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Updated: Mar 21, 2022

Last night a Russian minister said that that US should return all territory that it stole from Russia. He specifically included Alaska and the territory of Fort Ross in his comment.

Alaska's US Senator responded by saying "Never ever ever". While the state's governor said that the state's armed residents would strongly disagree with the Russian sentiment.

The reference to Fort Ross refers to the fact that much of Northern California actually belonged to Russia. In recent years there has been attempt to erase that history by people promoting the false narrative that the whole state had been part of Mexico for hundreds of years. It was part of Mexico for only 15 years and that was just the southern half of the modern state. The northern half was part of Russian America for about 40 years. The most famous Russian settlement in California was Fort Ross which was built in 1812. The population was composed of Russians, Indigenous Californians, and Alaskans. The name Fort Ross is actually a misspelling of the Russian word for Rus such that the correct pronunciation is Fort Rus, as in Fort Russia. While Fort Ross was built in 1812, the first Russian settlers arrived earlier in 1803.

In the 1840's the colony was alleged to have been sold one John Sutter, an American with Mexican citizenship. However there are no records that the proposed sale was ever actually carried out because no money changed hands. Hence, the Russians insisted at the time and still insist today that the territory still belongs to Russia because neither the Americans nor the Mexicans ever paid the Russians for it. A biography of Sutter said that close to $20,000 was given to an agent of the Russian American Company who chose to make off with the money which never found its way to Russia.

In addition to Northern California, Russia also colonized Hawaii and is now asking that the islands be returned.

If Russia were to try to enforce its claims via military might, that would be one hell of a fight.

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