Fort Ross

Fort Ross




Location: Healdsburg, CA    Map

Constructed: 1812


Description of Fort Ross

Fort Ross

Fees and permits: A day-use vehicle permit costs $8.


Fort Ross is a historic Russian fortress that was constructed in future state of California to protected South borders of the spreading Russian Empire against Spanish Empire to the South. Fort Ross was found here as a fortress post for the Russian empire in 1812. Fort Ross was intended to safeguard the possessions of the Russian tsars in the New World from competing Spaniards to the south. Napoleon's betrayal of the Spanish kings allowed cooperation between the two countries. Otter hunting and agricultural ventures were chief tasks of the new settlers. However its role was fairly brief and the fort along with surrounding lands was sold in 1841 following decimation of local fauna by international over hunting.


Fort Ross

Fort Ross is the name given in English to a former Russian settlement in what is now Sonoma County, California, United States. The exact origin of the place-name applied by English-speaking Americans is unknown and is supposed to be an alteration of the name given by the Spanish-speaking residents: Russian Fort or a derivation of the diminutive poetic form Rossiyanin (the "Russian" noun - россянин) in Russian. The establishment also received the Russian nicknames of Novy Sevastópol (New Sevastopol) and Nizhni Sevastópol (Lower Sevastopol), although such names have not been found in Russian official documents. On the other hand, there is a rather ambiguous mention as Krépost Ross (Fort Ross) for the position.

Between 1806 and 1811 Nikolai Rezanov, representative of the Russian-American Company, visited the Spanish prison of the Yerbabuena (now San Francisco) and in view of the weakness of the colonial power of Spain due to the Napoleonic wars and the insurrection of a large part of the colonies, recommended to the Russian government the peaceful occupation of the northern region of Alta California. In 1811 Ivan Aleksandrovich Kuskov an administrator of the aforementioned Russian-American Company explored the coasts of the territory. On September 10, 1812, Kuskov founded the Russian fortress (Krépost Ross) in the bay that the Russians called Rumiántsev seasonal camping area of ​​indigenous tribes, near the Franciscan mission and Sonoma Spanish presidio.

The Russian settlement of Fort Ross was populated by some Russian, Polish (Poland was part of the Russian Empire at the time) and Aleut soldiers, sailors and hunters, to which were added some native Americans, consisting of the initial population of 25 Russians and 80 natives of the American Northwest. It was the most southern site of Russian America inserted in territory already recognized as part of the Spanish Empire by England and then by the United States. The aim of this fort was to be the center of an agricultural area to supply in a continuous way the Russian possessions of Alaska. After 1821, when Alta California became a Mexican province, the Russian fort remained in an undetermined status (populated by subjects of the Russian Empire but with de jure sovereignty uncertain) and with insufficient agricultural yields. This and the fact that in 1841 both England and the United States divided the Oregon involving a significant concrete separation with respect to Alaska (then Russian) as well as a maintenance cost that did not yield enough dividends and an advantageous agreement with the English Hudson Company to supply the Alaskan establishments he had the Russians sell the fort to the still Mexican citizen Sutter. The last Russian settlers left the place on January 1, 1842, and in 1848 by the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, the fort, with all of then-Mexican Alta California, came under the control of the United States.

Later the land was bought by a certain George W. Call; in 1906 the strong earthquake that was noticed mainly in San Francisco affected and destroyed a large part of the facilities; the Call family sold the area (of 1,214 hectares) to the institution California Historical Landmarks (California Historical Sites) that with the help of the Californian state carried out and carried out the tasks of reconstruction and maintenance of the place; in October of 1970 a fire took place so that only the Rótchev house is maintained as an original structure.


Expect a bit of a walk. From the visitor center and parking lot down to the fort proper it is a quarter mile walk. To get down to the beaches expect about a 20- to 30-minute hike.


Where to sleep

There are motels located about a half mile drive further up Highway 1. You can also just camp in your car, although it is not recommended that you do this in the Fort Ross parking lot.

Basic camping facilities are available to the south about a 2-min drive at The Reef Campground. (Pit toilets, camp sites, dirt road, pay phone. Cell phones don't work here.) Open most of the year. Other camp grounds are to the north, 10-20 miles.

Back country
The coastal mountains that tower over the fort have some great hiking trails. Just ask at the visitors center. there are also hiking trails along the bluffs to the north and south of the fort.