Russian-American Company

Also found in: Wikipedia.

Russian-American Company


a trading company established in Russia on July 8(19), 1799, for the purpose of developing Russian America and the Kuril and other islands.

The Russian-American Company’s board of directors, initially located in Irkutsk, was moved to St. Petersburg in 1800. The company received exclusive rights to all natural resources within the lands under its authority. It also received the right to organize expeditions, settle newly discovered lands, and trade with neighboring countries. It established a number of permanent settlements in Russian America, as well as shipyards, workshops, and other enterprises. From 1804 to 1840, with the assistance of the Russian government, it organized 25 expeditions, including 15 circumnavigations (for example, by I. F. Kruzenshtern and Iu. F. Lisianskii); it explored Alaska and helped colonize the island of Sakhalin and the Amur River region.

From 1824 the Russian-American Company’s board of directors was located at 72 Moika in St. Petersburg. The Northern Society of Decembrists often held its meetings here. K. F. Ryleev, the company’s director in 1824 and 1825, also lived in this building.

Throughout its existence, the Russian-American Company sponsored geographic and ethnographic studies of Russian America—for example, by M. D. Teben’kov, V. S. Khromchenko, A. K. Etolin, A. F. Kashevarov, L. A. Zagoskin, and I. G. Voznesenskii. It helped introduce grain and vegetable cultivation and cattle breeding in several areas. Its activities were complicated by competition with English and American entrepreneurs over control of local markets. The Russian-American Company was dissolved in 1868 in connection with the sale of Russian possessions to the United States.


Tikhmenev, P. Istoricheskoe obozrenie obrazovaniia Rossiisko-amerikanskoi kompanii i deistvii ee do nastoiashchego vremeni, parts 1–2. St. Petersburg, 1861–63.
Okun’, S. B. Rossiisko-amerikanskaia kompaniia. Moscow-Leningrad, 1939.
K istorii Rossiisko-amerikanskoi kompanii (Sb. dokumental’nykh materialov). Krasnoiarsk, 1957.
Bolkhovitinov, N. N. Stanovlenie russko-amerikanskikh otnoshenii, 1775–1815. Moscow, 1966.
Bolkhovitinov, N. N. Russko-amerikanskie otnosheniia, 1815–1832. Moscow, 1975.
References in periodicals archive ?
Even with ice trade, the Russian-American Company saw its profits continue to sag.
This book details the lives of three governors' wives, Elisabeth von Wrangell, Margaretha Etholeen, and Anna Furuhjelm, in Russian colonies led by the Russian-American Company in Alaska in the 19th century.
Seventeen-ninety-nine not only saw the replacement of the leadership of the Novorossiisk colony and the founding of Fort Mikhailovskii on Sitka Island recommended, but also the final formation of the monopoly of the Russian-American Company (RAC), which emerged as a result of the merger of the N.
Many would find employment with the Russian-American Company and, like their forefathers before them, labour in the fur trade.
Most worked for the state-sponsored trading concern called the Russian-American Company, which had a monopoly on exploiting Alaska's vast resources.
They moved into Siberia and Kamchatka, then crossed the straits into Alaska, and from there the Russian-American Company turned southward.
Hoping to dominate the trading of sea-otter pelts and other goods, the Russian-American Company under Alexander Baranov established an outpost in Sitka Sound in 1799.
Paul, one of Alaska's Pribilof Islands, and there encountered Aleut people who had endured serfdom for ever a century, first from the Russian-American Company and then by US companies and government agencies to harvest fur seals.
The appearance of the General San Martin in Russian waters marked the beginning of a growing concern by the Russian-American Company over their near monopoly of trade in the region, and in 1821 Russia prohibited all foreign merchant ships from trading in the Russian colonies in the North Pacific, a prohibition not easily enforced.
That same year, thanks to the exertions of a self-interested Russian nobleman, Nicolai Petrovich Rezanov, an Imperial ukaz was issued establishing the Russian-American Company and effectively giving Baranov monopoly rights to "occupy lands they discover and claim them as Russian possessions" [p.
In March 1867 he conferred secretly with Russian Ambassador Edouard de Stoeckl, and they eventually agreed on a price - $7 million plus another $200,000 to help the Russian-American Company close out its contract obligations with the Hudson Bay Company.
In Rossiisko-amerikanskaia kompaniia: Deiatel'nost' na otechestvennora i zarubezhnom rynkakh, Petrov has produced a financial history of the Russian-American Company (aka the Company or the RAC) from its origin to its liquidation (1799-1867).

Full browser ?