Military Review

How the Spaniards tried to oust the Russians from California

Although the Spaniards considered California their zone of influence, the Russian-American company pointed out that the boundary of their possessions to the north of San Francisco was not determined, and the local Indians to the Spaniards were not subject to. Spanish Foreign Minister José Lujand did not want to spoil relations with the Russian Empire and instructed the Vice-King of New Spain "to show extreme delicacy in order to achieve the elimination of the Russian settlement without prejudice to the friendly relations between the two countries."

Relationship with the Spaniards

The primary goal of Russian diplomacy in California was to establish trade relations between this Spanish colony and Russian Alaska, which had previously happened, if not, illegally. The Board of Cancer, following the course of Rezanov, tried to obtain permission from Spain to trade with Spanish California, with the support of the Russian government, but Madrid did not support this idea. After an unsuccessful attempt to resolve the issue at the interstate level, Rumyantsev, at the behest of the Russian tsar, gave the RAC itself to achieve this goal. At the beginning of 1812, an appeal from the board of the RAC to “Gishpants living in California” dated 15 in March 1810 in St. Petersburg was made in St. Petersburg in Spanish, Latin and Russian with the proposal to establish mutually beneficial trade. However, the Spanish authorities did not agree to trade.

Baranov continued attempts to establish trade relations. The head of Russian America referred to the neighborhood and “mutual national benefits,” arguing that the decision now depends only on the Spanish side. Meanwhile, the situation of the Spaniards in the colonies shaken. The creation of the fortress Ross coincided with the revolutionary events in Spain and Latin America, which led to the disruption of the supply system and the financing of the Spanish colonies, in particular, Spanish California. And residents of California and before felt a strong shortage of goods due to the monopoly of the metropolis to trade in the colonies. Industrial goods were virtually absent in this peripheral Spanish colony with its purely agrarian economy and relative isolation from the metropolis. Now the situation has become even worse. The soldiers had nothing to pay, they had nothing to wear and nothing to arm. As a result, smuggling has become the only source of manufactured goods for the supply of civilians and garrisons.

The Spaniards quickly learned about the creation of a Russian settlement in California. In October, 1812 was sent for reconnaissance with several soldiers, Lieutenant G. Moraga, who had already experienced trekking to the north. He visited and examined Ross. To the question of the purpose for which the Russians settled here, Kuskov presented him with a paper from the Company that the settlement was being created to supply the colonies with food and informed about the desire to trade. Leaving, Moraga promised to ask the governor for permission to trade with the Russians, informing them of the interest of the Spaniards in this trade. News about the Russian fortress and the hospitality of its inhabitants quickly spread throughout California. At the beginning of 1813, the city of Morag made a second visit to the fortress, this time with the brother of the commandant of San Francisco, and said that the governor had allowed trade, but with the condition that before receiving official permission from her, Russian ships did not enter the California ports, and the goods were transported by rowing boats. As a gift, he drove 3 horses and 20 cattle heads. Kuskov immediately took advantage of the permit, sending a consignment of goods to San Francisco for which he received bread at the agreed prices. Thus, the semi-legal trade has replaced the smuggling trade - sanctioned by local authorities at your own peril and risk.

Spain in 1812 entered into a treaty of alliance with Russia. Therefore, Madrid could not rigidly respond to the news of the creation of the Russian colony in the lands that the Spaniards considered their sphere of influence. Spanish Foreign Minister X. Lujand, in a letter to X. NUMX February 4 to the Vice-King of New Spain, formulated a policy regarding the Russian settlement in California, he even preferred to think that the Russians did not establish a permanent settlement, but landed - due to temporary difficulties. At the same time, the Spanish minister spoke very positively — quite in the spirit of Rezanov’s thoughts — about the possibility of Russian-Spanish trade between Alaska and California. “In this connection,” wrote Luyand, “it seems important to His Majesty that you close your eyes for now. Nevertheless, we are interested in the fact that the Russians do not extend their activities outside of Upper California. It is in this area that mutual trade in locally produced goods and products must be developed ... At the same time, extreme delicacy should be shown in order to achieve the elimination of the Russian settlement without prejudice to the friendly relations between the two countries. ”

Thus, trade between the Russian Spanish colonies was secretly recognized by Madrid, and the Californian authorities, executing the orders of the viceroy, from time to time formally demanded that Kuskov leave the Ross fortress.

