Nikolai Petrovich Rezanov was born in St. Petersburg in 1764 to an impoverished noble family. He received a very good education at home, he knew five foreign languages. As it was supposed to be a nobleman, he entered military service, artillery. Then he was transferred to the Izmailovsky Life Guards Regiment for “statehood, dexterity and beauty”. However, according to rumors, Catherine II herself contributed to this: during her trip to the Crimea, Rezanov, who was then only 16 years old, was responsible for the safety of the Empress. Then, most likely, as a result of palace intrigues, he disappeared from St. Petersburg for a long time, being in Pskov. But then he was unexpectedly summoned to the capital and given the position of the head of the office by the vice-president of the Admiralty College, Count Ivan Chernyshev. Then Rezanov serves as chief secretary of the governing senate. At that time he was instructed to draw up a “Charter for workshops” and establish the layout of the land collection in St. Petersburg and Moscow. For this work, he was awarded the Order of St. Anne II degree and a pension in 2000 rubles per year.
It seemed that fortune smiled at him again, but the then young favorite of Catherine Platon Zubov considered Rezanova a dangerous competitor and drove his rival to Irkutsk. He was entrusted with the inspection of the activities of the company Shelikhov, "Kolumba Rossky", the founder of the first Russian settlements in America. The inspection ended with Rezanov marrying the daughter of Shelikhov, Anna Grigorievna, whom he passionately loved.
That she remained for him forever the only lover until the end of days - in contrast to the romantic version of the authors of the popular musical.
Soon Shelikhov died, and Nikolai Petrovich became the co-owner of all his huge capital. News of the death of Catherine came from St. Petersburg, then Rezanov hurried to the capital. The new emperor, Pavel, agreed with his proposal to create, on the basis of the capital of the late Shelikhov, a “Russian-American Company”, which members of the imperial family also became shareholders. Rezanov himself is already a count, a chamberlain of the court, a gentleman of the Order of the Maltese Cross, commander of which was Paul himself. However, these successes Rezanov was overshadowed by the tragedy: his adorable Annushka died of fever.
On her grave, the inconsolable husband ordered the inscription to be written: “The chief prosecutor of the Senate, the chief prosecutor and holder of Nikolai Petrovich Rezanov’s wife, Anna Grigorievna, born Shelikhova, was buried here. Born 1780 of the year February 15 day. I moved to the eternal bliss of October 18 of the day 1802 of the year, leaving her husband with small children Peter of one year and three months and her daughter, Olga, for twelve days in indescribable sorrow of her husband ”
Rezanov himself wrote about his wife: “Eight years of our matrimony gave me a taste of all the happiness of this life, as if to lose her poison, at last for the rest of my days.” The inconsolable widower was ready to give up everything and retire to the village. But the new emperor, Alexander I, did not want to resign him, but appointed him as the first Russian envoy to faraway Japan - to establish trade between the two countries.
It was decided to send the embassy on the Nadezhda and Neva ships together with the first Russian round-the-world expedition under the command of Admiral Ivan Kruzenshtern. But the admiral was not aware of the mission of Rezanov and his special powers, and a tense relationship arose between the seaman and the land earl with an important diplomatic mission, each of them considered himself to be an expedition leader. In the end, they fell out so badly that they only communicated using notes. After another scandal, Rezanov closed in the cabin and never left it until the arrival in Petropavlovsk. The local governor with great difficulty managed to reconcile them.
In September 1804 of the year “Nadezhda” - “Neva” followed another route - arrived at the port of Nagasaki. At that time, the inhabitants of the “forbidden” country were not allowed to enter the harbor for the whole world, and Krusenstern anchored in the bay.
Nonetheless, Rezanov himself was allowed to go ashore, was given a luxurious palace for living, and was told to wait for a response from the emperor.
The answer came only six months later: the Mikado refused to accept the envoy, stating that he was not going to trade with Russia, and demanded that the Russian ship leave Japan immediately. The Rezanova mission failed, but a new order came from St. Petersburg: to inspect the Russian settlements in Alaska.
