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 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
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.
Camping 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.