Military Review

Expedition of Ivan Kuskov

Cancer Promotion in California

After N.P. Rezanov visited California at Yunon and established diplomatic contacts with the Spaniards, the Russians continued to move south. Baranov continued mutually beneficial cooperation with the Americans. In 1806, three American ships were fishing for sea otters off the coast of California, using Kodiak's Hypericums, identified by Baranov.

At the same time, under the contract for fishing in New Albion, the third ship “Peacock” by Oliver Kimball was given a small batch of 12 kayaks led by T. Tarakanov. Unlike previous expeditions, Bodega Bay, north of San Francisco, outside the territory, colonized by the Spaniards, was chosen as the base. The stay of Tarakanov’s party in Bodega Bay in 1807 was the beginning of the preparation of the Russian colonization of this region. It was then that the first geographical information was obtained about it, the first experience of colonization (temporary) was made, and, apparently, the first contacts with local Indians were established.

Thus, concluding similar contracts with the Americans, Baranov took the initiative, not authorized by the Main Board of the Russian-American company, and took a certain risk.

Later, being actually recognized by the Main Board of the Cancer Society, the practice of joint fishing expeditions, beneficial to both Baranov and the Americans, became common. The initiators in this case were the Americans. The presence of Aleut hunters gave them the opportunity to create a line of fishing bases, far from the Spanish settlements, where the seals were hunted. Although Mr. Baranov begins to send his own ships to California from 1808, he does not refuse from the contract system, which was beneficial for CANCER. Only after the founding of Ross, the contract system, which brought significant benefits to both parties, gave way to an independent RAK fishery.

As a result, the fishing expeditions of O'Kane-Shvetsov (1803-1804), Winship-Slobodchikov and Kimball-Tarakanov (1806-1807) became the prologue of the Russian colonization of California, providing the Russians with the necessary information about the distant land and the first experience of living there, contacts with natives, economic activities in California.

Expedition of Ivan Kuskov

Ruler of Russian America Alexander Andreevich Baranov

Expedition I. Kuskova 1808 — 1809

When the Russians first visited California, this area was not yet considered the primary target of Russian expansion in the south. At first, the CANCER intended to colonize the northwestern coast, at least some of its sections, or to create strongholds. But in the extensive expansionist plans of N.P. Rezanov, whom he expounded to the directors of cancer in 1806, already paid attention to California. The most important value in these plans is given by the mouth of the river. Colombia, which was seen as a “central place”, was a springboard for further expansion to the north (Prince of Wales Island, Juan de Fuca Strait) and to the south, to San Francisco. The next object of expansion was considered to be Spanish California, approximately to Santa Barbara (34 ° N. S), which was seen by Regan as a relatively easy affair to Spain at the slightest concourse of happy in favor of our political in Europe circumstances. Rezanov was in a hurry, believing that the Russian Empire did not have time to occupy California before Spain because of insufficient attention of the government to this region: “Now there is still no space left, as much advantageous and very necessary for us, and so if we miss it, progeny?"

Prospects for the development of agriculture in California were her second, after fishing for otters, an advantage for the Russians. Rezanov considered the development of his arable farming and cattle breeding in New Albion to be the “most reliable means” of providing Russian America with food. In agriculture, either the imported Chinese, or the natives, whom Rezanov in this capacity mentions more often, marking their “population”, were to become the main labor force. “Having wounded wildly”, he hoped to exploit them in the style of Spanish religious missions: “by sending the Jesuits there and establishing a mission to take advantage of the innumerable number of Indians of the local inhabitants and divorce the tillage ...”

The boldness and breadth of Rezanov's projects might have seemed adventurous, which he himself was fully aware of. However, such people marked the beginning of the great Spanish and British colonial empires. Such ascetics mastered the Russian state of Siberia, and went to the Pacific Ocean, and then created Russian America. And it was in the projects of Rezanov that the idea of ​​the Russian California, the breadbasket of the Russian colonies, partially implemented in the Ross colony, originates.

The success of the first joint expeditions to California inspired the head of Russian America, Baranov. Particularly interesting was the information delivered to 1807 by Tarakanov and Slobodchikov. During the expeditions, both of them drew up some maps (“plans”). According to him, Baranov conceived an expedition to New Albion. The wintering grounds should have been Bodega Bay or the open expedition of Winship - Slobodchikov Humboldt Bay in Northern California (originally the bay was called Slobodchikovsky or Slobodchikov). Baranov saw the discovery of the previously unknown bay, which was passed by vessels of other states, the sign of destination over this bay for Russia.