Upon arrival, Rezanov found that Russian colonists were literally dying of starvation. Products they were transported across Siberia, and they often came spoiled. Rezanov bought two ships, the Yunona and Avos, and went with them to California for groceries. But at the same time - to establish trade relations with the Spaniards, who at that time belonged to this fertile region.
In March, 1806, Yunona dropped anchors in the San Francisco Bay. The Spaniards were at that time allies of Napoleon, the French at any time could start a war. That is why the Russians were greeted without enthusiasm and at first they were denied food supplies. It was here that Count Rezanov showed all his diplomatic abilities and natural charm. He managed to win over the governor of Upper California, José Arillago, as well as the commandant of San Francisco fortress, José Dario Arguello. The warming of relations was especially promoted by his acquaintance with Donna Maria de la Concepcion Marcella Arguello, or simply Conchita, the daughter of the commandant, which became the basis of the plot of the poem by Andrei Voznesensky and then the musical.
According to the memoirs of contemporaries, Conchita was distinguished by cheerfulness, dazzling smile, flexible camp and natural kindness.
Dr. Georg Langsdorf, Rezanov's personal physician, describes her in his diary as follows: “She stands out with a magnificent posture, her features are beautiful and expressive, her eyes are enchanting. Add to this an elegant figure, wonderful natural curls, wonderful teeth and thousands of other delights. Such beautiful women can be found only in Italy, Portugal or Spain, but this is very rare. ”
Not surprisingly, after some time, Nikolai Petrovich made a proposal to the girl. The potential suitor was already 42 of the year. In addition, Conchita was a Catholic, and Rezanov was Orthodox, and permission was needed for marriage. For the count - from the emperor, and for Conchita - from the Pope himself. Rather, Rezanov’s plans were different.
Dr. Langsdorf commented on it this way: “Still, justice must be paid to Ober Chamberlain von Rezanov, for all his shortcomings, he still has great administrative skills. And not all human is alien to him. One would think that he immediately fell in love with this young Spanish beauty. However, in view of the inherent diligence of this cold man, it will be more cautious to admit that he simply had some diplomatic views on her. ”
But the engagement did take place.
It is not excluded that the parents of the Spaniard were tempted by the idea of intermarrying with the nobleman from the powerful Russia, but the girl fell in love with the handsome Russian by the ears.
Products for Alaska began to be brought to the Russian ships in large quantities. In June, Rezanov left hospitable California, loading solid food stocks for the Russian colony in Alaska: 2156 pounds of wheat, 351 pounds of barley, 560 pounds of legumes. A month later, the ships arrived in Novo-Arkhangelsk.
On departure, Nikolai Petrovich promised the young Conchita to return soon. But romantic love, at least from Rezanov, was not here ... Documents eloquently testify to this. He informed his chief, the Minister of Commerce, Count Nikolai Rumyantsev: “Every day, courtesy of the beauty of Gishpan, offered him a hand and received consent. Putting myself to the commandant for the appearance of a close relative, I was already managing the fort of Catholic Majesty as my benefit demanded, and the governor himself, so to speak, was visiting me. Missions on the break began to bring bread and in such quantity that I asked to stop the carriage. ”
And to his brother-in-law, Mikhail Bulgakov, he wrote to St. Petersburg even more frankly: “From my Californian report, do not consider me, my friend, anemone. My love is with you, in the Alexander Nevsky Monastery, buried under a piece of marble (his wife Anna Grigorievna — V. M.). The Concepsion is sweet as an angel, good, loves me, but there is no place for her in my heart, here I, my friend, like a sinner in spirit, repent. ”
Historians point out the extraordinary versatility of the knowledge and interests of Nikolai Petrovich.
He keeps a travel diary, he is literally interested in everything: the nature of the visited lands, people, their life and customs, the development prospects of the territories they have seen and the possible benefits of their development for Russia.
