"Farthest Outpost of the Russian Empire" Fort Ross State Historic Park by WulfstanTraveller

Fort Ross, in Sonoma County north of San Francisco, was the primary settlement in the Russian Empire's farthermost expansion into North America. The Russian American Company, with its activities primarily located in Alaska, settled the Sonoma coast in about 1812 in order to provide an additional base for hunting sea otters and as a possible agricultural settlement to provide food to the colonies in Alaska.

The Russians settled in several spots along the coast, but Fort Ross (also Colonia Ross) was the primary settlement. The settlers included both Russians and Aleuts from Alaska. Fort Ross is located on a cove that was the base for Aleut boats used in otter hunting and it included a substantial stockade with artillery.

The Russians eventually abandoned the attempt tp settle California in 1841 and sold the fort.

The commandant's building in the fort is original but the others were rebuilt after years of decay.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Fascinating, unusual footnote in history, beautiful area.
  • Cons:Isolated, with a rather long drive along a windy road.
  • In a nutshell:No other place like it in California.
  • Last visit to Fort Ross State Historic Park: Dec 2003
  • Intro Updated Jan 25, 2008
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