before any arrival of goods, with warehouses full of furs and no trade articles coming in. It was during this time the a Mr. Banner, an employee of the new company arrived from the homeland with dispatches telling of the formation of the Russian American Company and of its powers and privileges. Which was granted by Emperor Paul in 1799. It extended the empire southward to the sunny shores of California --- it was dated 27th, December 1799. A Brief History of Alaska – Page 26

Nova Arkangelsk) had expanded to include 29 Russians, 3 British deserters, 200 Aleuts and a few Kodiak natives. In 1801, it rumored that the Hudson Bay Company made a move to gain the hunting rights or possession that Russia had in Southeast, meeting with a group of clans in Angoon offering muskets, gunpowder along with a few other items for exclusive fur trading rights. It was during this meeting (again a rumor) that a plan was devised that the clans would attack Fort Saint Michael, with the Hudson Bay Company supplying the muskets and gunpowder. The attack would take place in the spring of 1802. side in the Battle of Sitka – 1802. On June 20th, 1802 a group of Tlingit clans, initiating an attack from the “Indian River” (Kaasda Heen) and nearby Crab Apple Island, against the Russian fort. In complete battle regalia with painted faces, wearing wooden animal masks, armed with spears and modern firearms, led by Chief Shk’awulyeil they laid waste to the forts occupants, Katlean (young and active) was with the force that attacked the fort. They killed all of the men (20 Russians and very close to 130 Aleut workers, Medvyednikov included), looted and burned the barracks and storehouses, destroyed a ship under construction, and enslaved the surviving women and children. During the battle many Russians and Aleuts had been away from the post hunting, and upon hearing the commotion of a battle had fled into the woods reaching safety and relayed news of the attack to two foreign ships in the sound, the ship Alert, Jacob Astors boat from Boston under the command of Captain Ebetts, and the British ship, Unicorn sailing under Captain Barber. Later on in the day Shk'awulyéil & Katlean were lured on board and were held hostage until the Russian captives were set free. Upon securing the captives and over 2700 furs, Barber set sail to Kodiak were he attempted to relieve Baranov of 50,000 rubles for the return of his own people, Baranov ended up paying 10,000 rubles for their release. During attack the party of hunters that had been sent to hunt by Medvyednikov under the command of Urbanof went to Sea Otter Bay, took 1,300 skins and were returning by way of Chatham Strait, camping near Kootznahoo on the night of the 20 th. Taking no unusual precaution (they hadn’t Some historians believe that Tlingits from Sitka, Angoon, Kake, Hoonah, Auke Bay, Stikines and Klukwan fought side-by-

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experienced any hostilities from the locals) they were set upon during the night and massacred, leaving only Urbanof and seven Aleuts who escaped into the forest. The Tlingit drifted off into the night with there spoils, and Ubanof and his band assembled some bidarkas (from the pieces left over on the beach), headed straight for Sitka, where they found the smoldering ruins and set a course for Yakutat. Having achieved a great success the different clans returned home to celebrate their resounding victory. The Tlingits had become tired of the strict Russian rule and in their battle struck a large blow for their freedom and the rule of the Russians. One Kiksadi shaman foretold the return of the Russian sailing ships, bent on seeking revenge for their fellow man and their property. This fearsome shaman Stoonookw was very adamant about the need for a new fort capable of withstanding cannon fire – against many odds he reviled and new fort was under construction in 1803 – the Kiksadi were preparing for total war! These misfortunes were very grievous to Baranov and his colonies filling him with discouragement, and adding to this was his frequent attacks of rheumatism all leading to a general depression that found him confined to his house for day on end. Late in the year (1802) the ship Elizabeth arrived, ladened with men, provisions, and trading goods, a very welcome addition in every way. It commander, Lieutenant N.A. Khvostov (of the Imperial Navy) and his assistant Lieutenant Davidof also brought news of the completion of the organization of the new company, and the plans for its enlargement. In May of the next year news also arrived informing Baranov that he had been made a shareholder in the Russian American Company and that he was given the honor of the gold medal of the order of St Vladimir – and the operation of the company in America rested solely on his shoulders – he was the supreme boss! Shortly after its arrival, the Elizabeth was sent back to Okhotsk with a cargo of fur valued at 1.2 million rubles, in which there were over 17,000 sea-otter skins, a shipment that was one of the largest ever shipments to-date from the colonies. Relieved of the mental stress of being a complete failure, Baranov set to work formulating plans for the re-taking of Sitka. He took the cutter Olga and reconnoitered the sound, returned by way of Yakutat, replaced the ill-fated

