Neva at Kodiak

“Neva at Kodiak 1804,” drawn by Capt. Yuri Fyodorovich Lisiansky, engraved by I. Clark.  

In 1802, after years of unhappy relations with Imperial Russian fur seekers in Southeast Alaska, the local Tlingit attacked the Russian settlement at Sitka. Catching the inhabitants unaware on a June afternoon, the Tlingit burned the fort and the houses around it, took the sea otter pelts stored there, and killed or captured nearly all the settlement’s Russians and Aleut hunters. A handful of survivors were eventually rescued by the crew of the British ship Unicorn.

A few weeks later, when the Unicorn arrived in Kodiak, the ship’s master demanded a ransom for the Sitka escapees to Alexander Baranov, the Russian Alaska governor. Baranov paid, reluctantly, and then put his mind to the recapture of Sitka.

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