Foreign Ships in the Fleet of the Russian–American Company (1799–1867)

By Andrei V. Grinëv, published November 2014


The Russian–American Company fleet (1799–1871) provided communication between the Asian and Baltic ports of Russia and the distant Russian colonies in Alaska and the Aleutian Islands. At the beginning of its existence its fleet consisted exclusively of Russian-built ships, but gradually came to be made up of ships built in England, the United States, Germany and Finland. They surpassed Russian ships in quality and technical specifications. Therefore the company acquired for its needs more than 30 foreign ships, and more than half of them were American two-and three-masted sailing ships. In fact, all the round-the-world ships of the company were of foreign origin. When Alaska was sold to the United States in 1867, ships purchased abroad comprised about 97 per cent of the total tonnage of the company’s fleet.

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Filed under: Baltic | Other (Nineteenth C) | Pacific
Subjects include: Merchant Marines

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