It is worth noting that the Spaniards in the region did not have the combat capabilities to knock out the Russians from their outpost. In the summer of 1814, Mr. Ross was once again visited by officer G. Moraga. He left one of the earliest surviving descriptions of the fortress, noting its considerable defensive capabilities. The information received from these visits hardly pleased the Spanish commanders. The Spanish garrison in San Francisco did not exceed 70 people, and gunpowder, in order to salute foreign ships entering the bay, the Spaniards had to beg for their captains. In addition, Russia and Spain at that time were allies against the Napoleonic Empire. Therefore, the Spanish authorities could only count on the goodwill of the Russians and periodically demanded that they liquidate a settlement in California.

In 1813, the Company's management sent a new proclamation on the ship “Suvorov”, which focused on the alliance of Russia and Spain in the fight against Napoleon, noting that “both nations ... are identical and unique to both nations with their inherent spirit and act”. In the summer of 1815, San Francisco was visited by three Russian ships: the Chirikov with Kuskov in June-July, the Ilmen with commission agent Elliot in June and August, and finally in August the Suvorov under the command of Lieutenant MP Lazarev. All three ships purchased food.

Kuskov House

Incident with the brigom "Ilmen"

Arriving in 1815, the new governor of Upper California, Pablo Vicente de Sol, having the instructions of Madrid, began to insistently demand the liquidation of the Russian settlement, and at the same time began to take tough measures against smuggling and illegal fishing. In addition, the Spaniards, in order to block the possible further advancement of the Russians, accelerated the colonization of the northern coast of the San Francisco Bay: the San Rafael mission was established in 1817, and the San Francisco Solano mission in 1823.

During this period, a commercial expedition was sent to the coasts of California in the Ilmen brig. The captain at Ilmen was an American Wadsworth accepted into the service of the RAC, and the chief commission agent, H. Elliott de Castro. The ship had a fishing party of Kadiaks under the command of T. Tarakanov and a cargo for trade with clerk Nikiforov. Apparently, the CANCER at Ilmen was first of all represented by the son of Baranov Antipater, who led the journey journal and controlled the trade with the Spaniards. The Ilmeny expedition lasted about two years (1814-1815). The ship was cruising along the mainland, landing hunter squads of hunters with kayaks for fishing. Elliot rescued up to 10 thousand piastres in cash by smuggling along the banks. Wintered "Ilmen" in Bodega Bay.

In the fall of 1815, the expedition suffered major setbacks. Two fishing groups were captured by the Spaniards, who were patrolling the coast. On September 8, near the San Pedro mission, a group of Kodiaks was captured as part of a 24 man led by Russian Tarasov. Moreover, the Spaniards acted extremely cruelly: “having mutilated many bare hacks” and cutting one of the Kadiaks, Chukagnak, into their heads. Tarasov and most of the Kodiakians were transferred to Santa Barbara, and Kyglaya and the wounded Chukagnak were left in San Pedro, where they were kept for several days without water or food, along with the Indian criminals. In captivity, the prisoners were crushed, repeatedly offered to adopt the Catholic faith. At dawn, a Catholic priest came to the prison with a few Indians. Kodiaktsev taken out of prison. They were surrounded by Indians, and the priest ordered Chukagnak to chop off the fingers of both hands and the hands themselves on the joints, and then the dying man had his stomach ripped open. Execution ceased when some paper was delivered to the missionary. Kyglaya was soon sent to Santa Barbara.

Many of the Kadiaks fled, but were captured in different places and taken to Santa Barbara. Some were able to get to Ross. Kyglaya and one of his comrades in misfortune, Philip Atash'sha, stole a canoe and fled on it, reaching the island of Ilmen (San Nicolas), where they lived, gathering birds for food. Atash'sha died in 1818 in the town of Kiglaya in the spring of 1819 was filmed by Ilmena and taken to Fort Ross. Kyglai’s testimony was used by Russian diplomacy in a dispute with Spain. Already in the 20th century, Chukagnak, in baptism, Peter, as a martyr for the faith, was canonized by the Orthodox Church in America under the name of St. Peter Aleuta.

