Outstanding Russian Women in Alaska History

  In the 18th century, a navigator, Gregory Shlekhov, appeared in Russia, organized the “Bering Sea Expedition”, and drove a non-powered sailboat across the Pacific Ocean to Alaska and the nearby islands, which enabled the Russian government to gain control over this issue. The territorial sovereignty of the area of ​​​​1.52 million square kilometers, the Russians began to build residential areas here.
  In the batch of pioneers, there are many people whose names remain on the map forever, such as: Baranov Island, Pribilof Island, Wrangel Island, Admiralty Islands, Tin Teka Island and more. There was once the largest Russian settlement on Wrangel Island, Arkhangelsk, which is also the seat of the Russian government in Alaska.
  Ferdinand Petrovich Wrangel was a famous traveler and one of the chief executives of the Russian government in Alaska. To this day, there are still Wrangel Island, Wrangel Harbor, Wrangel Volcano, Wrangel Spear, etc. Although the United States bought the land for $7.2 million in 1867, Alaska still Speechless about the exploits of Wrangel and others. The names of some Russian women also shine in the museums of the settlements. They have done immortal feats in consolidating and developing this overseas residence.
  Natalia Aleksayevna Shrekhova
  The first great woman was Gregory Shrekhov’s wife, Natalia Aleksayevna Shrekhova Hova. She was originally a rich young widow in Irkutsk. After she met the brave and forthright navigator Shrekhov, she married him without hesitation and invested all the money in the sailing career. Great women also abandoned their easy lives and embarked on a journey full of danger and hardship with their husbands. Frigid Siberia, storms in the Pacific, lack of food, fresh water, and unfriendly Indians and Aleutians. Natalia has been following her husband, giving him the greatest support both materially and spiritually. She became the first white woman, the first Russian woman, to set foot in Alaska and the Aleutian Islands.
  At that time, the Aleutian Islands and Alaska had just been discovered by Shlekhov, and the couple led an expedition to establish settlements here. He also organized the prototype of the Russian American voyage team, and finally died at the age of 48 due to overwork. But Natalia completed his unfinished business. Through her many efforts, the Russian American voyage received official support and received the highest protection and preferential treatment from the Tsar for 20 years. She enabled the voyage to grow and expand Russian influence throughout Alaska and as far away as California.
  Natalia Shrekhova and her children with Gregory Shrekhov were knighted by Pavel I.
  Ekaterina Prokharovna Kuskova
  The second woman named Ekaterina Prokharovna Kuskova, founder of the port of Ross in Arkhangelsk Wife of Wan Kuskov. The husband and wife have worked hard here for 30 years, during which they turned the beach into a center of internal and external trade exchanges with the best shipyards, steamship workshops, and a residential area with developed agriculture and marine fishing. There are churches and schools of all kinds that educate and cultivate cultural skills. Kuskova’s talent for languages ​​is amazing. She taught the children of local Indians to speak Russian in a short period of time, created a special school for them, and used two languages ​​in the school: Russian and local languages. . So she gained the respect and love of the Indians, which the Spaniards in California could not do. They often enslaved and expelled the Indians, who rose up in resistance from time to time and could kill the Spaniards at any time. Spanish immigrants must be accompanied by soldiers when they go to the forest, and any Russian resident in Ross Harbor dares to go hunting and mushroom picking in the forest alone, and even sleep in an Indian tribe with peace of mind when necessary. One Indian tribe even chose a brave and wise Russian, Prahov Yegolov, as its leader, and under his leadership fought bloody battles against the Spaniards.
  There are still some Russian customs in the life of Indians today. For example: the evening party of the youth, the playing of the accordion, some Russian words are preserved in the language, such as wheat, spoon, stocking, etc., all thanks to Kuskova. She also helped the locals convert to the Orthodox Church. A group of staunch Orthodox Christians emerged among the Aleuts. Among them was a holy ascetic, Peter Chouganak, whose faith the Spaniards had tried many times to convert, but who declared on his deathbed: “I am an Orthodox believer, and I will never betray him. own beliefs.”
  Yelena Lotcheva
  The third outstanding woman was Yelena Lotcheva, wife of Lotchev, the chief executive of the Russian regime in Ross Harbor. The people of Ross Harbor were impressed by the couple’s good manners. Yelena Lotcheva (maiden name Gagarina) was born in a noble family, with the appearance and elegant temperament. During her days in Ross Harbor, she continued Kuskova’s career and continued to improve the civilized education of Ross Harbor people. She presided over the construction of the first library, and held regular musical evenings and poetry sessions for young people. She also Actively established good neighborly relations with Spaniards, and for a while, it was an honor for Spaniards to be invited by her. With this good relationship, the Russians actively carried out trade with the Spaniards: the Spanish kings bought ships, farm implements and weapons from the Russians, and even ordered military uniforms for their soldiers; Spaniards buy wheat and other agricultural products.
