Fort Ross, California
Overview
 
Fort Ross is a former Russia
Russia
Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

n establishment on the Pacific Coast
Pacific Coast
A country's Pacific coast is the part of its coast bordering the Pacific Ocean.-The Americas:Countries on the western side of the Americas have a Pacific coast as their western border.* Geography of Canada* Geography of Chile* Geography of Colombia...

 in what is now Sonoma County, California
Sonoma County, California
Sonoma County, located on the northern coast of the U.S. state of California, is the largest and northernmost of the nine San Francisco Bay Area counties. Its population at the 2010 census was 483,878. Its largest city and county seat is Santa Rosa....

, in the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

. It was the hub of the southernmost Russian settlements in North America in between 1812 to 1841. It has been the subject of archaeological
Archaeology
Archaeology, or archeology , is the study of human society, primarily through the recovery and analysis of the material culture and environmental data that they have left behind, which includes artifacts, architecture, biofacts and cultural landscapes...

 investigation and is a designated National Historic Landmark
National Historic Landmark
A National Historic Landmark is a building, site, structure, object, or district, that is officially recognized by the United States government for its historical significance...

 and on the National Register of Historic Places
National Register of Historic Places
The National Register of Historic Places is the United States government's official list of districts, sites, buildings, structures, and objects deemed worthy of preservation...

, and in Fort Ross State Historic Park
Fort Ross State Historic Park
Fort Ross State Historic Park is a protected historic site in the U.S. state of California. It includes Fort Ross, the former Russian settlement, with the surrounding area comprising the immediate coastline and the native Coast Redwood forests extending inland.-Fort Ross:Fort Ross was founded by...

.

Fort Ross is a landmark in the history of European imperialism. The Spanish expansion
Spanish colonization of the Americas
Colonial expansion under the Spanish Empire was initiated by the Spanish conquistadores and developed by the Monarchy of Spain through its administrators and missionaries. The motivations for colonial expansion were trade and the spread of the Christian faith through indigenous conversions...

 went west across the Atlantic Ocean
Atlantic Ocean
The Atlantic Ocean is the second-largest of the world's oceanic divisions. With a total area of about , it covers approximately 20% of the Earth's surface and about 26% of its water surface area...

 and the Russian expansion
Russian colonization of the Americas
The Russian colonization of the Americas covers the period, from 1732 to 1867, when the Tsarist Imperial Russian Empire laid claim to northern Pacific Coast territories in the Americas...

 went east across Siberia
Siberia
Siberia is an extensive region constituting almost all of Northern Asia. Comprising the central and eastern portion of the Russian Federation, it was part of the Soviet Union from its beginning, as its predecessor states, the Tsardom of Russia and the Russian Empire, conquered it during the 16th...

 and the Pacific Ocean
Pacific Ocean
The Pacific Ocean is the largest of the Earth's oceanic divisions. It extends from the Arctic in the north to the Southern Ocean in the south, bounded by Asia and Australia in the west, and the Americas in the east.At 165.2 million square kilometres in area, this largest division of the World...

.
Encyclopedia
Fort Ross is a former Russia
Russia
Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

n establishment on the Pacific Coast
Pacific Coast
A country's Pacific coast is the part of its coast bordering the Pacific Ocean.-The Americas:Countries on the western side of the Americas have a Pacific coast as their western border.* Geography of Canada* Geography of Chile* Geography of Colombia...

 in what is now Sonoma County, California
Sonoma County, California
Sonoma County, located on the northern coast of the U.S. state of California, is the largest and northernmost of the nine San Francisco Bay Area counties. Its population at the 2010 census was 483,878. Its largest city and county seat is Santa Rosa....

, in the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

. It was the hub of the southernmost Russian settlements in North America in between 1812 to 1841. It has been the subject of archaeological
Archaeology
Archaeology, or archeology , is the study of human society, primarily through the recovery and analysis of the material culture and environmental data that they have left behind, which includes artifacts, architecture, biofacts and cultural landscapes...

 investigation and is a designated National Historic Landmark
National Historic Landmark
A National Historic Landmark is a building, site, structure, object, or district, that is officially recognized by the United States government for its historical significance...

 and on the National Register of Historic Places
National Register of Historic Places
The National Register of Historic Places is the United States government's official list of districts, sites, buildings, structures, and objects deemed worthy of preservation...

, and in Fort Ross State Historic Park
Fort Ross State Historic Park
Fort Ross State Historic Park is a protected historic site in the U.S. state of California. It includes Fort Ross, the former Russian settlement, with the surrounding area comprising the immediate coastline and the native Coast Redwood forests extending inland.-Fort Ross:Fort Ross was founded by...