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Polomoshno with Kuskof and order the building of two small ships for the next year. During all of this he was informed he been newly appointed as Collegiate Counsellor making him equal in rank to the Naval officers who had snubbed him for years --- he had arrived! In the beginning of the summer of 1804 (206 years ago) Baranov issued summons to the natives of Kodiak and the Aleuts, calling them to assist in the retaking of Nova Arkangelsk – his workforce being somewhat diminished he managed to muster 300 bidarkas (800 men), and equip to small ships sailing with 120 Russians. The bidarka fleet was under the command of his tried and true leader, Demianenkof. Alexander. Baranov followed with the Ekaterina and the They stopped at Yakutat and picked up the two ships he had

ordered built by Kuskof, the Yermak and the Rostislaf. The Ekaterina and the Alexander were sent to Sitka, while Baranov sailed on the Yermak overtaking the convoy of bidarkas and the Rostislaf, at Cross Sound – after the disaster of Urbanof’s brigade no hunting party was to ever sail again with the protection of an armed ship. They ran into a bit of a problem in Cross Sound, but having overcome with just a few bidarkas lost they continued on to Lynn Canal, then down Chatham Strait and through Peril Strait to Sitka, and anchored in Cross Harbor (Krestof Bay) on Sept 25th, finding the Ekaterina, the Alexander, and the Neva66 lying at anchor. The Neva, commanded by Captain Yuri Lisianski, would later be towed by over 100 bidarkas to its anchorage near the old Russian stronghold, for the upcoming battle. The Neva arriving in Sitka on the 20th waited for the arrival of Baranov, during this time an American ship under the command of Captain O’Keen arrived and commenced trading with the locals. The Captain on trip ashore was attacked by the Tlingit – Lieutenant Lisianski was quick to respond to his rescue with an armed launch. The escaping Tlingit fled carrying their canoe over a shoal line into another bay – where Lisianski’s launch could not follow. Lisianski wrote in his log, “Their skill as marksmen was apparent from the shattered

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Russian frigate Neva, a 200-foot-long, three-masted sailing ship that weighed 350 tons. It had 14 cannons and was manned by a crew of 50 professional sailors. The Neva was of English design and construction. It was a new ship and state-of-the-art in warships of that era. It was purchased in London in 1803 by Lisianskii along with the Nadezhda for 22,000 pounds sterling. Nicholas P Rezanov (Ambassador to Japan at the time) sailed on the Nedezhda to Japan accompanied by naturalists “Tilesius von Tillenau”, “Georg Heinrich von Langsdorff”, and the astronomer “Horner”.

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condition of Captain O’Keen’s launch, as well as from the collar of his coat, through which a bullet had passed!” Baranov consulted with Lisianski on the attack, realizing they had to take the Tlingit fortified post located with a commanding view of the harbor (which is now present day Sitka). The primary fortification was near the mouth of the Indian River (it is a park today) and was built as an irregular square, its long side looking toward the sea – constructed with timber that shot from any gun would not penetrate it at even a short distance. It had two large gates and one single door, facing the woods, with 14 houses (barabaras). On the 28th the Russians moved their ships toward the site of Sitka (Neva towed), while the Tlingit were dancing their ritual war dances and the shamans invoking the aid of God as the boats drew near shore. All night the Russians listened to the chant of the local shamans…on the morning of the 29 th Baranov took possession of the abandoned fort on the hill (Castle Hill or Baranov Hill today) where he placed several cannon. At dusk Katlian (the new leader having replaced Shk’awulyeil) sent messengers asking the Russians their demands – the demands for hostages and the retreat from the new fort were rejected. In a

surprise move the Kidsadi appointed a new war chief, Katlian, who replaced Shk'awulyéil, leader of the successful war of 1802. Neither side rushed into battle, Baranov stalled to get a better lay of the land and forces he was up against, nor the Kidsadi waiting for their partners of 1802 to who they had sent messages, but had received no affirmative reply. While waiting for their reply the local Tlingit devised a battle plan – first they set the long-standing custom that all houses would fight under Katlian and his shaman. Their plan was a simple one where they would test the strength and intentions of the Russians at Noow Tlein (Castle Hill), then they would fall back to the new fort “Shis’gi Noow”, which as we know was located at the high-water line near “Kaasdaheen” (Indian River) – where the new fort had been constructed to take advantage of the long gravel beach flats that extend far out into the bay. It was planned in such a manner to reduce the distance and the effect of cannon fire from the Russian ships. The Kiksadi calculated that once they were settled in the new fort they would use delaying tactics to gain time, permitting the arrival of the northern tribes --- their shaman being consulted said he could not see any of their allies

