Rezanov, Nikolai Petrovich

Rezanov, Nikolai Petrovich

(nyĭkəlī` pētrô`vîch ryĕzä`nəf), 1764–1807, Russian trader, an official of the Russian American CompanyRussian American Company,
colonial trading company, chartered by Czar Paul I in 1799. The charter granted the merchant-dominated company monopoly trading privileges in Russian America, which included the Aleutian Islands, Alaska, and the territory down to 55° N lat.
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. In 1803 he headed an expedition that aimed to go around the world, opening trade with foreign countries and expanding Russia's Pacific empire. Failing in most of his attempts, he finally sailed to Russian America, where he found (1805) the settlement at Sitka, Alaska, in desperate need of food. He sailed to California to obtain supplies, and reached (1806) what is today San Francisco. He succeeded in his mission partly because of a romantic attachment to Doña Concepción, daughter of the Spanish commandant, José Darío Argüello. He brought the supplies to Sitka but died while traveling across Russia during his return trip.


See O. Matthews, Glorious Misadventures (2013).

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Rezanov, Nikolai Petrovich


Born Mar. 28 (Apr. 8), 1764, in St. Petersburg; died Mar. 1 (13), 1807, in Krasnoiarsk. Russian state figure. Honorary member of the St. Petersburg Academy of Sciences (1803).

Rezanov was one of the founders of the Russian American Company. In 1799 he was appointed correspondent of the company but actually functioned as a governmental inspector in charge of the company’s operations. He later headed the company’s administrative board, which was transferred from Irkutsk to St. Petersburg in 1800. He helped organize I. F. Kruzenshtern’s and Iu. F. Lisianskii’s expedition around the world in 1803. On July 27, 1803, Rezanov departed with the expedition as a plenipotentiary envoy charged with establishing trade relations with Japan. During his journey he kept a diary and compiled A Dictionary of the Japanese Language and A Guide to Knowledge of the Japanese Language. He stayed in Japan from Sept. 26, 1804, to Apr. 6, 1805, but his mission was unsuccessful because of the opposition of the Japanese government. After visiting Russian settlements in America, Rezanov returned to Russia by way of Okhotsk. He died on the way to St. Petersburg.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.