Russians In California

An Imperial colony on our West Coast was their aim; Fort Ross was their military outpost; and the stakes—higher than they realized

On the swell of the morning tide, with all sails full, the Juno ran before the wind into San Francisco Bay. As the ship approached the Golden Gate, Fort San Joaquin—so unimposing that at first it seemed merely a group of rocks, rather than the main defense of the harbor—was sighted on the southern point. A "great commotion” within the fort, plainly visible from the ship, revealed the garrison’s alarm at the unannounced arrival of a strange vessel.

 
Read more »

The Voyage Of Nor’west John

Curiosity motivated the first American who crossed Siberia. But he also made a handsome profit.

In August, 1804, a young sea captain named John deWolf sailed from his native port of Bristol, Rhode Island, on a voyage to the Pacific. Four years were to elapse before he returned from a fabulous adventure that had taken him around the world. In the course of his trip, he had spent a year in the lonely outposts of Russian Alaska and had crossed the wastes of Siberia—a feat accomplished by no American before him, and few Europeans.