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traveling towards Sitka, so they continued to see a “dark force” in their future. The tribes from the north were not coming. In the meantime Baranov’s patience was running thin and to move the stalemate he ordered the cannons to open fire on the canoes --- after destroying the canoes he ordered an all out assault on the new fort – they were met with a large body of armed Kiksadi led by Katlian in his raven hat, where when the Aleuts seen them they ceased their pulling of the guns, deserting their duties and fled. After a quick battle, with Baranov managing to escape dragging the guns back, the Russians barely escaped with their lives with the Neva firing shot to cover their retreat. Twelve Russians were killed and twenty-six wounded, Baranov himself suffering a wound, and they left some artillery pieces on the beach. The Kiksadi celebrated their victory that night. Maintaining their original vow that, “they could not surrender and become slaves of the Russians. We will fight alone if we have to!” The decision was made --- but they needed more gunpowder – their supply was low. Their reserve gunpowder was located in a small cave on one of the small islands in Jamestown Bay – about one-half mile away. After picking a band of young high-caste men from each house and placing a respected elder as their leader, the band crossed through the woods behind the fort to retrieve their much needed supply of gunpowder. It was an early morning supply party - after retrieving the gunpowder the band decided not to wait for the cover of darkness to return to the fort – instead they would leave in broad daylight paddle like the wind and save the day with the gunpowder. As they rounded the point to the fort the Russians spotted them and as soon as they reached a suitable range for their cannons opened fire. The young men returned fire with their muskets and paddled for their life. The Russians got lucky – for in the midst of this minor Naval Battle, a single cannon shot landed squarely in the middle of the canoe, a tremendous explosion! When the smoke cleared, the canoe and its crew of paddlers were gone from the face of the earth – gone! Day two had begun! Baranov having suffered battlefield wounds was in no shape to command the assault, and Lieutenant Lisianski being the cautious man he was, and wanting to complete his round the world circumnavigation played it safe by laying down a steady cannon bombardment against the fort. Little damage was done with this 4-5 hour siege. In early afternoon Lisianski ordered a cease fire and sent a contingent ashore under the white flag, his message

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was simple – surrender! This message was rejected and a counter-offer was returned to the Lieutenant – you surrender! Lisianski lifted the cease-fire and the cannon fire continued till nightfall. The Kiksadi had maintained their watch for the Russians attempting to land forces, it never came. After dark they met to consider the day’s events, and after careful count realized that they were short of gunpowder having used so much the day before. In another sense they believed the Russians were unable to launch another ground attack having suffered too many losses the previous day. Consulting the shaman once more he reported his vision still did not include any of the northern kwans – no warriors were on their way to assist! The pondered the facts, very little gunpowder and the northern tribes were not on their way! These facts made victory to the Kidsadi seem less likely, with the possibility of a large defeat on the field of battle --- and that holding the fort without gunpowder was also a lost cause. Each house chief agreed on one thing --- delaying tactics were in order. Again they were hoping for a northern salvation. One discussion proposed leaving the battlefield and marching to the north. Abandon Shis’gi Noow and live to fight another day. “We cannot be defeated on the battlefield if we are not on the battlefield to be defeated!” A committee was formed to weight the pros and cons of a survival march to the north – in reality the Tlingit people being a strong and healthy walked almost everywhere they went, usually with a heavy load on their backs, where they didn’t walk they paddled their large canoes. At the crack of dawn on the 3rd day Yuri ordered the continued bombardment of the fort, the Neva’s guns were relentless in their salvos, in the middle of this the Kidsadi employed a tactic to delay the fire by offering a truce, hostage exchange, promises of more talks, and held out the outright possibility of surrender. During all of this the elderly with their young grandchildren made off through the back of the fort through the forest to Gajaa Heen (Old Sitka). At nightfall the House Leaders met discussing the actual “Survival March”, working through the evening hammering out the details….the first group had left, now it was the time for the young mothers and their children. Now the plans were laid out for the rest of the clan(s) to follow, with the meeting over the individual families organized themselves for the long march.