.

Fort Ross is a landmark in the history of European imperialism. The Spanish expansion
Spanish colonization of the Americas
Colonial expansion under the Spanish Empire was initiated by the Spanish conquistadores and developed by the Monarchy of Spain through its administrators and missionaries. The motivations for colonial expansion were trade and the spread of the Christian faith through indigenous conversions...

 went west across the Atlantic Ocean
Atlantic Ocean
The Atlantic Ocean is the second-largest of the world's oceanic divisions. With a total area of about , it covers approximately 20% of the Earth's surface and about 26% of its water surface area...

 and the Russian expansion
Russian colonization of the Americas
The Russian colonization of the Americas covers the period, from 1732 to 1867, when the Tsarist Imperial Russian Empire laid claim to northern Pacific Coast territories in the Americas...

 went east across Siberia
Siberia
Siberia is an extensive region constituting almost all of Northern Asia. Comprising the central and eastern portion of the Russian Federation, it was part of the Soviet Union from its beginning, as its predecessor states, the Tsardom of Russia and the Russian Empire, conquered it during the 16th...

 and the Pacific Ocean
Pacific Ocean
The Pacific Ocean is the largest of the Earth's oceanic divisions. It extends from the Arctic in the north to the Southern Ocean in the south, bounded by Asia and Australia in the west, and the Americas in the east.At 165.2 million square kilometres in area, this largest division of the World...

. In the early nineteenth century, the two waves of expansion met on the opposite side of the world along the Pacific Coast
Pacific Coast
A country's Pacific coast is the part of its coast bordering the Pacific Ocean.-The Americas:Countries on the western side of the Americas have a Pacific coast as their western border.* Geography of Canada* Geography of Chile* Geography of Colombia...

 of California
California
California is a state located on the West Coast of the United States. It is by far the most populous U.S. state, and the third-largest by land area...

, Russia arriving from the north, and Spain from the south. The United States of America arrived in 1846 from the east.

Russian-American Company

Russian personnel from the Alaskan colonies initially arrived in California aboard American ships. In 1803 American ship captains already involved in the sea otter
Sea Otter
The sea otter is a marine mammal native to the coasts of the northern and eastern North Pacific Ocean. Adult sea otters typically weigh between 14 and 45 kg , making them the heaviest members of the weasel family, but among the smallest marine mammals...

 Maritime Fur Trade
Maritime Fur Trade
The Maritime Fur Trade was a ship-based fur trade system that focused on acquiring furs of sea otters and other animals from the indigenous peoples of the Pacific Northwest Coast and natives of Alaska. The furs were mostly sold in China in exchange for tea, silks, porcelain, and other Chinese...

 in California proposed several joint venture hunting expeditions to Alexander Andreyevich Baranov, on half shares using Russian supervisors and native Alaskan hunters to hunt fur seals and otters along the Alta and Baja Californian coast. Subsequent reports by the Russian hunting parties of uncolonized
Empire
The term empire derives from the Latin imperium . Politically, an empire is a geographically extensive group of states and peoples united and ruled either by a monarch or an oligarchy....

 stretches of coast encouraged Baranov, the Chief Administrator of the Russian-American Company
Russian-American Company
The Russian-American Company was a state-sponsored chartered company formed largely on the basis of the so-called Shelekhov-Golikov Company of Grigory Shelekhov and Ivan Larionovich Golikov The Russian-American Company (officially: Under His Imperial Majesty's Highest Protection (patronage)...

 (RAC), to consider a settlement in California north of the limit of Spanish occupation in San Francisco. In 1806 the Russian Ambassador to Japan, and RAC director N.P. Rezanov, undertook an exploratory trade mission to California to establish a formal means of procuring food supplies in exchange for Russian goods in San Francisco. While guests of the Spanish, Rezanov's captain, Lt. Khvostov, explored and charted the northern coast of San Francisco Bay and found it completely unoccupied (by Europeans). Upon his return to Sitka, Rezanov recommended to Baranov, and Emperor Aleksandr I, that a settlement be established in California.

