Steamships of the Russian-American Company, 1839–1867

By Andrei V. Grinëv, published November 2016

Abstract

This article analyses the development of steamship construction and the operation of steamships in the former Russian colonies in Alaska in 1838–67. This aspect of the economy of Russian America proceeded with the active co-operation of representatives of the United States and their technical support. The first steamship Nikolai I was completed in 1839 at Novo-Arkhangel’sk. The shipyard established an expertise in building and repairing steamships, supplying the majority of vessels in the Russian–American Company fleet. Steamships in the Russian–American Company were always in the minority compared to sailing ships, but their number gradually increased. At the end of existence of Russian America in 1867 they amounted to more than a third of all ships of the company and about half of the overall colonial flotilla, contributing to the technical and economic development of the most distant corners of the Russian empire. The first steamship Nikolai I was built in 1838–1839 at Novo-Arkhangel’sk.

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Filed under: Other (Nineteenth C) | Pacific
Subjects include: Merchant Marines | Science & Exploration | Shipbuilding & Design

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