January 1, 1766
A leader named Solovief heard of the death of his fellow Russian hunters at the hands of the Aleuts the preceding year and set out to teach the natives their place once and for all, and conducted a brutal campaign that led to the death of 3,000 natives.
Word that the native people of the Aleutians had dared to take the
initiative against the Russians spread among the fur hunters and
eventually led to the final domination of the natives. A leader named
Solovief heard of the death of his fellow Russian hunters at the hands of
the Aleuts the preceding year and set out to teach the natives their place
once and for all. He first put his own camp and men in order and
discipline. Without strict adherence to the rules he set, there could be no
success in revenging his people.
The natives attacked Solovief and his men and were driven back
with heavy losses. One hundred Aleuts were killed; their boats were
smashed. Then Solovief joined forces with several other companies of
promyshlenniks until a substantial, though ragtag, force of arms and men
resembled a small army. A blood-thirsty scourge of the islands ensued.
Isolated settlements were destroyed and burned to ashes. Families were
routed and killed. Tools, boats, and food were ruined. Elimination, not
subjugation, of the native became the primary goal of the attacks.
Finally, Solovief led his forces to a fortified Aleut village of 300 and
proceeded to attack the natives in full strength. Bows and arrows were no
defense against the firearms of the Russians. No doubt about the outcome
existed, even among the natives. The Russians filled bladders with
gunpowder and blew up the log foundations of the village walls and
houses. The natives had no chance and were quickly routed and
slaughtered by the promyshlenniks. Perhaps as many as 3,000 Aleuts were
killed during all the Solovief scourges. The exact number of deaths
cannot be known, but the unrelenting savagery of the traders was clear.
Solovief once experimented with the power of his musket by tying twelve
natives together, one behind the other. He fired the rifle at point-blank
range to learn that the bullet stopped with the ninth man. The Aleuts
never attacked the fur hunters again.
The crude reign of Solovief in 1766 ended the free life of the Aleut
people. No longer could the native people live in their own land without
paying tribute in money, skins, work, and lives to the strangers from
across the sea. Their skill as hunters was exploited beyond reasonable