Fort Ross was established by Commerce Counsellor Ivan Kuskov
Ivan Kuskov
Ivan Aleksandrovich Kuskov was the senior assistant to Aleksandr Baranov, the Chief Administrator of the Russian-American Company A native of Totma, Russia, he served in the RAC for 31 years, attaining the rank of Commerce Counselor and being awarded the gold medal "for zealous service" from...

 of the Russian-American Company
Russian-American Company
The Russian-American Company was a state-sponsored chartered company formed largely on the basis of the so-called Shelekhov-Golikov Company of Grigory Shelekhov and Ivan Larionovich Golikov The Russian-American Company (officially: Under His Imperial Majesty's Highest Protection (patronage)...

. In 1808 Baranov sent two ships, the Kodiak, and the St.Nikolai on an expedition south to establish settlements for the RAC, with instructions to bury "secret signs"(possession plaques). Kuskov, on the Kodiak, was instructed to bury the plaques, with an appropriate possession ceremony, at Trinidad, Bodega Bay, and the north shore of San Francisco, indicating Russian claims to the land. After sailing into Bodega Bay
Bodega Bay
Bodega Bay is a shallow, rocky inlet of the Pacific Ocean on the coast of northern California in the United States. It is approximately across and is located approximately northwest of San Francisco and west of Santa Rosa...

 in 1809 on the Kodiak and returning to Novo Arkhangelsk, Alaska, with beaver skins and 1,160 otter pelts, Baranov ordered Kuskov to return and establish an agricultural settlement in the area. After a failed attempt in 1811, Kuskov sailed the brig Chirikov back to Bodega Bay in March,1812, naming it Rumyantzev, in honor of the Russian Minister of Commerce, Count Nikolai Petrovich Rumyantzev
Nikolay Rumyantsev
Count Nikolai Petrovich Rumyantsev was Russia's Foreign Minister and Imperial Chancellor in the run-up to Napoleon's invasion of Russia...

. On his return Kuskov found American otter hunting ships, and otter now scarce in Bodega Bay. After exploring the area they ended up selecting a place 15 miles (24 km) north that the native Kashaya Pomo
Kashia Band of Pomo Indians of the Stewarts Point Rancheria
The Kashia Band of Pomo Indians of the Stewarts Point Rancheria is a federally recognized tribe of Pomo people in Sonoma County, California. They are also known as the Kashaya Pomo.-Reservation:...

 people called Mad shui nui or Metini. Metini, the seasonal home of the native Kashaya
Kashaya language
Kashaya is a name for a branch of Pomo people whose historical home is the Pacific Coastline of what is now Sonoma County, California, and also their severely endangered Pomoan language. The Pomoan languages have been classified as part of the Hokan language family, although this proposal is...

 Pomo people
Pomo people
The Pomo people are an indigenous peoples of California. The historic Pomo territory in northern California was large, bordered by the Pacific Coast to the west, extending inland to Clear Lake, and mainly between Cleone and Duncans Point...

, had a modest anchorage and abundant natural resources and would become the Russian settlement of Fortress Ross. The present name of Fort Ross appears first on a French chart published in 1842 by Eugene Duflot de Mofras, who visited California in 1840. The name of the fort is said to derive from the Russian word rus
Rus (name)
Originally, the name Rus referred to the people, the region, and the medieval states of the Rus' Khaganate and Kievan Rus' polities...

 or ros, the same root as the word "Russia"(Pоссия-Rossiya) and not from Scottish "Ross
Ross
Ross is a region of Scotland and a former mormaerdom, earldom, sheriffdom and county. The name Ross allegedly derives from a Gaelic word meaning a headland - perhaps a reference to the Black Isle. The Norse word for Orkney - Hrossay meaning horse island - is another possible origin. The area...

". According to William Bright
William Bright
William Bright was an American linguist who specialized in Native American and South Asian languages and descriptive linguistics....

, "Ross" is a poetic name for Russia in the Russian language.

Fort Ross was established as an agricultural base from which the northern settlements could be supplied with food and carry on trade with Alta California. Fort Ross itself was the hub of a number of smaller Russian settlements comprising what was called Krepost Ross ("Fortress Ross") on official documents and charts produced by the Company itself. Colony Ross referred to the entire area where Russians had settled. These settlements constituted the southernmost Russian colony in North America, and were spread over an area stretching from Point Arena
Point Arena, California
Point Arena is a small coastal city in Mendocino County, California, United States. Point Arena is located west of Hopland, at an elevation of 118 feet . The population was 449 at the 2010 census, down from 474 at the 2000 census, making it one of the smallest incorporated cities in the state...

 to Tomales Bay
Tomales Bay
Tomales Bay is a long narrow inlet of the Pacific Ocean in Marin County in northern California in the United States. It is approximately 15 miles long and averages nearly 1.0 miles wide, effectively separating the Point Reyes Peninsula from the mainland of Marin County. It is located...