A week after Tarasov and his group, Elliot suffered the same fate. In "Ilmen" was located off the coast of Southern California. Elliot and apparently Antipater Baranov were engaged in illegal trade with Spanish missionaries, selling fabrics and tools in exchange for livestock. The leaders of the Russian expedition were aware that a Spanish frigate had arrived in Monterey with a new governor and had been warned of the arrival of Spanish soldiers, who had been ordered to seize foreigners. But neither Wadsworth nor Elliot took this news seriously. As a result of 25 September 1815, the soldiers seized on the banks of Elliot and six other teams, including five Russians and one American, who were sent to Santa Barbara and then to Monterey, where Tarasov’s squad was already located. Wadsworth managed to get his feet off on a skiff with three crew members.

Ilmen, due to the threat from the Spanish ships, took the remaining fishing parties and went to Bodega Bay. Then "Ilmen" went to sea, but because of the leak could not follow directly to the Sith and went to the Hawaiian Islands. In October, the Russian ship Rurik, commanded by O. Kotzebue, arrived in San Francisco 1816. Elliot and the three Russians were released. In February, 1817 was sent to Monterey on Chirikov by a special lieutenant, Podushkin, who rescued 2 Russians and 12 Kadiaks. Some Kadiaks who converted to Catholicism and married natives wanted to remain in the missions. Among the Russian prisoners from the Ilmeny was A. Klimovsky, the later known explorer of Alaska. Another captive is Osip (Joseph, José) Volkov found his second homeland in California and lived a long life here: he was a translator under the governor, got a family, eventually even was elected head of one of the villages, participated in the gold fever of 1848 and lived to 1866

In 1816, the negotiations between Otto Kotzebue and Upper California Governor Pablo Vicente de Sol were held in San Francisco. The Spanish governor complained to Kotzebue about the Russian fortress, and he, agreeing that it was an injustice, said, however, that the resolution of the issue was beyond his competence. Kotzebue's behavior could not be liked by cancer, and subsequently he was accused of exceeding his authority. October 26 held talks in San Francisco Sola, Kotzebue and invited from Ross Kuskov. The head of the Ross Kuskov said that he founded the settlement on the orders of the authorities and can leave it only by order. Kuskov answered all proposals that he could not leave a place without an order from his superiors, and in the event of an attack he would defend himself. A protocol was signed with the positions of the parties, which was sent to Petersburg.

Since the local authorities could not oust the Russians, Madrid itself began to put pressure on St. Petersburg. In April, 1817, the Spanish ambassador F. Cea de Bermudez, presented a note of protest to the Russian government. The government of Alexander, as usual, took an ambiguous position, did not stand up directly to defend the Russian colony, created with the sanction and under the patronage of the emperor, and assigned the role of the defendant to the RAC. The RAK Board was forced to submit to the Foreign Ministry an explanatory note “on the subject of its settlement near California,” which justified Russia's rights to the settlement and its interests in the region. But this conflict did not receive further development, the matter was hushed up.

Some deterioration in relations, expressed in the seizure of members of the Ilmeny team, did not destroy the ties between Russian America and Spanish California. In the conditions of isolated California from other Spanish possessions, local authorities could not neglect contacts with Russians. Podushkin already at the beginning of 1817, with the permission of de Soly, was able to purchase the necessary amount of food from Monterey. Arriving in September 1817 on “Kutuzov” with a revision to the port of Rumyantsev and Ross, L. A. Gagemeister visited San Francisco, taking Kuskova with him, where the latter received a load of bread. Gagemeister led trade negotiations with the Spaniards. Instead of the unreliable payment proposed by de Sol, with promissory notes on Guadalajara, Gagemeister put forward a counter-proposal for a joint fishery. The fishery should beat the Russians, and the prey was divided into two equal halves. But de Sola did not agree to joint fishing. KT Khlebnikov first arrived at Kutuzov in California in 1817, who later became the main agent of the RAC in relations with the Spaniards and the inspector of affairs in Ross.

In 1818, Gagemeister again visited Monterey, where he bought food for the colonies. Since that time, Russian ships annually paid visits to Californian ports for provisions. The authorities not only did not interfere with this trade, but, on the contrary, actively helped. The governor notified the mission of the arrival of the Russian ship, its cargo and that it was necessary for the Russians, and the Russians for the presence of the necessary products in the missions.

Relationship with mexico

Mexico, which emerged in 1821, continued the policy of Spain and also made several attempts to expel the Russians from Ross by diplomatic means, but did not succeed. In addition, independent Mexico opened up California ports to foreigners, which led to increased competition from British and American merchants. Increased costs, the Mexicans began to charge export-import duties and "anchor money."