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The younger leaders called a 2nd meeting, laying out a future structure on how to deal with the invaders. “Survival is not enough, we must plan for our return to Sheet’ka, we must block Peril Straits and no Tlingit must be allowed to trade with the Russians in Sheet’ka”. They went on to establish their long-standing ownership in the land (11,000 years is a long time), “we must return to Sheet’ka for the herring egg harvest and to all our fish camps next summer – all Tlingits must know and understand the Kiksadi still own Sheet’ka. This statement met with a majority agreement, the preparations began for the Survival March. “Take only what is absolutely needed. For we will do as marchers have done down through the ages, we will live from the land.” Again on day four, Lieutenant Yuri Lisianski began at the dawn with heavy cannon fire from the Neva. During small breaks in the action Yuri & Baranov made offers to the Kidsadi, all were rejected. The cannon fire resumed. Late in the afternoon of the 6th of October, the Kiksadi made an offer to “accept” the Russian’s terms --- stating that they would leave Shis’gi Noow the day of the next day. This offer by the Kiksadi was to clear the way for the last minute preparations to begin their evacuation. After the sun slipped into the ocean, the Kidsadi gathered for the last time in Shis’gi Noow. The remaining elders thanked everyone for defending the homeland of the Kiksadi, thanking them for their bravery in battle and for all agreeing to the Survival March. All the houses gathered together for one last song, a very sad song from the heart of everyone in Shis’gi Noow – expressing their pain, and anguish at the outcome of this great battle – expressing their grief at the loss of Shis’gi Noow and Noow Tlein, their tribal house, their many canoes, the young men in the gunpowder canoe, loss of so many friends, and relatives, grandfathers, fathers, uncles, husbands, brothers, sisters --- and last but not least their ceremonial regalia. And the young warriors mourned the loss of another chance to fight a hand-to-hand battle with their hated enemies – the song ended with a long and loud drum roll and a wail of anguish. Then they stole away under the cover of darkness. On board the ships at anchor the Russians on hearing this song cheered, supposing that surrender would be forthcoming the next day.

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The following day Lieutenant Yuri Lisianski at the head of a large contingent secured a beachhead and set to reconnoiter the area --- much to his surprise he found Shis’gi Noow deserted – the following day (after visiting the fort) he was to write in his ships log; “Having come ashore, I observed the most barbaric sight that could bring even the most hardened heart to tremble and recoil. Assuming that we could trace them in the woods by the voices of infants and dogs, the Sitkans put them all to death…the entire set of circumstances led us to conclude that the fortress had contained no less than 800 persons of male gender.” Other historical notes (CL Andrews – Story of Alaska-Page 80) states the following; “The next day the Russians found only two old women and a little boy, who had been left behind, but inside the fort were the bodies of 30 Kolosh (Tlingit) who had been killed during the battle, and the bodies of five children were also found who had been killed to prevent their cries making known the retreat.” Baranov had the fort “razed” to preclude the slight possibility of it being used as a stronghold against the Russians ever again. It is not “exactly” known in which manner the Kiksadi reached their final destination at Cháatl Káa Noow (Halibut Point or Point Craven) in Peril Strait, from there with canoes made of their age old wood Red Cedar carried them northward through Chatham Strait. Several Kiksadi men remained behind to harass the Russians, I suppose to prevent any from pursuing the escaping clans. They did kill eight Aleut trappers in Jamestown Bay, and another shot in the woods near New Archangel – these minor skirmishes causing the Russians to send out future hunting parties under heavy guard – and through the Tlingit telegraph the other clans in Southeast were asked to avoid contact with the Russians. After the dust had settled, work begun in earnest of the ground that had been taken back. They built a fortification atop the hill at Noow Tlein (the old Tlingit fort) consisting of a high wooden palisade with three watchtowers (armed with 32 cannon). By the summer of 1805 there were a total of eight building constructed inside the stockade – workshops, barracks and the Governor’s residence. New Archangel had been re-established, with the fort carrying the name of Redoubt Archangel Michael. It is said Baranov composed a ballad called the Song of Baranov, proclaiming the work of the Russians in the New World, which was sung at the dedication, and at the establishing of every post afterward placed in America --- this man was truly talented – wonder what happened to the song?

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Finding the situation under control, Lieutenant Yuri F Lisianski left Sitka on November 10th, 1804 arriving at St Paul’s harbor in Kodiak – he spent the winter in Kodiak. The winter he spent his time studying the natural history of the region and composed detailed ethnographic observations – his finding were very disturbing. He found that the native population had diminished by nearly 50% during the Russian occupation of the region, finding that all the natives were living in abject poverty mostly as a direct result of Baranov conscripting the men for their hunting skills. In St Paul, the poverty was less – but nevertheless they were living far below their accustomed survival – he assembled a council to discuss the general lack of work being done in the colony. The people all reply in concert, “what is the use, the company charges us such high prices for everything we get that we would never be able to do anything with what we earn.” The Lieutenant later wrote in his log, that such reports made him “blush” with shame for the honor of his country. While in Kodiak he listened to stories about the appearance of a new volcanic island in the Fox Islands. Lisianski related the story: The island appeared suddenly about the middle of April 1797. The first news about this miracle was brought by the Aleuts who, coming in from the sea, assured everyone in the Captain’s Harbor (on Unalaska) that they saw not far away fire over the sea surface. The fire breathing mountain, emitting flame, was emerging from the depth of the sea little by little so that in May 1798 the newly emerged island could be seen from the Makushin settlement on Unalaska, though it was situated no less than 70 verst67 to northwest. This island nowadays, so they say, resembles a relatively high hat, and has a circumference of about 20 verst. It has been told that it has not grown since 1797. The molten matter that ruptured the surface of some peaks scattered the mountain rocks of which they were composed. It is asserted that this new work of nature could be seen from the very beginning of its emergence from the Island of Umnak. Despite his short stay in the colonies, the Lieutenant admired the local’s knowledge about their natural environment and in particular their ability to foretell the weather. He was very impressed with the Kodiak Islanders ability to sail across great distances in their baidaras and their baidarkas, noting their fearlessness in facing the dangers of the Alaskan waters.
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A verst is equal to .6628788 miles – 70 verst equal 46.4 miles, 20 verst equals 13.26 miles A Brief History of Alaska – Page 35

