The Problem of Classification of Vessels of the Russian-American Company in Russian Historiography

in Sibirica

Sailing ships played a significant role in the colonization of Alaska during the Russian period (1741–1867). However, classifying them is sometimes very difficult because the historical sources are very scarce and even contradictory. These difficulties lead to many errors in classification of specific vessels on the pages of scholarly literature. In addition, some authors have poor knowledge of maritime affairs. As a result, “frigatomania” is especially frequently encountered in Russian (occasionally in American) historiography. A correct classification of the ships allows us to better understand the scale of colonial expansion.