Exactly 150 years ago, a deal was made for the sale of Russian Alaska to the United States. What role in this was played by the revolt of the Decembrists? Why discovery of gold on the peninsula Petersburg perceived as a big problem? At that eventually went to the money? And what guided the US Congress, flatly refusing to acquire new lands?
About 4 30 am March 1867 years in the State Department's office in Washington signed an agreement on the assignment of all rights to Russian Alaska to the United States of America. text of the treaty has come from St. Petersburg, just before - a late Friday evening. And we can only guess how much effort the royal envoy Baron Eduardu Steklyu and Secretary of State William Seward worth rose from his bed all the necessary documents for the signing of the officials and politicians. Whatever it was, the transaction took place.
Sale of Alaska - one of the most mythologized events in Russian history of the XIX century. The people are still portrayed in a variety of views about who is it that has sold Russian colony. Someone, thanks to the famous song, I'm sure it was Catherine II, someone like the governor of the Crimea Sergey Aksenov, the culprit was Nikolai II. There are myths that these territories were not sold, but only leased for a period of 99 years, and that Russia has not received their due for payment.
Received. However, part of the state amount to spend on bribes for American parliamentarians. Thus was the line be drawn under a long history of Russian colonization of the Americas, which began under Peter I.
"Juno" and"Aan eight"
It is believed that the first European coast of Alaska found officer Russian fleet and Dane origin Vitus Behring. In fact, some explorers reached these places before, but it was in the distant Behring 1741-m did two important things for the further development of the Russian New World. Unlike most predecessors, he realized that he had found it to North America, and not just another island. In addition, it Bering failed to substantiate the economic attractiveness of new territories.
During the reverse transition, before reaching the coast of Asia about 200 kilometers, the ship was cast ashore unnamed island waxing storm. It was November, and it was decided to settle down for the winter here. 30 from 75 sailors stranded on the shore could not survive the severe winter. He died, and even the great Russian explorer Vitus Bering, or, as it was called in Russia, Ivan Ivanovich. The island where his crew had to spend the winter, since called after him.
The new lands seafarers met a large population of different animals that are not afraid of humans. A spring built from the remains of the dead and the ship beached Kamchatka forests new ship. In two weeks they are not only able to reach Petropavlovsk, but also brought a rich cargo of furs. Soon various merchants organized several expeditions to the mining of precious skins, and the ships returned, loaded with furs in the tens and hundreds of thousands of rubles.
The fame of the rich natural resources of these places quickly spread around the world. Spain strengthened its holdings in California to join the race for the possession of these lands. On the opposite coast of Boston put forward subjects of King George. In parallel, both English and French explorers tried to find a sea route to Alaska.
However, the official St. Petersburg did not seek to explore the New World, for fear of possible international consequences. It is one thing - to open up new land, quite another - to inhabit them and keep. Colonial wars between European powers appeared regularly, often exchanging on the metropolitan territory. And to go into the tangled web of St. Petersburg did not want to.
Therefore Alaska mastered mainly "private entrepreneurs". Of all the fishermen who sailed to these shores, it was the most successful company Grigoriya Shelihova, which gradually absorbed all the competitors. In captivity, a promising area he actively assisted in-law - a young Petersburg official Nikolai Rezanov, lobby for the interests of the family business in the capital. After the death of Shelikhov Rezanov became the largest owner of the company, and in 1799-m Paul I signed a decree on the establishment of the Russian American Company based enterprise Shelikhov.
The idea CANCER copied from the British giants - such as the East India Company. Cancer does not just have exclusive monopoly rights and on the development of Alaska, but all the power in these areas, carrying out the administrative and judicial functions on behalf of the emperor. At the same time the city was founded and the New Archangel (present-day Sitka), which became the capital of the Russian possessions in America. First the governor of all the Russian settlements in the New World was Alexander Baranov.
However, arriving at New Archangel few years later, Rezanov found a settlement in a deplorable state. The colonists did not have enough food - they brought across Siberia, much of the provisions corny port. At the same time in New Archangel looked and American trader Dzhon Vulf with a load of food. Rezanov bought not only goods, but also the ship named "Juno." The second vessel - the name "Avos" - was built already in place.
Almost Russian Hawaii
On these two ships Rezanov went to the Spanish at the time, California. His goal was to find out the situation on the spot and organize a direct supply of food products. The enterprise was complicated by the political situation in Europe. In California, a Russian traveler arrived in March 1806 year. The battle at Austerlitz had just died down, and although in December Russia entered into peace with France, it was clear to everyone that Alexander I was gravitating toward the anti-Napoleonic coalition. Spain, on the other hand, was an ally of Paris. The news of the beginning of a new war could overtake Rezanov directly in California, so in addition to the main mission, he also served as a spy.
In his diary, Rezanov noted that beat the Spaniards in California and take the land in the event of war will not be difficult. In the meantime there is no war, he had previously agreed on the construction of Russian settlement near San Francisco. It emerged later fortress Fort Ross was supposed to supply the Alaskan settlement products.