Not being the only person to notice, he took great interest in the depletion of the fur resources in the region – becoming the first among many to insist on the institution of measures of the protection of the animals, and also to protect the local fauna, and to improve the living conditions of the Aleut and Kodiak natives. He forced the issue (a ukas made by Baranov) that when the natives ventured to distant hunting ground their baidarkas (and them) would be hauled aboard the company vessels – this became a practice of the RussianAmerican Company. Spring of 1805 found the settlement at New Archangel with the eight structures, fifteen kitchen gardens and livestock. The Tlingit remaining (other than an occasional trip for herring) away from the post during the previous years building a fort at Kootznahoo and one at the opening of Peril Strait into Chatham Strait. On June 22nd, the Neva returned from Kodiak and an invitation was issued to the Kiksadi for a large feast where they were entertained and given presents, they responded with songs and dancing throughout the day – a treaty was concluded with “part” of the clan with the others remaining hostile and refusing to deal with the invaders. The Tlingit Right about now I’d like to take a short break from the Russian side of the equation and present some information about the Tlingit, it will be from various sources to include the WWW – and from a new source (to me) written by “Archimandrite Anatoli Kamenskii – Russian Orthodox Priest”, mostly not available in the USA – published in the early 1900s. I have taken the liberty to substitute new terminology where necessary, for instance instead of Kaliuzh or Kolosh, Tlingit is the title I used. Further through gained knowledge I have substituted “tribe” for Nation, and other liberal uses of the “tribe”, using Clan or House where necessary. Some of the information will be “old hat” to some of you, but please keep in mind that there will be friends of mine who will have a very limited knowledge base of our people. Although there are many different Nations in Alaska I have chosen at this time to concentrate on the Tlingit – following is a list of 13 Nations in Alaska: 1. Athabaskan -name for a large group of closely related peoples, [Athabasca, or Athapaskes Indians) 2. Aleuts (Unangax, Unangan, or Unanga)

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3. Alutiiq (Pacific Yupik or Sugpiaq) Coastal branch of the Yupik 4. Chugach (Kenai Peninsula and Prince William Sound) 5. Deg Hit’an (Deg Xinag, Deg Xit’an, Deg Hitan, Degexit’an, Ingalik, Ingalit, Inkaliten, Inkality, or Kaiyuhkhotan) related to the large group of Athabaskan --please note that the older name Ingalik and its derivatives are considered offensive to the Deg Hit’an 6. Dena’ina (also Tanaina) 7. Gwich’in (Kutchin or Gwitchin) [one who dwells] sometimes referred to in the French vernacular as Loucheux or Loucheaux, or as some missionaries referred to the nation as “Tukudh” 8. Haida – Southeast Alaska 9. Holikachuk (Innoko, Innoka-khotana, Tlegon-khotana) another arm of the Athabaskan living in Western Alaska. 10. Inupiat (Inupiaq) – Inuit people Northwest Arctic, North Slope, Bering Straits and Barrow (northernmost city in the USA) – Language is Inupiaq. 11. Koyukon (Athabaskan group – northern Alaska) 12. Tlingit 13. Tsimshian --- People Inside the Skenna River --- Southeast Alaska 14. Yupik (western Alaska) The Tlingit during the Russian occupation were a large loosely semi-organized Nation, with many clans and house scattered across the Alexander Archipelago and as far north as south central Alaska. The name “Tlingit” means human beings --- originally utilized to distinguish a human from an animal, as the Tlingit belief holds that there is very little difference between the human and the animal. At the time of the Russian occupation, it has been estimated there were approximately 15,000 Tlingits in Alaska albeit a number that is considered far too low, who had occupied the land for over 11,000 years. Whereas the Haida people have only occupied the lower end of Prince of Wales Island for the last 200 or so years, and the Tsimshian migrating from British Columbia as recently as 1887 under the leadership of Father Duncan. Tlingit legends tell of many different migrations into Southeast Alaska, from several directions – from the north Bering Sea land bridge, from the southwest, after a long