Baranov, in spite of his frustrated health, even wanted to lead the expedition himself, to which the ruler of Russian America attached great state and geographical importance. However, circumstances did not allow Baranov to leave Novo-Arkhangelsk at this time, and the command of the expedition, as an opportunity to “distinguish himself with a famous ... feat,” was entrusted to Baranov’s closest aide and ally, Ivan Aleksandrovich Kuskov (1765-1823).

In 29 September 1808 was sent to the field-research expedition under the general guidance of I. A. Kuskov as part of the ships of the small schooner "Saint Nikolay" navigator Bulygin and vessel "Kodiak" navigator Petrov. The ships left the bay of Novoarkhangelsk (Alaska) and headed to the shores of California. The ships went separately because of their different speeds and delays with the release of the Kodiak. Each ship had its own task. On the "Kodiak" followed the head of the Kuskov expedition and the fishing party, consisting of the Kodiaks and the Aleuts. The main research load fell on the “Nicholas”. His main task was to describe the shores of New Albion from the Juan de Fuca Strait to Drake Bay up to San Francisco. Particular attention should be paid to the fishing and other resources, life and customs of local natives. The purpose of the expedition was deep reconnaissance, but not colonization, which did not preclude the creation of temporary settlements.

The ship "St. Nikolay "under the command of the navigator Bulygin could not complete the task. 1 November 1808 The schooner was wrecked in the area of ​​Cape Juan de Fuca (Flatteri). Having landed, the crew and passengers (total 21 people) were forced to confront local Indians, risking to become slaves. Cockroaches call them "kolyuzhi", thereby referring to the common cultural type for the north-west coast. As it was later established, the shipwreck and wanderings of people from the "Nicholas" occurred on the ethnic territory of the Indians Kuiliut and Khokh, and the main events occurred in the region of r. Khokh.

Shipwrecked people, suffering from hunger, wandered, pursued by the Indians. The natives were able to capture several people as prisoners, including the wife of Bulygina, Anna Petrovna (she came from the native population of America). Then the navigator, broken by his ordeal, 12 transferred the command to Tarakanov on November. Russian travelers were able to take control of the upper river. Hoch, where they happily spent the winter, having “abundance in food”. In February, 1809, they began to descend the river, planning to move to the river. Colombia.

The power in the detachment again passed to the navigator Bulygin, who tried to free his wife by capturing a noble aboriginal hostage. But when the Indians brought Anna Bulygin for redemption, she — to the surprise and indignation of her compatriots — flatly refused to return, saying that she was pleased with her condition and advised that she voluntarily surrendered to the tribe. Not being frightened by the threats of her husband, Anna declared that she would rather die than wander through the woods, where she could get to the “cruel and barbarous” people, while now she lives “with good and humane people”. What is interesting, Tarakanov decided to follow her advice. He took command and decided to surrender to the Indians. Tarakanov urged his comrades to believe Anna’s arguments: “It’s better ... to surrender to their power voluntarily, than to roam the forests, fight against hunger and the elements, fight against wild ones, exhaust yourself, and finally get to some beastly generation.” It was a bold and extraordinary decision that most of his companions did not take, with the exception of Bulygin and three more people. However, the remaining travelers soon also fell to the Indians. They broke the boat on the stones and still were captured.

The decision of Tarakanov and Bulygin, apparently, was the most correct in this situation. Victims did not know the local conditions and because of their small number could not survive in a hostile environment. As it happened more than once during the development of America, the condition of survival and development of new lands was peace with the natives, at least at the initial stage. Surrendering, the travelers got a chance for survival.

Tarakanov, Bulygin and their companions were in the "Kunishchatsky village" near m. Flatteri in slavery among the people of the "Kunishchat", headed by the leader Yuramaki. The leader himself, who turned out to be Tarakanov, treated the captives really well. However, it was true patriarchal slavery: the captives were sold, changed, donated, etc. The Bulygin spouses died. Tarakanov could, using his talent as an artisan, and cutting wooden dishes for his master (for which he forged tools with nails), won great prestige among the Indians. In May 1810, Mr. 13, a man from “Nikolai”, including Tarakanov, was bought out and brought to Capo Brown by the ship “Lydia” in June in Novo-Arkhangelsk. Another was bought a year earlier on the river. Colombia, 7 people died, one remained in slavery.

