Baranof in Alaska


Aleksandr Andreevich Baranov (Baranoff)
Portrait of Aleksandr Andreevich Baranov, first Russian Chief Manager of Alaska, 1790-1818.
Baranov was aggressive and determined as the manager and governor. One of his first acts was to extend the colony into Southeast Alaska. At first the Tlingit Indians there welcomed the Russians. But in 1802 the Tlingit attacked the Russian post in Sitka, killing perhaps as many as eighty Russians and Aleuts. A British trading ship rescued some others and charged Baranov a fee to get them back. Baranov considered the Tlingit attack as merely a temporary setback and soon returned to Southeast with a force of several hundred Aleut hunters. When he arrived at the location of his original post, he learned the Indians had moved to a more easily defended location and had erected a formidable fortress. Baranov would have had great difficulty re-taking the post with the weapons he had. Luckily for him a Russian naval ship, the Neva, was waiting to help, armed with a number of cannons.