Alexander Andreyevich Baranov

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Alexander Baranov not only played an active role in the Russian-American Company, but he was also the first governor of Russian Alaska.

Alexander Andreyevich Baranov (Russian: Алекса́ндр Андре́евич Бара́нов) (1746–1819), sometimes spelled Aleksandr or Alexandr and Baranof, was born in 1746 in Kargopol, in St. Petersburg Governorate of the Russian Empire.

Alexander ran away from home at the age of fifteen. He became a successful merchant in Irkutsk, Siberia. He was lured to Russian America, by the growing Maritime Fur Trade there. He became a successful trader there and established and managed trading posts in the Kodiak Island region.

From 1799 to 1818, through Nikolai Rezanov's intervention, he became chief manager for the influential Russian-American Company. He managed all of the company's interests in Russian America, including the Aleutian and Kuril Islands. Activity in the region flourished as trading in sea otters and seals boomed. Baranov convinced native hunters to expand their range to include the coasts of California.[1] Baranov also advocated more educational opportunities for the Alaska Native Americans. Under his leadership, schools were created and frontier communities became less isolated.[2] During Baranov's rule, Russian Orthodox missionaries operated in Russian America.

Baranov was briefly replaced as chief manager and governor in January, 1818, by Russian navy Capt. Lt. Leontii Hagemeister amidst rumors that Baranov had secretly siphoned money to American banks in his own name. A subsequent financial audit by Kirill Khlebnikov disproved the rumors. In October, 1818, Hagemeister appointed Baranov's son-in-law, navy Lt. Semyon Ianovsky, to take his place as chief manager and governor. Two months later, Baranov and Hagemeister left Alaska by ship to return to Russia. The ship headed south on a route that would take it around the Cape of Good Hope. En route, the ship made an extended stopover in the Dutch settlement of Batavia, on the island of Java, then part of the colonial Dutch East Indies (present day Indonesia), in March, 1819. Alexander Andreyevich Baranov became ill there, and soon after the ship resumed its journey he died, and was buried at sea.

Baranof Island in Alaska is named after Baranov. In World War II, the United States liberty ship SS Alexander Baranof was named in his honor.

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Khlebnikov, Kirill T.; BARANOV Chief Manager of the Russian Colonies in America (English translation of 1837 Russian original), Kingston, Ontario, The Limestone Press, 1973, p. 60
  2. ^ Ibid, p. 112

See also[edit]

Literature[edit]

  • Chevigny, Hector; Lord of Alaska - Baranov and the Russian adventure, Portland, Oregon, Binfords & Mort, 1951, LIBRIS-id 2331138
  • Khlebnikov, Kirill T.; BARANOV Chief Manager of the Russian Colonies in America (English translation of 1837 Russian original), Kingston, Ontario, The Limestone Press, 1973, ISBN 0-919642-50-0
  • Engstrom, Elton & Engstromn, Allan,; Alexander Baranov - a Pacific Empire, Juneau, Alaska, Elton Engstrom & Allan Engstrom, 2004, ISBN 0-9645701-3-0
  • Wikisource-logo.svg Wilson, James Grant; Fiske, John, eds. (1900). "Baranoff, Alexander Andrevitch". Appletons' Cyclopædia of American Biography. New York: D. Appleton. 
Government offices
Preceded by
Evstratii Delarov
Chief Manager of the Shelikhov-Golikov Company
1792—1799
Succeeded by
himself as Governor of Russian Colonies in America
Preceded by
new post replacing the Governor of United American Company
Governor of Russian Colonies in America
1799—1818
Succeeded by
Ludwig von Hagemeister