. The colony included a port at Bodega Bay
Bodega Bay
Bodega Bay is a shallow, rocky inlet of the Pacific Ocean on the coast of northern California in the United States. It is approximately across and is located approximately northwest of San Francisco and west of Santa Rosa...

, which was called Port Rumyantsev, a sealing station on the Farallon Islands
Farallon Islands
The Farallon Islands, or Farallones , are a group of islands and sea stacks in the Gulf of the Farallones, off the coast of San Francisco, California, USA. They lie outside the Golden Gate and south of Point Reyes, and are visible from the mainland on clear days...

, 18 miles (29 km) out to sea from San Francisco, and a number of small farming communities, called "ranchos" including Chernykh, near present day Graton
Graton, California
Graton is an unincorporated town and census-designated place in west Sonoma County, California, United States. The population was 1,707 at the 2010 census. Graton's ZIP code is 95444.-Geography:...

, and Khlebnikov, a mile north of the present day town of Bodega in the Salmon Creek
Salmon Creek (Sonoma County, California)
Salmon Creek is an stream in western Sonoma County, California that springs from coastal hills west of the town of Occidental and empties into the Pacific Ocean north of Bodega Head.-Course:...

 valley, and Rancho Kostromitinov on the Russian River
Russian River (California)
The Russian River, a southward-flowing river, drains of Sonoma and Mendocino counties in Northern California. With an annual average discharge of approximately , it is the second largest river flowing through the nine county Greater San Francisco Bay Area with a mainstem 110 miles ...

.

Local enterprise

In addition to farming and manufacturing, the Company carried on its fur trading
Fur trade
The fur trade is a worldwide industry dealing in the acquisition and sale of animal fur. Since the establishment of world market for in the early modern period furs of boreal, polar and cold temperate mammalian animals have been the most valued...

 business at Fort Ross, but by 1817 sea otter in the area were practically eliminated after 20 years of intense hunting by American and English ships, followed by Russian and Spanish efforts.

Fort Ross was the site of California's first windmills and shipbuilding. Russian scientists associated with the colony were among the first to record California's cultural and natural history. The Russian managers were the first to introduce many European refinements such as glass windows, stoves, and all-wood housing into Alta California. Together with the surrounding settlement, Fort Ross was home to Russians
Russians
The Russian people are an East Slavic ethnic group native to Russia, speaking the Russian language and primarily living in Russia and neighboring countries....

 (during the 19th and early 20th century Russian subjects included Poles, Finns, Ukrainians
Ukrainians
Ukrainians are an East Slavic ethnic group native to Ukraine, which is the sixth-largest nation in Europe. The Constitution of Ukraine applies the term 'Ukrainians' to all its citizens...

, Estonians
Estonians
Estonians are a Finnic people closely related to the Finns and inhabiting, primarily, the country of Estonia. They speak a Finnic language known as Estonian...

, and numerous other nationalities and ethnic groups of the Russian Empire
Russian Empire
The Russian Empire was a state that existed from 1721 until the Russian Revolution of 1917. It was the successor to the Tsardom of Russia and the predecessor of the Soviet Union...

), as well as North Pacific Natives, Aleuts, Kashaya
Kashaya
Kashaya has several meanings, see:* Kāṣāya, the traditional monastic robes of Buddhist monks and nuns.* Kashaya language, a distinct Pomo language on the Sonoma County Coastline, California* The subgroup of Pomo people who spoke this language...

 (Pomo), and Creoles
Creole peoples
The term Creole and its cognates in other languages — such as crioulo, criollo, créole, kriolu, criol, kreyol, kreol, kriulo, kriol, krio, etc. — have been applied to people in different countries and epochs, with rather different meanings...

. The native populations of the Sonoma and Napa County regions were affected by smallpox
Smallpox
Smallpox was an infectious disease unique to humans, caused by either of two virus variants, Variola major and Variola minor. The disease is also known by the Latin names Variola or Variola vera, which is a derivative of the Latin varius, meaning "spotted", or varus, meaning "pimple"...

