Why Russia sold Alaska, and what happened to the money

Why Russia sold Alaska, and what happened to the money

Half a century has passed since one of the largest in the history of transactions for the purchase of land by one State to another, but still her circumstances cause hot comments, as if this event happened recently.

subsidized colony

The northwestern part of North America was discovered by Russian sailors in 1732. At the end of the XVIII century in the Aleutian Islands and the coast of Alaska it was founded first Russian settlements. In 1799 Emperor Paul I approved the charter of the Russian-American Company (RAC), which provides a monopoly on the development of the coast of America, and trade with the natives.

The main item of income has been the resale CANCER furs produced barter and direct robbery of the natives, on the Asian and European markets. RAC had no incentive or desire to develop an area of ​​more than half a million square kilometers, which formally owned. She has not done anything for reconnoitering other natural resources of Alaska, in addition to the bellows. Colony climate was not suitable for its agricultural development. After removing the first "cream", the company has to bear the loss. In the 50 years of XIX century, the state began to pay CANCER annual subsidy in the amount of 200 thousand rubles in silver.

The Achilles heel of

The Crimean War of 1853-1856., When the Anglo-French fleet bombarded with impunity, Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, and then captured and burned the city to make a landing, found a huge vulnerability of Russia distant possessions. Russian America was not damaged at the time only because the RAC managed to agree on a similar neutrality her British Hudson's Bay Company, develop Western Canada.

CANCER administration has been unable to secure Russia's sovereignty over a vast area of ​​Alaska. Within the Russian possessions freely hunted and settled British and American whalers and hunters for fur-bearing animals. There was a threat that Russian America will spur of the moment captured by aliens.

The new and more promising colonies

In the late 1850s, Russia has found a new colony in Alaska is much closer and much more favorable for development. First of all, it was the Far East. After the expedition Gennady Nevelsky Rear Admiral in the 1849-55 biennium. to the mouth of the Amur River began the foundation of Russian settlements on Sakhalin. In 1858, the East Siberian Governor-General Count Nikolay Muravyov, taking advantage of China's defeat in the war with Britain and France, China imposed Aigun an agreement under which the Russian border passed along the Amur River from China. In 1860, China signed with Russia Beijing an agreement under which Russia takes over the well and Primorye.

In the 50 years of XIX century in Russia were annexed land this East Kazakhstan (Seven Rivers) and the Syr Darya valley, and in the early 60s. - South Kazakhstan. Russia was going to continue its expansion in Central Asia. All these new territories were much cheaper and more promising for mass colonization and promised a lot more benefits than keeping a distant, cold and losing Alaska.

Budget deficit

The abolition of serfdom and other great reforms of the 1860s. demanded the state budget strain. In 1866, Finance Minister Count Mikhail Reitern presented to Emperor Alexander II report, from which it was clear that the Treasury must go to the regime of austerity and reject insufficiently justified expenditure. In addition, it needed a foreign loan for three years in the amount of 45 million. Rubles. Sale of Alaska can significantly reduce the size of the loan.

to Alaska is not got England

The question of the sale of Russian America was raised from various quarters as early as the 1850s. Ants Count, whose cancer was directly subordinate, even in 1853, Nicholas I offered to sell Alaska, pointing out the importance of the Far East. In 1854, the US-Russian trading company in San Francisco offered CANCER fictitious transaction of sale of Alaska in order to prevent its occupation by Britain for a period of three years up to 7, 6 million dollars. (Money then to be returned, if the RAC wanted to repossess Alaska). After the Crimean War, Hudson's Bay Company proposed, although not very definitely buy Alaska for the equivalent of 15-20 million. Dollars. The decision of the Russian government to sell Alaska to the United States of America is the decisive role played by the desire to annoy the English - his main "geopolitical competitors" - even without getting the money that could get for its sale England. The US ruling circles were aware of this, and therefore showed a lack of interest, hoping to reduce the price. They had a lot of cajoling.

Sell in whatever was

The main initiator of the sale of Alaska made the younger brother of the Emperor, Grand Duke Konstantin Nikolaevich, even in 1857, insists on the immediate transaction with the United States. In a meeting with Alexander II December 16, 1866 it was finally decided to sell Alaska for a price of not less than 5 million. Dollars in gold. Russian envoy in Washington, Baron Edouard Stoeckl received the appropriate authority. He was supposed to 25 thousand dollars in fees in the case of a successful transaction.

The corresponding agreement was signed in 1867, and then approved by the US Senate. Purchase price - 7, 2 million dollars -. was higher than the minimum expected by the Russian government, but lower than the price for which Alaska could sell more thirteen years ago. Persistently called the amount of 144 thousand dollars, which Baron Stoeckl allegedly spent on bribing some senators to get them to the ratification of the treaty. But rumors of bribery documented has never been confirmed.

The money was spent on railway construction and reimbursement

After the transaction, Baron Stoeckl received his name check for the required amount. There is a legend that on the check was purchased gold in England, but carrying this gold barque "Orkney" sank in 1868 with the whole load. There truly is that the bark of the same name existed. However, he did not sink and floated back in 1871. There are precise data on how many and where Baron Stoeckl spent the money received from the federal US Treasury. The Russian currency purchase price puts the sum of 12,868,724 rubles 50 kopecks. Of these, 1,423,503, 69 rubles was transferred to the RAC for the payment of dividends to shareholders. 10972238, 04 rubles were placed on the personal accounts of the Baron Stoeckl in foreign banks and spent in 1871 for the purchase of supplies for the construction of two main state-owned railways Moscow-Kursk-Kiev and Moscow-Ryazan-Kozlov. 390 243, 90 rubles in cash to the State Treasury of Russia.

That leaves 82 737, 87 rubles costs associated with the elimination of the colony. This, obviously, includes commissions and glass. How he got further in the form of interest on the amount originally invested in his name in foreign banks, is unknown.