Why Russia sold Alaska to the United States ?

December 2, 2013

 

In March 30, 1867 Russia sold Alaska territory to the United States of America in an amount of 7,200,000 million.

 

Yes you read it right, was sold for 7 million dollars of that time.

In front a statement like this, result completely inevitable attempt to understand the causes that led both countries to engage in such transaction.

At first it can be said that Russian merchants were attracted primarily to Alaska because the walrus ivory, the price was not less than the one extracted from the elephant one, and also by the precious sea otter pelts that they got to barter with the natives.

 

In the main capital, Novoarjánguelsk (now Sitka) , developed a major shopping center of Chinese fabrics , tea , coal and even the ice that was used in the U.S. before refrigerators were invented.

 

Still, in the nineteenth century, Russia perceived territory of 1,518,800 square kilometers of dimension as a huge unproductive land, remote - vacant, difficult to colonize virtually indefensible in terms of sovereignty.

 

It is important to consider that in the same period the Crimean War broke out, in which Russia fought against England, France and Turkey. With this War it became clear that the country would not be able to supply and protect sea lanes if Alaska were controlled by Allied ships.

 

It is in this critical scenario that Russia decided to sell this territory, because in front of the option to lose their sovereignty and the alternative of selling the land , the second proposal resulted much more attractive to Eduard Andreevich Stoeckl, manager of the transaction Custom Zar Alexander II.


There were two potential buyers: Britain and the United States. The second was the most promising, even considering the outbreak of the American Civil War, which of course interrupted negotiations.
 

For the States, the geographical proximity to the territory gave them a   special interest in the region, a fully justified profit.
 

The trade deal was led by Secretary of State William H. Seward who conducted the negotiations on behalf of the United States.

At the time of purchase, this was called very derogatory by the population. Phrases such as “Seward’s madness",  "Seward Refrigerator" or” Polar Bears Park " became very popular statements .

 

All this due for certain political sector gave the impression that it was unwise to spend so much money in such a remote region.
 

Now days, the truth is that Alaska over time was explored and re- discovered , proving to be an area of ​​vast wilderness , fertile soils, rich in metals and minerals, including gold deposits and even usufruct of the most precious commodity globally  the famous black gold or "oil."

 

 

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