II. COASTAL EXPLORATION (continued)
J. THE RUSSIANS OFF the HUMBOLDT COAST
The Russians, in the years 1803-1805, had reconnoitered the Humboldt Coast. In 1805-1806 Nikolai Resanov, the Russian Imperial Chamberlain, visited New Archangel and the California coast. This led the Tsar's government to adopt a twofold course of action. On one hand steps were taken to develop trade with the Spanish settlements in California, and on the other an expedition would be fitted out to establish a Russian settlement, which could serve as a base of supplies for their Alaskan bases. A trusted official of the Russian-American Company, Ivan Kuskov, accordingly outfitted a ship. While the purpose of the expedition was said to be the hunting of sea otter, Kuskov was to pinpoint a site for the projected settlement. Sailing from New Archangel, in October 1808, Kuskov took his vessel down the coast, making his first landing on Trinidad Bay.
The Russians found the sea otter population decimated and the Indian villages deserted. Unimpressed with the area, Kuskov continued southward and anchored in Bodega Bay. For a number of years, the Russians occupied Fort Ross and Bodega Bay, but the Humboldt Coast appears to have held no attraction. There is no record of any Russian visits to that region, after Kuskov's voyage in the vessel Kodiak. 
Last Updated: 15-Jan-2004