The beginning of the nineteenth century opened a new cultural renaissance in the Russian Empire. In 1803, the Russian Empire sent ships on a journey around the world, resulting in some of the most geographic discoveries of the time. The establishment of Russian outposts in Alaska, California and Hawaii demonstrated Russia's potential to be a dominant world power. At the same time, however, events such as the Napoleonic Wars and the Decembrist Uprising of 1825 drew focus away from expansion and towards the rebuilding of Russia. This historical documentary focuses on the experiences of the Russian pioneers at Fort Ross in California, and how the settlement at Ross both integrated with and functioned separately from the Russian Empire. The documentary will also focus on the relationship between the Russians, Spanish and California Native Americans with narration of corresponding primary sources. The film will incorporate interviews with many of the leading Fort Ross specialists: California State Parks senior archaeologists Glenn Farris and Breck Parkman, Professor Kent Lightfoot of UC Berkeley, Professor Jim Gibson of York University in Canada, who led translation work with Russian documents, and several interpreters from the Fort Ross Interpretive Association. Viewers will learn not only about the history of Russians in the new world, but how they experienced and survived in Californian land.


Shaya, Gregory




fort ross, history, documentary, film

Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis



© Copyright 2011 Catherine Trainor