The loose Mexican empire, led by Emperor Agustin I Iturbide, which appeared in the place of the viceroyalty of New Spain, attempted to oust the Russians from California. However, Mexico, like Spain, did not have power in the north, and therefore could not force out the Russians (later the Americans would take advantage of this, who would capture almost half of Mexican territory). So, in October 1822 in Mexico, Agustin Fernandez de San Vicente and his Mexican commissioner in California arrived with Rossi and demanded a response from the ruler K. Schmidt about the rights of Russians to occupy this place, saying that it belongs to Mexico, and the Russians should leave it . Schmidt presented the text of the Russian-Spanish treaty on the union 1812, and, following the tactics of his predecessor, said that he could not do it without the permission of the authorities. Fernandez de San Vicente demanded that Khlebnikov, who was in Monterey, liquidate Ross within six months. Khlebnikov promised to report this requirement to the top management. At first, the Mexican commissioner began to threaten if his demands were not met with measures of coercion, but then he softened his tone.

The Russian-American company still raised the topic of joint fishing. Sending ships to California, Sergey Yanovsky and Matvey Muravyov (who were in charge of cancer in 1818-1825) ordered “to induce Californians to impose conditions” on such a craft, but without success. Only in 1823, when LA became the governor. Arguello, he made a similar agreement with Khlebnikov. His conditions were to deliver 20-25 kayaks to San Francisco under the supervision of one Russian and one representative of the authorities, the division of production into two equal parts, the fishing period was determined in 4 month (December 1823 g. March 1824 g.) new contract, etc.

At the beginning of 1824, an uprising of Indians occurred in Southern California, destroying several missions. The governor of California asked the Russians to send him gunpowder. The brig "Arab" was sent to California. As noted M.I. Ants, "... we, for our own benefit and even existence, must in every way protect the settlements of the Spaniards in California, and more than the mission." According to Muravyev, the cancer was profitable to sell the neighbors weapon and gunpowder, as well as provide friendly service. Interestingly, Prokhor Egorov, who had fled from Ross, was at the head of the uprising.

Thus, the Russians, despite the attempts of the Spaniards, and then the Mexicans, to force the RAC to leave Ross, established rather mutually beneficial relations. Russian America and Spanish (Mexican) California were interested in each other. The basis of this relationship was mostly informal trade between the Russians and the Spaniards. The Spaniards provided food, the Russians provided clothing and metal products. The value of Russian industrial and handicraft products for California was quite large. Work and trade to order became widespread. Ordered goods were brought from Alaska, and also manufactured in the workshops of Novo-Arkhangelsk and Ross. The value of Russian industrial and handicraft products for California, divorced from the metropolis, was great. During the construction of both Spanish missions north of San Francisco, tools and materials were used that came from Ross in exchange for live livestock and other supplies. At the same time, the missionaries “had unrelenting relations with the fortress of Ross. And, as a move in a good time can be done in one day, then almost constant intercourse started. ”
Articles from this series:
Lost Russian lands

Lost Lands of Russia: Russians Hawaii
How Westerner Nesselrode ruined the project "Russian Hawaii"
Russians in California
Expedition of Ivan Kuskov
Friendly relations with the Indians were the strategic advantage of the Russians in California
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  1. romex1
    romex1 1 July 2016 06: 49
    I always enjoy reading such articles. thank.
  2. parusnik
    parusnik 1 July 2016 07: 00
    Interestingly, the head of the uprising was Prokhor Egorov, who fled from Ross.
    ... and most importantly I was able to convince ... the Indians ..
  3. asadov
    asadov 1 July 2016 08: 44
    Good article, Thank you. You read such articles and the most annoying is the attitude of the authorities towards the Russian colonization of new lands. Approach, you yourself are at your own peril and risk, and if everything goes well then it is our merit and, in general, all of ours. And not only in this but in everything. And not only then but now.
  4. Krabik
    Krabik 1 July 2016 12: 52
    Quote: asadov
    attitude of the authorities towards the colonization by Russians of new lands

    The Russian Empire had enough of its worries above the roof.
    And the Siberian territories are still underdeveloped, and you propose developing territories on another continent.

    Moreover, the island and peninsular states of Europe had no other choice, they had to establish colonies in hell on the Easter cakes. near the Russians have already taken everything;)
  5. Beefeater
    Beefeater 1 July 2016 17: 18
    I wonder what kind of private initiative was in those years. Entrepreneurs did not speculate on exchanges and climbed to the ends of the world, in the taiga of snow and the jungle.