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maritime journey from the Polynesian islands, or some say from the south (the Southwestern part of the United States (Hopi legend speaks of the division of clans), whereas the Bear clan traveled north across the continent. The Tlingit Nation is unique and unrelated to other tribes around them, where they have “no” linguistic relationship with any other language with the exception of a “vague” similarity with the Athabaskan’s. With whom they also share “some” cultural similarities, they also have “traded” and interacted with the Athabaskan’s for centuries. At the end of the day, all this means is no one really knows the origin of the Tlingit. I did find it interesting that “Kamenskii” surmised (1906) that the Tlingit were a “vanguard” Nation moving from East to West across the continental United States, driven to the waters edge by other tribes, and being defeated sought shelter among the islands of the Pacific Northwest, going on to state he figured they had only occupied Alaska during the past 400-500 years or in the 1400s. He admits there is really no evidence to establish and exact time frame, but he felt his estimate to be fairly accurate. They are grouped and divided into distinct regions called “kwan”, where some estimates put the number of kwans at 15 or 20 at the time of European contact. A Kwan was a number of people who shared a mutual area, shared residences, intermarried, and lived in relative peace amongst themselves. The number of kwans today makes a comprehensive list, such as follows: 1. Galyax Kwaan ---- Yakataga, Controller Bay area, Salmon Stream Tribe 2. Xunaa Kwaan ----Hoonah, “Tribe or People from the Direction of the Northwind 3. S’awdaan Kwaan ----Sumdun, “Dungeness Crab Town Tribe” 4. Kooye Kwaan ---- Kuiu Island “Stomach Tribe” 5. Takjik’aan Kwaan ---- Prince of Wales “Coast Town Tribe” 6. Hinyaa Kwaan ---- Klawock “Tribe from across the Water” 7. Laaxaavik Kwaan ---- Yakutat area “Near the Ice People” 8. T’aaku Kwaan ---- Taku area “Geese Flood Upriver Tribe” 9. Xutsoowu Kwaan ---- Angoon “Brown Bear Fort” or 10. Xudzidaa Kwaan ---- Angoon “Burnt Wood Tribe” 11. Gunaaxoo Kwaan ---- Dry Bay “Among the Athabascans Tribe 12. Deisleen Kwaan ---- Teslin (Canada) “Big Sinew Tribe” 13. Sheey At’ika (Sheet’ka) Kwaan ---- Sitka “Outside Edge of a Branch Tribe”

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14. Shtax’heen Kwaan ---- Wrangell “Bitter Water Tribe” 15. Jilkaat Kwaan ---- Klukwan “Chilkat Tribe” 16. Jilkoot Kwaan ---- Haines “Chilkoot Tribe” 17. As Tlein Kwaan ---- Atlin (Canada) “Big Lake Tribe” 18. Keex Kwaan ---- Kake “The Opening of the Day [Dawn’ Tribe”, or “The town that never sleeps” 19. Taant’a Kwaan ---- Ketchikan “Sea Lion Tribe” 20. Ask’w Kwaan ---- Auke Bay “Small Lake Tribe” 21. Sanyaa Kwaan ---- Cape Fox “Secure in Retreat, Like a Fox in its Den Tribe” As it can be seen, most of the urban communities of Southeast Alaska occupy sites of many of the “traditional kwan” localities. It seems, (with recorded history) that Chirikov was the first European to make contact with the Tlingit, such as it was, when his men were taken captive in July of 1741. And as in the continental United States (lower-48) their lives were changed forever. After a brief point in history, the Russians actually did more for the Tlingit during their occupation of 126years, 3-months and 3-days in Alaska, then has the US Government done since. I know they reluctantly gave the native of Alaska full citizenship on June 2, 1924, over 56-years after Seward made his famous purchase --- more than half-a-century after someone sold their land to someone who was paying an old debt for the help that the Russians gave the U.S. during the Civil War – odd isn’t it! Enough of the political stuff --- we all know and understand that the European never did his native brothers any great service at any time, not even lately. The Tlingit, like every other native nation across the America’s, were perfectly capable of supporting their lifestyle, albeit they didn’t have the niceties of some European countries and to quite honest they didn’t need them. They not pushing themselves away from the dinner table (as some European and Asia countries were, having problem feeding their population, and needed to expand their territories), they were comfortable with their ways and culture – yes they got a little carried away from time-to-time and had a war or two, kidnapped some beautiful native maidens. But all in all, not to the excess that Greece, Rome or any other country that was “civilized, educated and on top of their world”, not even close. A couple of authors look down their nose at the Tlingit and how they considered War a honorable activity comparing them to the “fearless” Vikings of another northland. It is

