Fort Ross, Russia

Fort Ross – A Russian Fort Built In California

Russian fur trappers, led by Kuskov, saught to find a more temperate climate to extend their fur trade business to, which led them to the coast of Northern California. Russians and Native Alaskan fur trappers established Fort Ross near Jenner, California, which was owned by Spanish ruled Mexico at the time. The Russians were hoping to establish a permanent trade rout from California with the establishment of the fort. Many of the ships transported supplies for construction and other goods through the Sandy Beach Cove.

Construction of the wooden Fort Ross was completed on September 10, 1812, three months after the US declared war with Britain.

The Russians had 41 cannons at the fort, and while they were illegally on Mexican territory, the Mexican government did not try to evict the Russians by force. The cannons were never used to fire upon the Spanish nor on the Native Americans of California while the fort was active.

In 1836, the Russians and Native Alaskans eventually abandoned the fort. In 1840, the fort was owned by an American from Fort Sutter who lived there for twenty years. In 1870, George Cal purchased Fort Ross and the lands around it to establish a rancho.

In 1903, the California Historical Landmark League bought the land, which Fort Ross was physically in, from from descendants of George Cal’s family. Presently the structure and the lands around it are part of the Fort Ross State Historic Park.

The visitor center of the fort has a multitude of information on the Alaskans and Russians living within the grounds.

The Fort has a replica of Kuskov’s house within the fort. In present day, the officers quarters is the only original building within the fort since the chapel and other structures were destroyed by an earthquake.

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