Of course, the success of the mission and contributed to the romance between widowed by the time Rezanov (the daughter of a merchant Shelikhov died four years before that of puerperal fever) and sixteen Maria Arguello, the daughter of the commandant of San Francisco. The further fate of Rezanova well known for the popular rock opera: the marriage between a Russian traveler and the Spanish beauty does not take place, and the Nikolai Rezanov perish on the way back to St. Petersburg.
The main ruler Baranov also did not waste time, and in 1812, by his order, the very fortress Ross was founded. And in 1815, on the orders of the same Baranov to Hawaii, a German went to the Russian service, Dr. Georg Schaeffer. King Kameame I during this period actively fought for the unification of the islands under his rule, and he needed allies. In exchange for military aid, he was ready to recognize Hawaii as Russia's protectorate. This idea was actively supported by the RAC, but Tsar Alexander rejected the project and even scolded the RAC for unrest. An inheritance from those times on the island of Kauai in the modern American state of Hawaii is the Elizabethan fortress, built by Russian colonists.
In 1824, the ruler of the office of the Russian American company was the future Decembrist Kondraty Ryleev, who fanatically defended the idea of developing the Pacific coast of America from Alaska to California with Russian hands followed by annexation. But for Petersburg, the implementation of such projects meant a virtually guaranteed war with half of the European powers and completely spoiled relations with the young North American states. In addition, the resources for such expansion were frankly lacking: the entire Russian population of North America in the best of times did not exceed several thousand people.
At the same time the efforts of the St. Petersburg office CANCER Ryleeva turned into a nest of conspirators. It was there that planned a coup to overthrow the monarchy, seized power and other illegal actions. And no wonder that Nicholas I, suppressing his attempt to overthrow to the RAC strongly cooled.
With the accession of Nicholas I began another important process, subsequently made a sale inevitable colonies. If in the time of Paul and Aleksandra Rak manage complex symbiosis of officials and merchants, then at Nicholas for the first roles have started to leave the military, which did not have the proper trading acumen and managerial talent needed for the development of the Russian colonies.
In parallel, began to decrease and livestock furry animals - both because of the vigorous activity of Russian fishermen, and the fault of foreign poachers. There have been several attempts to establish a supply of ice and forests in California, but the company did not have a success, although the Boston merchants at the same time, floated the ice as much in Australia.
The company is rapidly overgrown debts. In the 1841-m was sold Fort Ross in California, did not become profitable - cheaper to buy provisions from Californians than to maintain its own production. But the saddest thing is that the money for the sale of its Russian colony and has not received. At first he tried to deceive the treasury buyer, and when seized of California called the new land owner responsible, representative CANCER Uilyam Syuard, the missing amount, simply disappeared with the money in an unknown direction.
Under the threat of a gold rush
In the early 1850-s idea of the necessity of sale of Russian possessions in North America expressed the governor of Eastern Siberia Nikolai Muraviev-Amur. At that time, it is not supported. But beginning in 1853, the Crimean War made the situation more and more complicated - the British would have had no trouble to knock stubby Russian forces from the continent.
In order to protect the Russian possessions, the king's diplomats in Washington built a storm of activity, the benefit of strengthening the UK in the north of the continent did not fit into Washington's plans for the future of America. Enough to guide the country's young and hot-heads who thought that the beginning of the war in Europe - an opportunity to beat the English even from Canada and bring the joy of the oppressed colonists crown of the United States democracy.
As a result, an agreement was reached between Russia and the United States on fictitious lease of Alaska for a period of three years. Thus, any British core launched in the direction of Novo-Arkhangelsk could be regarded as an aggression against the United States with all the attendant consequences for the British. However, the lease transaction did not take place: after learning about the ongoing negotiations, the Hudson's Bay Company (the English equivalent of the CANC, operating in Canada) offered the Russian American company to conclude a separate peace, and the need for fictitious renting simply fell away. All reasonable people in Petersburg understood that Russia was frankly fortunate enough to play on the contradictions between Washington and London, but in the future this land could become a reason for contention not only with the British, but also with the Americans.
By that time in St. Petersburg already knew about the large reserves of gold and other valuable minerals in the Russian New World. But they can learn, no one understood. Meanwhile, deposits of the north sooner or later would have learned everything, and in Alaska would have directed numerous fortune seekers. The California gold rush attracted about 300 thousand miners. Alaska, guarded count the number of Russian bayonets, could draw a little less.
Even Americans who develop Alaska was much easier to keep the secret of the riches of the peninsula 30 years, understanding the possible consequences.
Bargaining is appropriate
At the same time, active work of Muraviev-Amur and Count Ignatiev greatly expanded Russian possessions in the Far East. These lands are also in need of development and protection from attacks by other powers. And if Nicholas I, rastsenivaya Alaska as a "suitcase without a handle," continued to endure the losing CANCER, because "where once raised the Russian flag, there he goes down must not" that came to him on Alexander II succeeded his brother Konstantin held very different views .