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difficult for this author to agree that they should or should not have been proud of their achievements in Warfare --- but to the way outsiders classified the “people” and their ability to conduct exercises in War! And dwell on it! The primarily fought to protect their homeland, as most other Indians did across the North and South American land mass. The Tlingit society might seem complicated to some, with all of it separate kwans, clans, and houses. Some early historical writers compared the Tlingit social system to that of a semi-savage state, and characterized them as “human life” on the eve of the civilized era; those who made this idiotic comparison really didn’t understand the indigenous people of land basing their beliefs on 2nd hand knowledge. Going back with reference to the biblical customs of the patriarchs in the Old Testament, and going on to say that the Mormons (along with some scholars) that the American Indian was or is a branch of the Israelite people…my response to that since I can remember is that to this day (and before) that there was never a Native American alive that would wander around in a desert for forty-years. Never! All Tlingit are divided into two moieties (tribes if you will), a number of kwans, clans with in each kwan, and separate family houses (barabora) in each clan. The Raven moiety is considered to be larger than the Wolf (Eagle) moiety, and some maintain the Kiksadi to be the oldest clan and was the most powerful during its conflicts with the Russians. The most numerous clan (in early 1900s) of the Wolf moiety was the Kaagwaantaan, Kukhantan. The Tlingit believe that all “life” is of equal value, whether it be plants, trees, birds, fish, animals, and human beings are all equally respected. small snail. Clans and family Houses have A Tlingit identifying crests – where a clan is equally proud of its crest, whether it is a killer whale or a In other words, there are “no” recognized superior species. community today, shares these values and is very sensitive to their fulfillment. They do not tolerate the misuse or misappropriation of their crests, names, songs, designs, stories, or other items they consider their property. Frederica de Laguan’s (in 1972) Under Mt St Elias: The History and Culture of the Yakatat Tlingit, discussed in detail a clan dispute with another clan on the ownership of a particular crest over a century ago, where the issue turned into a social, political, and legal battle that ensured for “decades”, and in many ways remains unsolved today. When you use a killer whale song, or crest design “without” acknowledging the ownership of the clan, (or get permission to use it) it is considered stealing of the highest order. They demand respect be given towards other individuals and their clans, whereas

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when a person feels “insulted” by another person or clan, payment must be made as soon as possible by the person or the responsible clan. Most times the process relieving the insult must be done publicly – if this doesn’t happen the bad feeling persist, creating a cloud of negative feelings across clan lines – feelings that will persist until the apology is forthcoming. Centuries ago when a Tlingit was seriously hurt of killed, the “eye for an eye” philosophy would always determine the punishment, if a person was killed by another from another clan, then the person guilty of the deed would have to die, or someone of equal status from his clan. Naturally in this day and time, these events are covered by the American legal system, but the family of the perpetrator is subject to social ostracism – still today the perpetrator’s clan can make a payment to adjust for the crime. During the early contact with the European, especially by some missionaries, it was erroneously noted that the Tlingit population “worshipped” totems, idolized animals or birds as gods, and held heathen rituals. As a result, and this is sad, some religious leaders took it upon themselves instructing their Native congregations to burn or destroy elements of their art and culture, consequently many Tlingit heirlooms were destroyed never to be seen again, remarkably or unremarkably the same happened in Middle America during the occupation by the Spain. Once again ignorance by the invading forces destroyed much of the existing culture of the region. In this case these acts undermined the complexity and local power of the Tlingit culture and society. The Russian-American Company Shortly after the dust had settled in Sitka the Company went about its original business, making money, albeit in a half-hazard fashion. After the death of Grigory Shelikhov, Nilolay Petrovich Rezanov became the head of the Russian American Company, at the time not yet recognized for the power-house it would soon become through his efforts. The famous “Trust” which in the end had crowded out all of the small companies and independent traders, was a large source of revenues to Rezanov and the other shareholders, which included members of the Imperial family. Rezanov was tasked by the shareholders, mainly the Imperial family to go to the Russian colonies (Alaska and California) as the Imperial inspector (Chamberlain of the Emperor)

