Russian American Company

Russian 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. (a second charter, granted in 1821, extended its domain to 51°); one third of all profits were to go to the czar. Under Aleksandr BaranovBaranov, Aleksandr Andreyevich
, 1747–1819, Russian trader, chief figure in the period of Russian control in Alaska. When his Siberian business faltered, Baranov accepted (1790) an offer to become managing agent of a Russian fur-trading company on Kodiak Island.
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, who governed the region (1800–1818), a permanent settlement was established at Sitka and a thriving fur trade organized. The company failed, however, in its intention to create a large, settled population of Russians. The inhospitable climate, persistent shortages of food and supplies, and the unwillingness of the czar to send serfs to North America kept the colony weak and small. In the 1840s, as the profits from the fur trade began to decline, the czarist government took control of the Russian-American Company from the merchants. The company was officially dissolved in 1867 when Alaska was sold to the United States.
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References in periodicals archive ?
She accompanied Shelikhov on his conquest of Kodiak between 1783 and 1786 and played a key role in securing the approval of the Russian American Company (RAC) as a monopolistic trading company in 1799 after Shelikhov's death in 1795, as has long been acknowledged.
Located on a shelf overlooking Bodega Bay, its mission was to serve as a trading post for the Russian American Company (RAC) in support of sea otter hunting off the coast of California and the supply of agricultural produce sorely needed by RAC employees in Alaska.
The others--Jan pieterszoon Coen (Dutch East India Trading Company), Pieter Stuyvesant (Dutch West India Company), and Meksandr Baranov (Russian American Company)--have had less written about them.
These ideals were translated intosuch practical applications as a temporary shelter for indigent natives in Sitka paid for by Company funds, as well as hospitals, orphanages and schools sponsored by the Russian American Company. The first school in Russian-America was established in Kodiak in 1784, and with several modifications enrolled a hundred boys and sixteen girls by 1807.
He includes valuable summations of the chronology of trade goods--such as guns, canisters, flat glass, and nails--that were making their way into the Yukon in the 19th century, from Hudson's Bay Company, Russian American Company, and Alaska Commercial Company sources.

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