Virtual Tour of Fort Ross, California | Totma | Vologda
Fort Ross in northern California, once the southernmost outpost of the Russian empire in the Americas was founded by Totma native Ivan Kuskov (Vologda Region).
In 1812 the first Russian colony appeared in California. Twenty-five Russians along with 80 Aleuts headed by a native of Tot’ma town Ivan Kuskov, Chief Administrator of the Russian-American Company, stepped ashore near the mouth of an unnamed river (which they subsequently named the Slavyanka) and established Fort Ross.
Kuskov made five naval trips to California. On 30 August 1812, the flag of Russia was raised over the completed Fort Ross near what is today San Francisco. Kuskov was able to buy the land where they built the fort for three blanks, three pairs of pants, two axes, three mattocks, and several strings of pearls. The fort was erected in half a year. Ten years later Ivan Kuskov went home, arriving there in 1823 with an Aleut wife. He bought a home, where he died several months later, as the long journey had damaged his health.
The Fort Ross Historic State Park was established in 1906 and includes the restored Rotchev House, built around 1836 for the administrator of the outpost, a reconstruction of the first Russian Orthodox church, the Old Russian cemetery, the Sequoya fortress, and the residence of Ivan Kuskov, first head of Fort Ross. Representing the Russian-American Company to promote fur trade on behalf of Russia, it was from here that he travelled north to build and establish Fort Ross.
At present day Fort Ross revived due to efforts of Russian people living in California and the Russian-American Historical Society in San Francisco, has become the nature reserve of California. Festivals of Russian music and folk art, and theatrical performances take place here.
Today, Fort Ross is a national park where visitors can learn about the daily life of the early Russian settlers.
Russian Geographical Society, Vologda State Museum-Preserve, Vologda Oblast Government present virtual tours "Russian America: from Tot'ma to Fort Ross"