Sitka Swept Up In History
Human use of this world of
islands, rivers and ocean has
changed dramatically in the last
two hundred years.
and Salmon rivers.
1582 Francisco Gali of Spain
reports reaching American
shores at 57 deg. north latitude
(near present day Sitka)
land at Plymouth
1741 Vitus Bering's expedition
from Russia makes first
recorded discovery of the
northwestern coast of
1784 Russians establish the
first trading post and permanent
settlement in North America on
1778 James Cook of great
Britain explores this area
and names the extinct
volcano across Sitka Sound-
1779 Russia charters the Russian-
American Company and appoints
Alexander Baranov as chief
manager in America: Baranoff
establishes a fort, Redoubt
1802 Tlingit Attack and destroy
Redoubt St. Michael
1804-1806 Lewis and Clark
explore the Louisiana Purchase
and lands west to Pacific Ocean.
1804 Baranov returns from Kodiak; He
leads attack of Tlingit fort at
Indian River; He establishes New
Archangel (Sitka) at Castle Hill.
1849 California gold rush
1806 New Archangel (Sitka) becomes
capitol and administrative
headquarters for "Russian America"
1861 Civil war breaks out in
the United States
1867 United States purchases Alaska from
Russia for $7.2 million: Transfer takes
place at Sitka.
1912 Alaska becomes a United
1964 Alaska's good Friday
1962 Old Sitka is named a National Historical
1968 Oil is discovered in
Indians have resided along the northwestern
coast of North America for
thousands of years. They made the
rocky shorelines, islands and river
courses home, subsisting on ocean and
forest rescources. The Tlingit (Klingk et)
Indian name for this site is Gjaa Haan,
"Water coming from way up".
During the global era of exploration,
discovery and colonization, worldwide
attention was drawn to this area.
Spanish, British and Russian, French and
American expeditions were commissioned
to the Pacific Northwest during
the seventeenth and eighteenth
centuries, The discovery of sea otters
led to the international competetion
to control the northwest trade.
Since the 1740's, Russian Promyshlenniki
(Pro.mish len.neck ee),for hunters and
traders, were moving eastward along the
Alaska coastline from the Aleution
Islands as they searched for new
sources of sea otter. They established
Russian post along the way and began
lively trading. Aleut, Koniag, Kenitzai,
and Chugach natives were drafted into
the Russian sea otter hunting service.
Soon after the American purchase of
Alaska, Gold was discovered near Sitka.
A new era of exploration, discovery and
settlement began. This era continues
today as the development of Alaska's
natural and mineral resources spurs the
state's economic growth.