Ludwig von Hagemeister

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Ludwig August von Hagemeister (Russian: Лео́нтий Андриа́нович Гагеме́йстер; Leontij Andrianovic Gagemejster;[1] 1780 – December 24, 1833) was a Baltic German that held the rank of Captain of the 1st rank in the Imperial Russian Navy. He was maritime explorer of Alaska and the Pacific Ocean, and served as the second chief manager of the Russian-American Company.

Career in Navy[edit]

Hagemeister 324 In 1806-1807 Hagemeister completed a circumnavigation of the globe, the first of three in his career.[1] He sailed from Kronstadt to Russian America, crossing the Atlantic, Indian, and Pacific Oceans in his ship Neva. In 1808–1809, he explored the shores of Russian America and made trips to the North Pacific. Hagemeister returned to Saint Petersburg through Siberia in 1810. He was chairman of the Admiralty of Irkutsk from 1812 to 1815, in which capacity Hagemeister was responsible for the building of the first ships for crossing Lake Baikal.

Commanding the Russian-American Company ship Kutuzov, Hagemeister started his second circumnavigation in 1816. Previous to departing from the Empire he was appointed to replace Aleksandr Baranov as chief manager of the Russian-American Company.[2] Hagemeister arrived at New Archangel, the capital of Russian America, during 1817. He was then was employed in formalising relations with the Kashia Pomo people of California. He was the principal negotiator with authorities of the Pomo band, and obtained the privilege to establish Fort Ross. A treaty was signed on 22 September 1817, with tribal officials reported to have said that "They are very pleased to see Russians occupy this land, for they now live in safety from other Indians who used to attack them from time to time. This security began only from the time of Russian settlement."[3] The agreement was made by REC officials as a part of schemes aiming at the seizure of Alta California from the Spanish Empire.

Returning to New Archangel, Hagemeister and other naval officer over the winter examining the financial records of the RAC. A discrepancy in the amount of supplies listed in accounting records was announced by their findings. On 11 January 1818 Baranov was, "in a most arrogant way",[1] promptly removed from office by Hagemeister.[2] Hagemeister soon changed payment methods to promyslenniki workers, by giving currency for salaries and abandoning the share system in favor of provisions.[1] The outlawing of trade with non-Company European descendants proved to be a lasting directive issued by Hagemeister.[4] This stance was contained Ukase of 1821, a decree from the Imperial Government that extended Russian land claims south and banned all non-Russian Europeans merchants. Hagemeister departed from New Archangel in October with his direct subordinate, Semyon Ivanovich Yanovsky, deputed as the next chief manager.[2]

In 1828–1829, Hagemeister made his final circumnavigation on the ship Krotky. During this journey, he surveyed the Menshikov Atoll (Kwajalein) in the Marshall Islands, plotting it on the map and specifying the location of some other islands.

His diaries are composed in several European languages, including German, Russian, French, Portuguese, English and Spanish.[1] An island and a strait in Alaska bear Hagemeister's name.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e Baltic, Alix. The Baltic Connection in Russian America. Jahrbücher für Geschichte Osteuropas, Neue Folge 42, No. 3 (1994), pp. 321-339.
  2. ^ a b c Borneman, Walter R. Alaska, Saga of a Bold Land. New York City: HarperCollins. 2003, p. 73.
  3. ^ Spencer-Hancock, Diane, William E. Pritchard and Ina Kaliakin. Notes to the 1817 Treaty between the Russian American Company and Kashaya Pomo Indians. California History 59, No. 4 (1980/1981), pp 306-313.
  4. ^ Black, Lydia T. Russians in Alaska, 1732-1867. Fairbanks, AK: University of Alaska Press. 2004, p. 197.

Government offices
Preceded by
Alexander Andreyevich Baranov
Governor of Russian Colonies in America
Succeeded by
Lieutenant Semyon Ivanovich Yanovsky