Concepción Argüello

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Grave of Concepción Argüello

María Concepción Argüello (February 19, 1791 – December 23, 1857) was an Alta Californian noted for her romance with Nikolai Rezanov, a Russian promoter of the colonization of Alaska and California.


She was the daughter of José Darío Argüello, the Spanish governor of Alta California and Presidio Commandante. She was born at the Presidio of San Francisco and at 15 she fell in love with Nikolai Rezanov, the visiting head of a Russian expedition to Alaska. His expedition had hard times in California and his involvement with Argüello was at first motivated by practical considerations, since the Spanish Crown did not permit giving aid to Russians. But the pair fell in love, and Nikolai returned to Russia to ask the tsar for permission to marry Concepción. During his trip across Siberia in 1807 he fell from horseback, became sick and died in Krasnoyarsk, where he is buried.[1]

According to a traditional account, Argüello never learned his fate and continued to wait for him till the end of her life, rejecting all other men. Later she became a nun in Monterey, California and remained in the sisterhood until her death.

According to another source, Argüello was waiting for the pope's permission to get married. She learned of Rezanov's death a year later in 1808, when the head of the Russian American Company, Alexander Baranov, wrote to her brother. Although freed from her engagement,[2] she chose to stay celibate and became a nun.[3]

Argüello died in 1857 and is now buried in Saint Dominic's Cemetery, Benicia, where her remains were moved from St. Catherine Convent's cemetery in 1894. A monument marks her grave.

In culture[edit]



  1. ^ Haycox, Stephen (2006). Alaska: An American colony. Seattle [Wash.]: University of Washington Press. p. 105. ISBN 9780295986296. 
  2. ^ Istomin, Gibson & Tishkov 2005, p. 183
  3. ^ "Кончита и Николай". Северная Америка. Век девятнадцатый. Archived from the original on 2009-04-23. 

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