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The Russian-American Company in California

Fort Ross commemorative stamp
Fort Ross, California
Fort Ross, located just north of San Francisco and the “Russian River,” was the site of the Russian-American Trading Company. The wooden fort, with its onion dome chapel, still stands.

Fort Ross, once shown on maps as “Fort Russe”, is a remnant of the Russian effort to build a thriving fur industry. This southernmost settlement of the Russian empire was supposed to grow wheat that could be shipped north to Sitka. A secondary goal was to provide an additional source of pelts after the population had been decimated by overharvesting of squirrels, sea lions, otters, and foxes.

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