For talks in the Land of the Rising Sun, he began to learn the language of the country and even compiled the Dictionary of the Japanese Language and the Guide to Knowledge of the Japanese Language. While in California, Rezanov also spoke Spanish. The grandee and the statesman, he becomes also a clever businessman, well-versed in market conditions. He may have become the first to understand and intend to put into practice the idea of the Russian possessions in California, understanding the great future of this continent.
At that time, the territories lying north of the San Francisco Bay, in accordance with the agreement signed by England, Spain and Russia, were considered free. Rezanov realized that Spain is its own colonies in Northern California, and is ready to negotiate their future fate. He wrote to the directors of the Russian-American Company: “Little by little, we can go further south to the port of San Francisco. For ten years, to the extent it is possible to intensify, as the California coast can always be in this form, so that at the slightest coincidence of circumstances it could be included in the number of Russian accessories. The gishpans are very weak at this edge. ”
According to the instructions of Rezanov, the ruler of Russian America, Alexander Baranov, sent detachments of his people south to find a suitable place. In the 1812 year, after the graph’s departure, he was found, on March 15, a detachment under the command of Ivan Kuskov set about building the settlement. It turned out a small fortress and several houses outside. The population consisted of about a hundred Russian industrial people and a handful of Aleutian hunters. The fortress was named Fort Ross.
The American admiral Van Derse later, not without reason, stated: "If the Rezans lived ten years longer, what we call California and American British Colombia would be Russian territory."
Indeed, if Nikolay Petrovich succeeded in marrying Conchita, even if it was a marriage of convenience, this plan would indeed have been implemented.
That is why Rezanov feverishly hurried. In a letter to Bulgakov he confessed: “I don’t know how you will accept my plan, I did not spare my life for him”. Already in September, 1806, the count reached Okhotsk. Autumn thaw began, cold weather, mud, it was dangerous to go further, but he continued to race along the “difficult path by riding”. I slept right in the snow, fell into the water several times, caught a cold and lain in the fever of 12 days, but as soon as I woke up, I set off again. However, his strength was already left, the exhausted traveler fell from his horse, having hit hard. He was taken to Krasnoyarsk, where Rezanov died on March 1 1807 at the age of just 42 years. The metric book of the Resurrection Cathedral Church of Krasnoyarsk reads: “Confessed and attached. Buried at the cathedral church. "
In his farewell letter, Rezanov wrote: “Patriotism forced all my powers to wear out with the hope that they would understand and properly appreciate; I sailed the seas like a duck; suffered from hunger, cold, at the same time from resentment and still twice from my heart wounds. "
As they say, Conchita remained faithful to the bridegroom from far away Russia. She waited for him, went to the cape every morning, sat on the rocks and looked at the ocean.
Now at this place the support of the famous Golden Gate Bridge. And when she learned about the death of her lover, she decided to go to the monastery, where she died in 1857 year.
In 2000, in Krasnoyarsk, at the alleged burial site Rezanov - the grave at the church in Soviet times was lost - a monument was erected at the Trinity cemetery. This is a white cross, on one side of which is written “Nikolai Petrovich Rezanov. 1764 — 1807. I will never see you ", and below -" Maria Concepcion de Arguello. 1791 — 1857. I will never forget you". Here came the sheriff of the city of Monterrey, where she died, and dispelled a handful of earth from the grave of Conchita over the grave. He took a handful of Krasnoyarsk land back - for her.
Fort Ross long passed from hand to hand and, eventually, became a tourist destination. The ruler’s house, the chapel, the corner towers and the embrasures for cannons have survived to this day. One of the three hills around which San Francisco, California’s pearl, is located is called Russian Hill. To the north is the town of Sebastopol, that is, Sevastopol. So thanks to Count Rezanov, Russia could well have some sort of another blooming “Crimea”. And one more Sevastopol at the other end of the world ...
Rezanov himself wanted much more than just personal happiness. I wanted to give Russia California.