, measles
Measles
Measles, also known as rubeola or morbilli, is an infection of the respiratory system caused by a virus, specifically a paramyxovirus of the genus Morbillivirus. Morbilliviruses, like other paramyxoviruses, are enveloped, single-stranded, negative-sense RNA viruses...

 and other European diseases, one instance that can be traced to the settlement of Fort Ross. However, the first vaccination in California history was carried out by the crew of the Kutuzov, a Russian-American Company vessel arriving from Callao, Peru which brought vaccine to Monterey in August,1821. The Kutuzovs surgeon vaccinated 54 persons. Another instance of disease prevention was when a visiting Hudson's Bay Company
Hudson's Bay Company
The Hudson's Bay Company , abbreviated HBC, or "The Bay" is the oldest commercial corporation in North America and one of the oldest in the world. A fur trading business for much of its existence, today Hudson's Bay Company owns and operates retail stores throughout Canada...

 hunting party was refused entry to the Colony in 1833, when it was feared that a malaria epidemic which had devastated the Central Valley was carried by its members. In 1837 a very deadly epidemic of smallpox
Smallpox
Smallpox was an infectious disease unique to humans, caused by either of two virus variants, Variola major and Variola minor. The disease is also known by the Latin names Variola or Variola vera, which is a derivative of the Latin varius, meaning "spotted", or varus, meaning "pimple"...

 that came from this settlement via Sitka wiped out most native people in the Sonoma and Napa County regions.
By 1841 the settlement's agricultural importance had decreased considerably, the local population of fur-bearing marine mammal
Marine mammal
Marine mammals, which include seals, whales, dolphins, and walruses, form a diverse group of 128 species that rely on the ocean for their existence. They do not represent a distinct biological grouping, but rather are unified by their reliance on the marine environment for feeding. The level of...

s had been long depleted by international over-hunting, and the recently secularized California missions no longer supplemented the agricultural needs of the Alaskan colonies. Following the formal trade agreement in 1838 between the Russian-American Company in Sitka and Hudson's Bay Company at Fort Vancouver
Fort Vancouver
Fort Vancouver was a 19th century fur trading outpost along the Columbia River that served as the headquarters of the Hudson's Bay Company in the company's Columbia District...

 and Fort Langley for their agricultural needs, the settlement at Fort Ross was no longer needed to supply the Alaskan colonies with food. The Russian-American Company consequently offered the settlement to various potential purchasers, and it was sold to John Sutter
John Sutter
Johann Augus Sutter was a Swiss pioneer of California known for his association with the California Gold Rush by the discovery of gold by James W. Marshall and the mill making team at Sutter's Mill, and for establishing Sutter's Fort in the area that would eventually become Sacramento, the...

, a Mexican citizen of Swiss origin. Although the settlement was sold for a minuscule $30,000 to Sutter, Russian historians assert the sum was never paid; therefore, legal title of the settlement was never transferred to Sutter and still belongs to the Russian people. A recent Sutter biography however, asserts that Sutter's agent, Peter Burnett, paid the Russian-American Company agent William M.Steuart $19,788 in "notes and gold" on April 13th, 1849, thereby settling the outstanding debt for Fort Ross and Bodega.

20th century

Afterward, possession of Fort Ross passed from Sutter through successive private hands and finally to George W. Call. In 1903, the stockade and about 3 acres (12,140.6 m²) of land were purchased from the Call family by the California Historical Landmarks Commission
California Historical Landmark
California Historical Landmarks are buildings, structures, sites, or places in the state of California that have been determined to have statewide historical significance by meeting at least one of the criteria listed below:...

. Three years later it was turned over to the State of California for preservation and restoration as a state historic monument; since then, the state acquired more of the surrounding land for preservation purposes. California Department of Parks and Recreation as well as many volunteers put extensive efforts into restoration and reconstruction work in the Fort.

State Route 1
California State Route 1
State Route 1 , more often called Highway 1, is a state highway that runs along much of the Pacific coast of the U.S. state of California. It is famous for running along some of the most beautiful coastlines in the world, leading to its designation as an All-American Road.Highway 1 does not run...

 once bisected Fort Ross. It entered from the northeast where the Kuskov House once stood, and exited through the main gate to the southwest. The road was eventually diverted, and the parts of the fort that had been demolished for the road were rebuilt. The old roadway can still be seen going from the main gate to the northwest; the rest (within the fort and extending northeast) has been removed.

Most of the existing buildings on the site are reconstructions. Cooperative research efforts with Russian archives will help to correct interpretive errors present in structures that date from the Cold-War period. The only original structure remaining is the Rotchev House. Known as the "Commandant's House" from the 1940s through the 1970s,it was the residence of the last manager, Aleksandr Rotchev. Renovated in 1836 from an existing structure, it was titled the "new commandant's house" in the 1841 inventory to differentiate it from the "old commandant's house" (Kuskov House). The Rotchev House, or in original documents, "Administrator's House", is at the center of efforts to "re-interpret" Russia's part in California's colonial history. The Fort Ross Interpretive Association has received several federally funded grants to restore both exterior and interior elements. While its exterior has been partially restored, its interior is currently undergoing restoration to reflect the recent research that shows a more cosmopolitan and refined aspect of colonial life at the Fort.

