"The Russian Empire's Slaves in Alaska: Forgotten but Not Gone"

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When one thinks of slavery in North America, the first thing that comes to mind is the American South and the Atlantic slave trade. However, slavery was also present in the Russian Empire and its colony of Alaska. Though often forgotten, the slaves of the Russian Empire played a significant role in the development of Alaska.

 

The first recorded instance of slavery in Alaska was in 1745 when a Russian explorer brought back a Native American slave from his expedition. Slavery then became more common in the late 1700s as the Russian fur trade began to take off. Natives were enslaved to work as hunters and trappers and to serve as interpreters and guides. Women were also enslaved and used as domestic servants.

 

The Russian Orthodox Church also owned slaves. Native children were sometimes given to the Church to be raised as Orthodox Christians. These children were known as "catechumens." The Church also owned adult slaves, who were used as laborers on its property.

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Slavery was not officially abolished in Alaska until 1867 when the United States purchased the colony from the Russian Empire. However, even after emancipation, many former slaves remained in servitude to their former owners. It was not until the early 20th century that most Alaska Natives were finally free from slavery.

 

Today, the legacy of Russian slavery in Alaska is largely forgotten. However, it is important to remember the history of these slaves and the role they played in the development of the state. Without them, Alaska would not be the same place it is today.

 

Both the United States and Russia need to continue to work together to build trust and reduce the risk of a nuclear war.