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and the expert problem solver, and having supreme control, in the company’s affairs to correct the problems it was experiencing. After an embarrassing tour of duty as the envoy to Japan, he sailed to Petropaulovsk on the Nadeshda in early 1805. Sailing onward to Alaska on the Maria captained by a Russian Navy Officer, N.A. Khvostov, he first visited the Seal Islands (Pribilof Islands), and finding the region over-hunted he established rules and guidelines followed by all company hunters and merchants. Where he limited hunting in certain areas and to hunt only those male seals between the ages of two or three years old. Traveling onto Kodiak he established a school and founded a library with his own personal books, he had brought from St Petersburg. He went onto to begin a program under Mrs. Banner (wife of the residing manager) that taught young girls cooking and housekeeping, even thought it was a short-lived exercise it demonstrated his efforts in educating the locals in Kodiak. While in Kodiak he issued a strong reprimand to the monks for their lack of attention to a number of items, one being their lack of energy spent on the land and the Christian and general education of young men. He then placed Father Nektar in charge of the general education for boys, and Father Herman (later to become St Herman 68) was assigned twenty boys for instruction in farming. From Kodiak Rezanov went to Sitka, where he found the living conditions very crude, his quarters rough and primitive. He remarked, “We all fared poorly, but worse than all lives the founder of this place, (Baranov), in a miserable hut, so damp that the floor is always wet, and during heavy rains the place leaks like a sieve.” He went on to record, “we live in perpetual fear of the Kolosh (Tlingit), with our cannons always loaded, and not only are sentries with loaded guns posted everywhere, but arms of all kinds constitute the principal furniture of the rooms.” His crew added to the mouths of the residents already in Sitka showed that the supplies were not sufficient, so when an American ship Juno arrived in port, laden with salt beef,
68

Little is known of the early life of St Herman, other than he was born in Serpukhov (Moscow Diocese) about 1756 – and at the young age of 16 enter into the Christian faith at the Trinity-St Sergius Hermitage near St Petersbury, he along with seven other monks arrived in Kodiak on September 24th, 1794. He was made the head of the Mission when the Archimandrite Joasaph died when the ship they were on sank, Archimandrite was returning from Russia after being consecrated a Bishop. After difficulties and persecution by the Russian-American Company, he left Kodiak and went to Spruce Island (“Uzinkie”), where he spent the rest of his life taking care of orphans, ran a school and continued his missionary work – ht managed to build a small chapel, school and guest house, and had an experimental garden from which he and the orphans used as a primary food source – he never was “ordained” and remained a “monk” all his life. He died on Dec 13th, 1837 and was made a Saint (glorified) on August 9th, 1970 in a very impressive ceremony in Kodiak. He is buried on Spruce Island, by his followers.

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sugar, molasses, flour and other supplies, he purchased the entire ship for about sixty-eight thousand Spanish piastres – noticing that the Aleut where short on food he sent the Maria (Khvostov) to Kodiak to fetch a cargo of yukali and whale fat. When Khvostov returned from Kodiak he was the bearer of disappointment, the brig Elizaveta had wrecked losing most of her cargo; that six bidars loaded with furs sank in a storm with the loss of their crews and cargo’ that New Russia (Yakatat Fort) had been destroyed by the Tlingit, and that their old and trusted leader, Demianenkov, and nearly two hundred bidarkas with their hunters had been lost in a storm. After the winter had ended and he had been successful in preventing the outpost is Sitka from starving and loosing its status, he sailed on the ship he purchased for San Francisco, in a grand attempt at establishing a post in Northern California in order to increase his fur trade and supplement the post in Sitka. While in San Francisco he met and fell in love with Maria Concepcion de Arguelio (who at the time was 15-years-old, and was in later years said to be the most beautiful woman in California, the daughter of Jose Dario Arguello, and was born in at the Presidio in 1791, their love is a story of legends, and many movies and stories have been modeled after their romance.) Although he was received with great courtesy and entertained night and day, no time was lost in informing him that the laws of Spain forbade her colonies to trade with foreign powers (figured, it was Spain, a great power brought to its knees because of its ignorance)….had it not been for his love for Concepcion and her love for him he might have set sail for Sitka with no provisions. But, after promising to return to marry Concepcion he set sail for Sitka with a full load of supplies and an express mission to gain permission from the Tsar to marry the lady he loved so much. It was not to be, on his return to the seat of the Russian Government he died of fever and exhaustion in Krasnoyarsk, Siberia on March 8th, 1807. Forty-two years and 11 months after the day he was born.
Nikolay Petrovich Rezanov’s love for Maria Concepcion de Arguelio has transcended the

ages, as late as 1979 composer Alexei Rybnikov and poet Andrey Voznesensky wrote one of the first Russian rock operas, choosing the love affair of Rezanov and de Arguelio as their subject and naming he opera after two of Rezanov’s ships, Juno and Avos, since that time the opera was still being performed to standing ovations as of 2007. End of Part One

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