With encouragement from Empress Catherine the Great, fur trader Gregor Shelikov began the Russian American Company. He started the first permanent Russian settlement in North America at Three Saints Bay on Kodiak Island in 1784. There his wife began a school to teach the Natives how to speak Russian and to learn the basics of Christianity. Shelikov instructed one of his men to erect a series of trading posts "in a southerly direction to California, establishing everywhere marks of Russian possession." The Russian Orthodox Church founded its first mission in Alaska in 1794 but Russian attempts to create a monopoly in the North Pacific fur trade were unsuccessful. Fearful that Great Britain would overrun its possessions in North America, Russia decided to sell Alaska to the United States for 7.2 million dollars in 1867, as negotiated by U.S. Secretary of State William H. Seward. Alaska became the 49th sovereign state in the United States of America in 1959. There are many books about Russian expansion from Siberia to Alaska, a three-century story in which Shelikov is one of the most influential characters.


Müller, Gerhard Friedrich. Voyages from Asia to America, for Completing the Discoveries of the North West Coast of America. Translated by T. Jefferys (London: 1761)

H.H. Bancroft's History of Alaska (San Francisco, 1887)

Golder, Frank A. Russian Expansion in the Pacific, 1641-1850 (Cleveland: Arthur H. Clark, 1914)

F.A. Golder's Bering's Voyages (two volumes; New York: American Geographical Society, 1922 and 1925)
Hector Chevigny's Russian America: The Great Alaskan Venture 1741-1867 (New York: Viking Press, 1965).

Michael, Henry N. Lieutenant Zagoskin's Travels in Russian America, 1842-1844. The First Ethnographic and Geographic Investigations in the Yukon and Kuskokwin Valleys of Alaska. Arctic Institute of North American Anthropology of the North: Translations from Russian Sources 7. (University of Toronto Press, 1967)

Huculak, M. When Russia Was In America (Mitchell Press, 1971).

Fisher, Raymond H. Bering's Voyages: Whither and Why (University of Washington Press, 1977)

The Voyage of Semen Dezhnev in 1648: Bering's Precursor (Hakluyt Society, 1981)

Barratt, Glynn. Russia in Pacific Waters, 1715-1825 (UBC Press, 1981)

Müller, Gerhard Friedrich. Bering's Voyages: The Reports from Russia. Translation of Nachricten von Seareisen. St. Petersburg: 1758 (University of Alaska Press, 1986). By Carol Furness.

Dmytryshyn, Basil, E.A. P. Crownhart-Vaughan, Thomas Vaughan (editors, translators). Russian Penetration of the North Pacific Ocean. To Siberia and Russian America. Three Centuries of Russian Eastern Expansion 1700-1797. (Eugene: Oregon Historical Society Press, 1988)

Divin, Vasili A. The Great Russian Navigator, A.I. Chirikov. Translated by Raymond H. Fisher. (University of Alaska Press, 1993)

[Alan Twigg / BCBW 2003] "1700-1800" "Russian"