Historical Event

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Date:

January 1, 1762

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Short Description:

As it appears from reports forwarded by Colonel Plenisner, the Bechevin Company during their voyage to and from the Aleutian Islands on a hunting and trading expedition committed indescribable outrages and abuse on the inhabitants, and even were guilty of murder, inciting the natives to bloody reprisals.

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Title:

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Person:

Arctic Passage

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Pre-civilization races

Important Text:

In 1762 a conflict occurred which marked the turning point of

Aleut-Russian relations. Promyshlenniks patrolled the waters of the Alaska

Peninsula for food and furs and landed on one of the islands. Their

uncivilized attitudes and actions toward the natives were habitual now.

ingrained into their already rough personalities. Suddenly, a group of

well-organized natives attacked and killed two Russians and injured three

others. Another group almost simultaneously attacked the Russian base

camp, killed four more Russians, and wounded four others. The

makeshift shelters were burned to the ground. The Aleuts were clearly

taking the initiative this time. Later in spring, two more intruders from

the east were killed about three and a half miles inland from where their

ship was anchored. This time the Russians killed seven native hostages in

retaliation. In return for this, the Aleuts attacked the Russian camp but

were unsuccessful. Offensive actions by the natives put the Russians in

temporary retreat. They repaired their ship and returned home with their

rich cargo of 900 sea otter pelts and 350 fox skins.


Even in their retreat they continued their outrages. Twenty-five

young native girls were kidnapped from their home island and given the

task of gathering wild berries and roots for the crew. The ship eventually

reached the coast of Kamchatka where fourteen of the twenty-five girls

and six Russians went ashore. Two girls immediately escaped into the

bills. One was killed by the men. On the small-boat trip back to the ship

the remaining eleven girls drowned themselves either in shame or

despair. To protect themselves, the Russians threw all the remaining

natives overboard to drown.


Authorities in St. Petersburg were aware of the atrocities committed

by the unrestrained fur hunters. But authorities were a quarter of the

world distant in the transportation and communication systems of the

eighteenth century. Efforts at checking the lawlessness which represented

the Russian nation to the people of the new world would come later in

the formation of privileged trading companies. But during the decades of

totally free traffic and totally free enterprise, authorities could only issue

stern warnings against the promyshlenniks.

One such warning read in part:


As it appears from reports forwarded by Colonel Plenisner, who was

charged with the investigation and final settlement of the affairs of the

Bechevin Company, that that company during their voyage to and from the

Aleutian Islands on a hunting and trading expedition committed

indescribable outrages and abuse on the inhabitants, and even were guilty

of murder, inciting the natives to bloody reprisals, it is hereby enjoined

upon the company about to sail, and especially upon the master, Ismailov,

and the perevodchik, Lukanin, to see that no such barbarities, plunder and

ravaging of women are committed under any circumstances.


Such warnings were respected until anchor was pulled.

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