Russian life and customs of California
It was at Fort Ross in California were first windmills and shipbuilding yards, orchards and vineyards. In addition, the Russian colonists first brought to California many benefits of the developed world, such as window glass. In 1837-1840 Yegor Chernykh conducted the first in California systematic weather observations.
Agriculture, for which the colony and was based, was not a particularly productive in Russia. Greater success reached cattle: in the late 1830s there were 1700 head of cattle, 940 horses and mules, and 900 sheep. Annually more than 800 kg of wool that was exported. Artisans colonies producing furniture, doors, frames, tiles of redwoods, carts, wheels, barrels, "carriage on two wheels", started doing the skin (in the Archangel of each year supplied 70-90 pieces), treated with iron and copper. Build ships, some of which were sold to the Spaniards, who did not have the time here to a single ship. In 1816-1824 built 3 Brig and one Schooner displacement up to 200 tons each, but then shipbuilding acquired a much smaller scale. Orchard Ross was established already in 1814, planting peach trees. In 1817 it was planted vine. By 1841, according to documents compiled when selling fort held garden 2-3 207 acres and include apple, peach 29, 10, pear, cherry 8 and 10 quince trees.
By the 1830s, the three Russian ranch was founded in the vicinity:
- Rancho Peter Kostromitinov on the south bank of the river Slavyanka. It was the largest of the three and includes a large collection of buildings: the master's house, a home for Indian workers, thresher, a barn, a bakery, a blacksmith shop, a bath, a corral, a tobacco warehouse, wine cellar. The basis of the economy was growing wheat.
- Rancho Yegor Chernykh. Was located in the heart of the continent furthest away from the castle, her grown vegetables, fruits, wheat. The ranch also produces wine.
- Vasily Khlebnikov Ranch is located a few kilometers east of Bodega Bay.
The nearest fort convenient harbor was in Bodega Bay about 30 km to the south, where the port was built Rumyantsev. In it the goods were loaded on small vessels and transported to the fortress. In 1828 the population of the colony is 60 Russian, 80 Aleuts and 80 local Indians. By 1836 the population rose slightly to 260 people, most of whom lived on the banks of the river Slavyanka.
The population was multinational: Russian lived here (at different times from 50 to 100 people), brought from Alaska Aleutians (50-125 persons), Creole (up to 1/3 of the total population), Indians of the neighboring tribes, Yakuts, the Finns, the Swedes, and even Polynesians. Many Indians and Aleuts were baptized and good command of the Russian language.
Russian population was represented mostly by men, has signed with the Russian-American company a seven-year contract. Russian women in the colony almost was not, therefore, mixed marriages were particularly common. In 1825 the purchase of the plan drawn up for Ross 25 families of serfs, which would be on arrival to the United States given freedom. He, however, was rejected by the Foreign Minister Karl Nesselrode.