Russia's Colony

Gregorii Shelikhov (1748-1793)

Born in Ryl'sk, a trading center, migrated to Siberia at age 25 where he became an agent for a merchant from his home region, Ivan Golikov. In 1774 he traveled to Okhotsk where he began to take part in fur trading expeditions to the Kuriles and the Aleutians. In 1784 he established the first permanent Russian post in North America, on Kodiak Island. Upon his return to Russia he urged the tsarina to become actively engaged in development of trade opportunities in America; he was not successful. Shelikhov died unexpectedly in 1795, but his widow held his company together, and it became the nucleus of the government-created monopoly Russian American Company in 1799.