  Yelena Lotcheva is a brave woman who loves knowledge. She learned their daily customs and beliefs from the Indians, and continued Kuskova’s good relationship with the natives. She also organized a scientific expedition mountaineering team and climbed the Mayyakmas Mountain, which was also called “Saint Yelena Mountain” by Russian scholars, and this name is still used on American maps to this day. There was also an accident on the way back down the mountain, which almost turned the scientific expedition into a death trip. On the way back, the expedition team was caught in an ambush by the Indians. This ambush was organized by an Indian leader who admired Yelena Lotcheva. The Indian leader named Solana was 2 meters tall and was a brutish man. And the ugly strong man has a pockmarked face destroyed by smallpox. He wanted to force Yelena to marry him, and threatened Yelena Lotcheva with the life of the expedition team members. In the end, Marshal Valera of Spain came from California to rescue the lost Russians. This has also become the only conflict between Hong Kong and the locals in the past two decades, and it is full of romantic flavors. It was also this “forced marriage incident” that made Yelena Lotcheva more famous in California, and people began to call her “Princess Yelena”.
  Elizabeth Wrangel
  The fourth outstanding woman was Baroness Elizabeth Wrangel. Her husband, a legendary navigator and traveler, participated in two circumnavigation voyages and held a key position in the Russian government established in Alaska in 1830-1835. When the baroness came to Arkhangelsk with her husband, she was only 20 years old. It should be pointed out that in the 19th century, reaching Alaska from the Russian mainland was not an easy task, requiring crossing Siberia and crossing the Pacific Ocean. There were neither trains, nor luxury cruise ships and transoceanic planes. There was only one route at that time, from Petersburg to the Urals by light carriage, and from here on horseback or on foot through Siberia, the no-man’s land, which required dozens of Siberian rivers and lakes. The water-crossing tool is the simplest flat-bottomed boat, which not only needs to cross people, but also supplies and horses. Along the way, in addition to blood-sucking flying insects and mosquitoes, there are more terrifying taiga attackers: bears, wolves, lynxes and tigers. All food, horses and people are their targets. After arriving at the coastal port of Okhotsk, wait for the few ocean-going ships that cross the Pacific to Alaska. If it goes well, it will take a year. The difficulties along the way are a severe test for men, not to mention a young lady who is pregnant. In the hinterland of Siberia, Baroness Elisabeth Wrangel gave birth to her eldest son, and she accompanied her husband to the post with a baby, which required not only extraordinary courage, but also a firm confidence and perseverance.
  After arriving in Arkhangelsk, Elisabeth relied on her culture, social skills and optimistic personality. She founded various bars, musical evenings, large banquets, and even organized theatrical performances. The lives of Russians in Alaska have been enriched. Those men who have been far away from centuries-old theaters, friend gatherings and hobby salons are no longer Empty, all feel the life and happiness that are only available in the homeland. From aristocratic officers to ordinary soldiers, from new industrialists to local Tlingit people, they all fell in love with Elizabeth. The men were building ships, opening up new continents, building settlements, going out fishing, transporting furs back home, and trading with the Spaniards and the Chinese, while the women were building schools, libraries, and educating Russian children and natives. And professional education, cultivate their knowledge and love of knowledge, music, agriculture, and act as nurses to take care of patients.
  Elizabeth is also very concerned about the medical situation in Alaska and has contributed to the establishment of high-level medical facilities. In the traveler Vasily Zavoyka’s “Sailor’s Impressions”, “…here (Alaska) has a medical center that is no less than Europe, through the current official Ferkinant Petrovi After Chi Wrangel’s technical transformation, there are 30 beds in a beautiful hospital, and the wards are spacious, bright and clean. From a pharmacy with sufficient drugs, uniforms for patients, food supplies and services, it has provided convenience for the common people.” These services were no less than the treatment received by state officials in the Kremlin at the time.
  Because of this, after Elizabeth Wrangel arrived in Alaska, the Indians called the Russians “Gasukbiak”, which means “true white people”, while other Anglo-American Spanish whites were called “Gasukbiak”. Suk” – Ordinary white man.
  There are also many Russian women who came to Alaska and contributed to its development and consolidation. Although they are ordinary, they have extraordinary courage and charm without exception, and they are role models for women in the world.

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