After the Crimean War, the country was exhausted financially and losing CANCER hung on the neck of the state additional weight. Harness the land of the New World it was not openly at that, and the question was only how it is to lose Alaska - voluntarily and for a full-fledged dollar or forced, as a result of military action.
The main proponent of concessions Alaska was Grand Duke Konstantin Nikolayevich. He was supported by Finance Minister Michael Reitern. After some hesitation, they were joined by Foreign Minister Alexander Gorchakov. December 16 1866, the meeting was held, attended by the Emperor, the said persons, as well as US Ambassador Eduard Stoeckl and naval Minister Nikolay Krabbe.
It is significant that the representatives of the RAC for this meeting has not even called - its initiative frankly irritated Petersburg. The results of the meeting were predetermined, agreed in parallel and the figure - the minimum amount for which the Empire was ready to give up their overseas possessions, was 5 million rubles. Stoeckl equipping these simple instructions, seconded him back to Washington.
In the United States, the capital of the Russian envoy arrived in early March, managed to become seriously ill on the road. Most of the months he spent in bed, but not even leaving home, successfully negotiated with American colleagues and, above all, with Secretary of State Seward.
Uilyam Syuard was the principal supporter of the idea of the United States spread to the Americas, in addition, thanks to the glass, he was well aware of the natural resources of Alaska. In general, offer more than Petersburg are interested in, and a few rounds of the royal messenger was able to raise the price to 7 million. Stoeckl also wanted to impose on the US debt cancer, but that he could not - agreed on additional 200 thousand. Thus, the Russian envoy turned to increase the minimum amount of almost one and a half times.
Was persuaded to purchase the US Congress, but to tell the American Parliament on the benefits of buying nobody wanted - the amount of 7 200 thousand million for impoverished US war was more than sensitive.
Meanwhile, from St. Petersburg came to the final text of the agreement (by the way, courtesy of the Department of State has paid an amount of 10 thousand dollars for the use of the Russian consulate telegraph during negotiation of the document). Around midnight Stoeckl ran with the document home to Seward, who whiled away Friday evening, playing whist with your family. Secretary of State, who sought to ratify the agreement in the Congress before the start of spring break, suggested not to wait until morning, and gather in his office in a couple hours.
"This country will destroy corruption"
The same night, in the presence of Stoeckl, Seward, several employees of the consulate and the State Department, as well as the head of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Charles Sumner, the contract was signed. At the same time, Sumner and President Andrew Johnson were more likely to trust Seward's opinion that they did not understand the real benefits of buying Alaska. In addition, unlike the appointed Seward official, elected politicians were forced to look at public opinion: the civil war ended less than two years ago, and America had little more money than the devastated Crimean War and the costly reforms of Alexander II of Russia.
Seward had to use all their influence in the Republican Party, to push through the treaty through Parliament as soon as possible. Saturday, 30 March was the last day of the Congress before the start of the holiday, and the contract was imposed specifically for ratification before the holidays - in order to deprive the opposition of the possibility of drowning document in endless discussions. Parliamentarians really want to part from Washington, and President Johnson, knowing it specifically extended the work of the congress because of the deal with the Russian.
But Seward vote still not enough: the American public was opposed to the purchase. And while the state secretary, the president and Senator Sumner called for party discipline, Baron Stoeckl handing out bribes to congressmen - they took about 400 000 dollars, but, apparently, half of this amount is banal Baron put in your pocket.
The American press managed to call Alaska "Seward's refrigerator" and note the violent activities of the Russian envoy for corrupting US senior officials - there were shouts that the parliament was bought trivially by the Russians. On the other side of the ocean, in St. Petersburg, the reverse process took off: Glass was accused of taking bribes from the Americans, so he allegedly told the Russian tsar and the minister Gorchakov to sell Russian lands. The Russian nobility, accustomed to a fairly easy expansion, still lived according to the Nicholas maxim: "Where the Russian flag is raised, it should not go down there."
It is because of the fact that the refusal of Russia from Alaska was really painful, and there were many subsequent myths, including the one that the promised money has not arrived in Petersburg (in fact, these 7 million railway equipment was purchased in England).
With Eduard Stoeckl sale colonies altogether played a cruel joke. So successfully carried out the transaction, which Baron implemented as soon as possible by raising the initial price in half, put an end to his diplomatic career. The Upper Light never forgave him "betrayal", and a year later he was forced to resign.
Tsar Alexander thanked his envoy single premium of 25 thousand rubles and an annual pension of 6 thousand. Remained and the money allegedly spent on bribes to congressmen. The rest of his life he lived Russian ambassador in Paris.
The fact that the colonies are sold in New Archangel learned in May. The last Russian governor of these territories Prince Maksutov refused to participate in the ceremony of transfer of land, which was scheduled for October 18 1867 years. The Russian side was represented at the end of the second rank captain Alexei Peshchurov.
In a solemn ceremony the flag of the Russian Empire was launched. New Archangel in Sitka renamed (by the name of the island on which the city is located). History of the Russian Empire in the New World over.