explorer Semyon Dezhnev rounds the Chukotka
Peninsula, discovering that a narrow waterway
separates the Eurasian continent from the
American continent. His discovery does not
become widely known until Bering's later voyage.
Peter the Great sends mariner Vitus Bering
to explore beyond the far eastern reaches
of Russia and to claim new territory for the
sails through the strait, which now bears
his name, but does not reach the Alaska coast.
command of the second vessel on Berings
next expedition, Aleksei Chirikovs crew
reaches land in Southeast Alaska on July 15;
Bering sights land the following day. The
expedition returns to Russia with sea otter
pelts, but Bering himself dies on what is
now known as Bering Island off the Kamchatka
explorers and traders return and begin mass
hunting of sea otters for pelts, the beginning
of a Russian fur trading industry based in
Alaska that became the mainstay of the Alaska
colonial economy for much of the rest of the
explorer and commander Stephan Glotov lands
on Unimak Island and hears the Aleut natives
refer to the land as Alyaska or Alyeska, which
became the basis for the name Alaska.
explorers land on the mainland on the Alaska
at Unalaska in the Aleutian Island chain,
and in 1763 on Kodiak Island.
between Russians and Aleuts.
settlement established at Unalaska. In 1778,
during his exploration of the southern Alaska
coast, British explorer Capt. James Cook reports
finding a Russian settlement at Unalaska.
Spanish explorers reaching Alaska in the late
18th century also find permanent
trading company established by Siberian
merchant and shipbuilder Grigori Shelikov.
settlement established on Kodiak Island.
Pribilof discovers fur seal rookeries on Bering
Sea islands now named for him.
hires Alexander Baranof to manage his Alaska
trading operations. Baranof serves until 1818,
the longest serving Russian-Alaska manager.
Orthodox Church established on Kodiak Island.
Czar Paul I signs decree chartering the Russian-American
company as a monopoly to handle Russia's trade
in its American colony and to administer Russian
activities in Alaska. Alexander Baranof establishes
Russian fort and administrative headquarters
in Sitka, which became capital of the Alaska
between Russians and Indians in Sitka.
Company asserts exclusive control in Alaska
trade and waters.
begin exploring mainland Alaska, over the
next 20 years reaching as far north as the
Yukon and Kuskokwim Rivers. Russia establishes
southern boundary with the United States and
one year later the eastern boundary of Alaska
Orthodox Diocese established for Alaska. Russian
liturgy given in Alaska Native languages.
Russians begin establishing missionary schools
Edward de Stoeckel assigned to Russian delegation
to the United States.
explorers and trappers find oil seeps in Cook
Stoeckel gets authority to start negotiating
the sale of Alaska to the United States.
Secretary of State William Seward negotiates
the purchase of Alaska for $7.2 million. Treaty
signed March 30. Transfer occurs at the Russian
Alaska capital of Sitka on Oct. 18.