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Regional History
Russia's Colony
Russia Gets some Competition from Spain

Because European countries were in competition with each other for the world's resources, it was inevitable that Russia would have rivals for control of Alaska. Portugal and Spain had been the first countries to send ships from Europe to search for new lands. Not long after Columbus's first voyage to America the two countries agreed to a treaty giving themselves any and all new lands. On the basis of Columbus's and other Spaniards' voyages, Spain claimed nearly all of South and North America.

Soon, however, England and France challenged the Spanish claim in North America. The Spanish were unable to prevent either country from establishing colonies on the east coast of the continent. The Spanish took their earlier claim quite seriously, and when they learned in 1768 that the Russians were establishing hunting camps on the Alaska Peninsula, they quickly planned and set forth a series of maritime expeditions along the North American western coast. They led seven voyages between 1774 and 1792.

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In the end, Spain decided that it was over-extended in America, and settled for California, establishing a boundary with the U. S. along 42 degrees N. latitude, the current Oregon/California border.


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