The Fort Ross Chapel collapsed in the 1906 San Francisco earthquake
1906 San Francisco earthquake
The San Francisco earthquake of 1906 was a major earthquake that struck San Francisco, California, and the coast of Northern California at 5:12 a.m. on Wednesday, April 18, 1906. The most widely accepted estimate for the magnitude of the earthquake is a moment magnitude of 7.9; however, other...

 but much of the original structural woodwork remained and it was re-erected in 1916, but retained the appearance of the American ranch-period modifications when it was used as a stable. Several other restorations ensued, but none incorporated the information in Vosnesensky's 1841 water-colour which portray the chapel with copper-clad cupola and tower, and red-metal roof. It was destroyed by fire in October 1970. A few months later the roof of the Rotchev House was damaged by fire. The current chapel was built during the intensive restoration activity that followed, but retains the American ranch period appearance.

The Russian cemetery on an adjacent ridge has been cleared and the gravesites identified through non-destructive archaeological techniques, primarily soil
Soil
Soil is a natural body consisting of layers of mineral constituents of variable thicknesses, which differ from the parent materials in their morphological, physical, chemical, and mineralogical characteristics...

-resistivity
Resistivity
Electrical resistivity is a measure of how strongly a material opposes the flow of electric current. A low resistivity indicates a material that readily allows the movement of electric charge. The SI unit of electrical resistivity is the ohm metre...

. A large orchard
Orchard
An orchard is an intentional planting of trees or shrubs that is maintained for food production. Orchards comprise fruit or nut-producing trees which are grown for commercial production. Orchards are also sometimes a feature of large gardens, where they serve an aesthetic as well as a productive...

, including several original trees planted by the Russians, is located inland on Fort Ross Road in Sonoma County.

Fort Ross is now a part of Fort Ross State Historic Park
Fort Ross State Historic Park
Fort Ross State Historic Park is a protected historic site in the U.S. state of California. It includes Fort Ross, the former Russian settlement, with the surrounding area comprising the immediate coastline and the native Coast Redwood forests extending inland.-Fort Ross:Fort Ross was founded by...

, open to the public.

Colonial administrators

Ivan Alexandrovich Kuskov, a skillful Russian-American Company administrator, served for 22 years in Alaska. He was the founder of Fort Ross and was its colonial administrator from 1812 to 1821.

List of all administrators of the Fort Ross colony:
  • Ivan A. Kuskov, 1812–1821
  • Karl J. von Schmidt, 1821–1824
  • Paul I. Shelikhov, 1824–1830
  • Peter S. Kostromitinov, 1830–1838
  • Alexander G. Rotchev, 1838–1841

Derived place names

  • Along with its status as a National Historic Landmark
    National Historic Landmark
    A National Historic Landmark is a building, site, structure, object, or district, that is officially recognized by the United States government for its historical significance...

    , the fort itself and the surrounding area (the immediate coastline and the redwood forest some distance inland) are all included in a California State Park
    State park
    State parks are parks or other protected areas managed at the federated state level within those nations which use "state" as a political subdivision. State parks are typically established by a state to preserve a location on account of its natural beauty, historic interest, or recreational...

     under the name Fort Ross State Historic Park
    Fort Ross State Historic Park
    Fort Ross State Historic Park is a protected historic site in the U.S. state of California. It includes Fort Ross, the former Russian settlement, with the surrounding area comprising the immediate coastline and the native Coast Redwood forests extending inland.-Fort Ross:Fort Ross was founded by...

    .
  • Fort Ross also designates the small rural community that exists between the towns of Cazadero
    Cazadero, California
    Cazadero is an unincorporated town and census-designated place in western Sonoma County, California, United States with a population of 354 as of the 2010 Census. Nearby towns include Jenner, Annapolis, Stewart's Point, Duncans Mills, Villa Grande, Rio Nido, Guerneville, Monte Rio, and The Sea Ranch...

    , Jenner
    Jenner, California
    Jenner is a small coastal town and census-designated place with a population of about 136 in Sonoma County, California, U.S. It is located on the Pacific coast near the mouth of the Russian River. State Route 1 runs through the town and State Route 116 runs nearby, along the Russian River...

