Among the nations that settled California before it became a state were Russians who came to hunt seal and whale along the northern coast. The focus of this trade was Fort Ross, a long-gone settlement in Sonoma County which flourished between 1812 and 1842. In addition to the Russians, many other groups lived and worked in Fort Ross: Siberians, Alaskan and California Indians, African-Americans, Hawaiians and Japanese.
Fort Ross and Russia's role in the development of early California will be explored in an illustrated lecture sponsored by the Sacramento County Historical Society.
The featured speaker is John Allen, an adjunct history professor at Los Rios Community College, who is a former board member of the Fort Ross Interpretive Association and has served as a consulting historian on Fort Ross State Park projects. He's also been a costumed interpreter for many of the park's Living History Day events.
What: The Russians Are Coming: The Unknown Story of Russian California
Where: Sierra Sacramento Valley Medical Society, 5380 Elvas Ave., Sacramento
When: June 26, 7 p.m.
For more info: website
PHOTO CREDIT: Fort Ross, built by the Russians when they hunted the Pacific for whales and seals. At one time this was the easternmost extension of czarist Russia. 1997 Scripps Howard News Service photograph by Thomas R. McDonough