Author: O. Kriuchkova
In 3 volumes. Vol. II, 479 p.; Vol. III, 560 p. Moscow, Mezhdunarodnyie Otnoshenia, 1999.
In Russia, the two remaining volumes of a three volume edition of A History of Russian America 1 have been published to mark 200 years of the foundation of the Russo-American Company 2 . Thus, Russian historiography and American studies have been enhanced by an encyclopedic work, unique by the vast material and by the extent of the sources and literature used.
Volume II focuses on the period since 1799 to 1825 and is devoted to studies of the activity of the Russian-American Company at the time it flourished. Analyzing the motives of Company's foundation the authors have all the reason to point out that it "grew from the natural capitalist trend to monopolize business", which fully corresponded to the goals of the czarist government for "monopoly entirely matched the social regime then existing in Russia". A unique and strong organization enabled the czarism to effectively solve the problems of its own expansion and oppose foreign competitors in the northern part of the Pacific (p. 15). "This combination of interests of the national entrepreneurs and czarist bureaucracy resulted in that RAC, formally a private organization, was in fact a sui generis branch of the state apparatus" (p. 16).
That period saw a considerable expansion of Russian settlements in America. Of great importance was the foundation of Novo-Arkhangelsk on the Sitka Island in 1804 and of the Fort Ross in California in 1812.
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