    , and Gualala
    Gualala, California
    Gualala is an unincorporated community in Mendocino County in the U.S. state of California. It is located southwest of Hopland, at an elevation of 49 feet . It is located on the Pacific coast at the mouth of the Gualala River, on State Route 1. It serves as a commercial center for the...

    , with the Fort Ross Elementary School at its center.

Timeline

  • Before the Europeans: the Kashaya Pomo at Metini (Fort Ross site) for centuries prior to the Russian arrival.
  • 1542-43: Juan Cabrillo visits San Diego, Farallon Islands, Cape Mendocino, Cape Blanco, Oregon.
  • 1579-1639: Russian frontiersmen penetrate eastward to Siberia and the Pacific.
  • 1602: S. Viscaino explores to the Columbia River region, naming the Farallon Islands, Point Reyes and the Rio Sebastian (present-day Russian River).
  • 1728: Vitus Bering and Alexei Chirikov explore Bering Strait.
  • 1741-42: Bering and Chirikov claim Russian America (Alaska) for Russia.
  • 1769: Gaspar de Portola traveling overland "discovers" San Francisco Bay.
  • 1775: Juan Francisco de la Bodega y Quadra anchors in outer Bodega Bay, trades with the local Indians.
  • 1784 — Russians Grigory Shelikov and his wife Natalia establish a base on Kodiak Island.
  • 1799 — Russian American Company (with manager Aleksandr Baranov) establishes Novo Archangelsk (New Archangel, now Sitka, Alaska).
  • 1806 — Nikolai Rezanov
    Nikolai Rezanov
    Nikolay Petrovich Rezanov 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 , and participated in the first Russian circumnavigation of the globe ,...

    , Imperial Ambassador to Japan and director of the Russian American Company, visits the Presidio of San Francisco.
  • 1806-1813: American ships bring Russians and Alaska Natives on 12 California fur hunts.
  • 1808-1811 — Ivan Kuskov
    Ivan Kuskov
    Ivan Aleksandrovich Kuskov was the senior assistant to Aleksandr Baranov, the Chief Administrator of the Russian-American Company A native of Totma, Russia, he served in the RAC for 31 years, attaining the rank of Commerce Counselor and being awarded the gold medal "for zealous service" from...

     lands in Bodega Bay (Port Rumiantsev), builds structures and hunts in the region.
  • 1812 — March 15, Ivan Kuskov with 25 Russians and 80 Native Alaskans arrives at Port Rumiantsev and proceeds north to establish Fortress Ross.
  • 1816 — Russian exploring expedition led by Captain Otto von Kotzebue
    Otto von Kotzebue
    Otto von Kotzebue was a Baltic German navigator in Russian service....

     visits California with naturalists Adelbert von Chamisso
    Adelbert von Chamisso
    Adelbert von Chamisso was a German poet and botanist.- Life :He was born Louis Charles Adélaïde de Chamissot at the château of Boncourt at Ante, in Champagne, France, the ancestral seat of his family...

    , Johann Friedrich von Eschscholtz
    Johann Friedrich von Eschscholtz
    Johann Friedrich Eschscholtz was a Livonian physician, botanist, zoologist and entomologist.Eschscholtz was born in Dorpat , Governorate of Livonia in the Russian Empire...

    , and artist Louis Choris
    Louis Choris
    Louis Choris was a famous German-Russian painter and explorer. He was one of the first sketch artists for expedition research. Louis Choris, who was a Russian of German stock, was born in Yekaterinoslav on March 22, 1795...

    .
  • 1817 — Chief Administrator Captain Leonty Gagemeister conducts treaty with local tribal chiefs for possession of property near Fortress Ross. First such treaty conducted with native peoples in California.
  • 1818 — The Rumiantsev, first of four ships built at Fortress Ross. The Buldakov, Volga and Kiahtha follow, as well as several longboats.
  • 1821 — Russian Imperial decree gives Native Alaskans and Creoles civil rights protected by law
  • 1836 — Fr.Veniaminov (St.Innocent)
    Innocent of Alaska
    Saint Innocent of Alaska , also known as Saint Innocent of Moscow was a Russian Orthodox priest, bishop, archbishop and Metropolitan of Moscow and all Russia. He is known for his missionary work, scholarship and leadership in Alaska and the Russian Far East during the 19th century...

     visits Fort Ross, conducts services, and carries out census.
  • 1841 — Rotchev sells Fort Ross and accompanying land to John Sutter
    John Sutter
    Johann Augus Sutter was a Swiss pioneer of California known for his association with the California Gold Rush by the discovery of gold by James W. Marshall and the mill making team at Sutter's Mill, and for establishing Sutter's Fort in the area that would eventually become Sacramento, the...

