This website is part of The New York Public Library's Online Exhibition Archive. For current classes, programs, and exhibitions, please visit
Russia Engages the World, 1453-1825
1453 Through the Reign of Ivan the Terrible (1533-1584) The Time of Troubles to the First Romanovs (1598-1682) Peter the Great and His Legacy (1682-1762) The Age of Catherine the Great (1762-1801) The Reign of Emperor Alexander I (1801-1825)


Explore this Section:

The Age of Catherine the Great: A Summary of Russian History
Russia Symbol Introduction
Russia Symbol The Husband
Russia Symbol The Enlightened Absolutist Monarch
Russia Symbol Catherine's Foreign Policy
Russia Symbol Paul I
The Age of Catherine the Great: A Summary of World History
The Americas

Russia's Globalization:
A Key

Events marked Russia Symbol are specific to Muscovy/Russia's internal development.
Those marked World Symbol are important world historical or cultural events.
Engagement Symbol indicates specific points of sociocultural or military engagement between Muscovy/Russia and foreign powers or individuals.



   Russian Merchant to the Americas

   Photographic Services & Permissions
  Grigorii Ivanovich Shelekhov (1748–1795)
Rossiiskago kuptsa Grigor’ia Shelekhova stranstvovanie v 1783 godu iz Okhotska po Vostochnomu Okeanu k Amerikanskim beregam [An Account of the Journeys of the Russian Merchant Grigorii Shelekhov in 1783 from Okhotsk on the Eastern Pacific Ocean to the Shores of America]
St. Petersburg: V.S., 1791–92
NYPL, Slavic and Baltic Division

Grigorii Shelekhov, a merchant based in Okhotsk in Siberia, traveled in 1783 to Kodiak Island off the southern coast of Alaska, where he established the first permanent Russian settlement in the New World as a base for his fur-trading enterprise. His official report gives a vivid if highly embellished account of his exploits. The frontispiece engraving glorifies his accomplishment in the contemporary idiom of classical allegory. The verse in the caption is an adaptation of lines published in 1761 by the polymath Mikhail Lomonosov (1711–1765) prophesying the appearance of “Russian Christopher Columbuses” such as Shelekhov.