Many people have written about the history of the Russian-American Company (RAC), some for scholars, others for a lay audience. Numerous writers have been Americans and Europeans who have had access to the records of the RAC that are held in the U.S. National Archives. But more records-preserved in Russia-were rarely accessible to Western scholars until the end of the Cold War. Dr. Andrei V. Grinëëv is one of the leading authorities on the history of Russian America. In the past two decades he has published two monographs, ten chapters in the three-volume Istoriya Russkoi Ameriki [The History of Russian America], and seventy-five articles in Russian, English, and Japanese. He writes not just about the Europeans who settled in Russia's transoceanic territories but also about Native Americans. Many of his works are unique in that he draws on both the ethnography and history of Native Americans. With regard to Russian America, he deals not only with the policies of governments and companies but with individuals as well. In pursuit of this task, Grinëëv has now written a book about everyone who had connections with Russian America. It contains more than 5,800 biographical sketches and was published in 2009. In the work below, he analyzes the writings of scholars who have tried to unravel historical details about individuals, companies, and governments that related to the Russian-American Company.
This article was translated from Russian. Since a great deal of Russian literature is cited, it is important to understand the form of transliteration used with these titles. For a detailed description of the transliteration, please see the Translator's Note in the appendix.