The Kodiak team was more fortunate. Kodiak and Kuskov delayed their exit from Novo-Arkhangelsk to 20 in October 1808. Due to bad weather, he was unable to reach Grace Harbor Bay and headed to Trinidad Bay, which reached November 28. However, here the weather prevented the implementation of the plans. A fishing party led by the same S. Slobodchikov was sent to Slobodchikovsky Bay (Humboldt), but it was impossible to approach the entrance to the bay because of the wind and waves on the sea. Then Kuskov and Petrov decided to go south, setting up a cross in Trinidad Bay, and handing a note to Bulygin to the local aborigines.

After leaving Trinidad on December 7, Kodiak arrived on December 15 in Bodega Bay, where, while repairing and fishing, unsuccessfully awaited Nicholas. The fishing here was not successful due to the small number of sea otters (the beast was already heavily knocked out by the former fishing parties), and then because of the weather. The heavily battered ship was repaired until May 1809.

In total, at least five people escaped from the crew during the stay of the Kodiak in Bodega. They were attracted by the freedom and grace of California, especially when compared to the harsh conditions of Alaska. For Kuskov, this came as a surprise, which forced him to limit the activities of the entire expedition. In the current situation, he tried to implement a minimum of tasks, moving to Trinidad and leaving the fishing party in Bodega under the command of Slobodchikov. But this plan also failed, because when everything was ready, the Kadiaks fled in two more boats. Fearing that in the event of a ship accident on the way along these unfamiliar shores, others may also make an escape, Kuskov abandoned the original plan and remained in Bodega.

Here contacts were established with local Indians. The Indian chief told the Russians about the “great gulf with beavers” in the north, apparently referring to Humboldt Bay. Kuskov sent to the north a fishing squad led by Slobodchikov. The detachment, having passed a dangerous path, was near Cape Mendocino, but did not reach the bay. During the search for fugitives, kayaks surveyed Bodega Bay and Drake Bay and the northern part of San Francisco Bay, where it was mainly fished.

Besides. the expedition claimed the presence of Russia in the new lands. This was done in the traditional way for Russians in America: laying metal number plates with the inscription “Land of Russian ownership”. One board (No. 1) was laid in 1808 by S. Slobodchikov in Trinidad Bay, the other (No. 14) by I. Kuskov in 1809 in “Little Bodego Bay”, the third board (No. 20) by him "Mouth" Drake Bay. At the same time, during this expedition, the Indians were distributed gifts and silver medals "Allied Russia".

Leaving Bodega 18 in August, Kodiak arrived in Novo-Arkhangelsk 4 in October 1809. Thus, this first major Russian expedition along the west coast of North America was completed, combining research, fishing and trade goals. Kuskov's expedition became an important link in the chain of events that marked the beginning of the Russian colonization of California. The establishment of a colony in California was extremely necessary for the existence of all Russian settlements in America. And California had to become the base of the food supply of Russian America in the future. However, this required more approval from St. Petersburg and the establishment of an outpost in California.

To be continued ...
Articles from this series:
Lost Russian lands

Lost Lands of Russia: Russians Hawaii
How Westerner Nesselrode ruined the project "Russian Hawaii"
Russians in California
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  1. parusnik
    parusnik 23 June 2016 07: 43
    In 1823, Ivan Kuskov returned to his homeland, in Totma. But three months later he became ill and died. He was buried in the cemetery of the Spaso-Sumorin Monastery. In memory of the Totem pioneer in 1990, a monument to Ivan Kuskov was erected near the monastery walls.
  2. Andrey Yuryevich
    Andrey Yuryevich 23 June 2016 10: 04
    in short: do not play the fool, Amerega! California and Alaska, turn it over! (Not that, we will hold a referendum!) wink interestingly, we will rename Santa Barbara, or let him ... what
    1. parusnik
      parusnik 23 June 2016 12: 21
      We will call it in Russian .. Svyatovarvarinsk .. or St. Barbarian or Varvarograd .. smile
    2. code54
      code54 23 June 2016 21: 42
      Nah ... we’ll tell the children that in honor of the beloved series of our grandmothers our city was called! )))
  3. Tsoy
    Tsoy 23 June 2016 18: 14
    Ruler of Russian America

    How does it sound ...
  4. code54
    code54 23 June 2016 21: 39
    Interestingly, I heard, but was not interested in earlier. It’s necessary not to study much in history at least, but it’s so easy to read to broaden your horizons! and preferably from a young age.
  5. PKK
    PKK 24 June 2016 05: 56
    These were the people of Tartaria. This country was a powerful Power and its citizens were not attacked then. The western coast of America was freely mastered by the Spaniards, Americans and ours. The Indians were quite companionable. But the Chinese and Indians were planning to work in the fields. We learned what came of this.