    .
  • 1903: California Landmarks League purchases the 2.5 acres (10,117.2 m²) fort property from George W. Call for $3000.
  • 1906: The fort is deeded to what becomes the California State Parks Commission.
  • 1906, April 18: California's major historical earthquake causes considerable damage to the buildings of the fort compound.
  • 1916 — Fort Ross is partially restored.
  • 1970 — A fire at Fort Ross again nearly destroys the former settlement.
  • 1971 — Fort Ross is once again only partially restored.
  • 1974 — Restored Fort Ross officially reopened.
  • 2010 — The Rotchev House is opened as a house museum
  • 2010 — Memorandum of Agreement signed in San Francisco between the State of California and Renova Group
    Renova Group
    Renova Group is a large Russian conglomerate with interests in aluminium, oil, energy, telecoms and a variety of other sectors. The main owner and president is Viktor Vekselberg....

    ,a Russian enterpreneurial company, whereby the Russian company undertakes to fund the continuing upkeep and operation of Fort Ross

Buildings

Kuskov House, located in the mid-eastern area of the fort, was the residence of Ivan Kuskov and the other managers up to Alexander Rotchev.
Rotchev House, located in the northwest area of the fort, was where Alexander Rotchev, the last manager of Fort Ross, lived with his family. Built circa 1836, it is the only remaining original building.
Officials' Quarters, located in the mid-western area of the fort near the gate.
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Two blockhouses stand at opposite corners of the stockade. The first one pictured here is at the northeast; the second at the southwest.
The Holy Trinity Chapel, located at the southeast corner of the fort, is incorporated into the stockade. This reconstruction sees occasional use by local Russian Orthodox groups, as shown here in a picture from the 1950s.

Climate

The National Weather Service
National Weather Service
The National Weather Service , once known as the Weather Bureau, is one of the six scientific agencies that make up the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration of the United States government...

 has maintained a cooperative weather station at Fort Ross for many years. Based on those observations, Fort Ross has cool, damp weather most of the year. Fog and low overcast is common throughout the year. There are occasional warm days in the summer, which also tend to be relatively dry except for drizzle from heavy fogs or passing showers.

In January, average temperatures range from 57 °F (13.9 °C) to 41.5 °F (5.3 °C). In July, average temperatures range from 66.3 °F (19.1 °C) to 47.8 °F (8.8 °C). September is actually the warmest month with average temperatures ranging from 68.1 °F (20.1 °C) to 48.7 °F (9.3 °C). There are an average of only 0.2 days with highs of 90 °F (32 °C) or higher and 5.8 days with lows of 32 °F (0 °C) or lower. The record high temperature was 97 °F (36.1 °C) on September 3, 1950. The record low temperature was 20 °F (-6.7 °C) on December 8, 1972.

Average annual precipitation is 37.64 inches (956.1 mm), falling on an average of 81 days each year. The wettest year was 1983 with 71.27 inches (1.8 m) and the driest year was 1976 with 17.98 inches (456.7 mm). The wettest month on record was February 1998 with 21.68 inches (550.7 mm). The most rainfall in 24 hours was 5.7 inches (144.8 mm) on January 14, 1956. Snow rarely falls at Fort Ross; the record snowfall was 0.4 inches (10.2 mm) on December 30, 1987.

Popular culture

Fort Ross serves as the backdrop in the short story "Facts Relating to the Arrest of Dr. Kalugin
Black Projects, White Knights
Black Projects, White Knights is a collection of short stories written by Kage Baker and published by small-press science fiction publisher Golden Gryphon Press, assembling various short stories set in the universe of The Company series, which comprises the bulk of her published fiction...

," part of Kage Baker
Kage Baker
Kage Baker was an American science fiction and fantasy writer.- Biography :Baker was born in Hollywood, California and lived there and in Pismo Beach most of her life. Before becoming a professional writer she spent many years in theater, including teaching Elizabethan English as a second language...

's series of science fiction
Science fiction
Science fiction is a genre of fiction dealing with imaginary but more or less plausible content such as future settings, futuristic science and technology, space travel, aliens, and paranormal abilities...

 stories concerning "The Company
Dr. Zeus Inc.
Dr. Zeus Inc., also known simply as The Company, is a fictional entity in a series of time travel science fiction stories by Kage Baker....

."

See also


Images


External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
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