The Russian American
Company flag was authorized under Czar Alexander I in 1806. It was the
first special flag granted by the Russian Government to any private
company. The proposal to establish the flag was submitted by the
Minister of Trade N. R. Rumiantsev, who devoted much attention to the
Company and personally financed several scientific expeditions. (Port
Rumiantsev, the Russian shipping and harbor facility at Bodega Bay was
later named for him.) The flag was granted on September 19, 1806 by
the St. Petersburg offices. The RAC flag was authorized to be raised
over Russian fortifications and on Company ships in place of naval
flags. This gave special recognition to the Company in the
international trade world. The flag flew over all Russian American
Company settlements, including Fort Ross. The RAC flag has three
stripes, the lower red, the middle blue, and the upper and wider
Painted on the flag is the Russian imperial crest, the double headed
eagle. A ribbon hanging from the talons of the eagle is the
inscription 'Russo-American Company'. On the breast of the double
headed eagle is a square with a red shield and St. George on a white
steed looking to the left. Between 1818 and 1831 a professional artist
was hired by the Company specially to make and draw the emblem on the
flags. The Company used six to ten flags annually.
Flags were probably flown on a daily basis at the Ross Colony and in
Alaska. Certainly, they were always flown for special occasions such
as the arrival of ships and visiting dignitaries, and celebrations of
flag flew over Alaska until October 18th, 1867 when all Russian
American Company holdings in Alaska were sold to the United States
Flag making is a great project for the class. Students can fly their
flag in the classroom or on outings. Use heavy cloth (or even a large
piece of paper) for the backing and either sew or paint the eagle and
emblem. The kids could also create and design their own company flag.
A flag salute in honor of the Russian American Company read by the
militia group of Mrs. Louise Menezes of Pleasant Valley School in
Novato was a wonderful touch in raising your Class flag at Fort Ross.
During 1812 to 1840, the Russian American Company years at Colony
Ross, the United States Flag was a thirteen star flag. The thirteen
star flag was in a row design of 4 stars, five stars, and four stars.
The stars and stripes represented the original 13 states: Delaware,
Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Georgia, Connecticut, Massachusetts,
Maryland, South Carolina, New Hampshire, Virginia, New York, North
Carolina, and Rhode Island.
For more information on the United
A Russian American Company Flag
This flag salute was read by the
Environmental Living Program class of Louise Menezes of Pleasant
Valley School in Novato. The militia brought everyone to the flag
pole. They had red sashes and stood at attention. Three militia were
at the flagpole ready to raise the class flag. Four students each read
one of these lines. For the Fort Ross Staff and the parents this was a
very touching moment.
Nearly 188 years ago a brave group of Russians and Aleuts arrived
here and began construction of this fort.
The highest point in their new fort was the flagpole and from it
flew their flag letting all who might see it know that this was
their fort and they were ready to defend it against all enemies and
We are honored to raise our flag in the same place with the same
sense of pride that the founders of this fort must have felt.
Today, we the students and parents of Pleasant Valley School take
our place behind these brave explorers and hunters.
As the militia lowered the flag, they
once again took their places. There was an aire of sadness as the
group was ready to depart Colony Ross, a place where these students
took ownership in their hearts and minds. Again, a very touching
Before we lower the Pleasant Valley flag that has flown over the
fort the past day, we would like to thank all the parents who helped
in our adventure.
And a very special thank you to Ms. Natalie Ivanov (also known as
our fearless leader Ms. Menezes) for her energy and dedication to
this great program.
For those gathered here, please stand at attention and be silent
during the lowering of the flag. Militia lower the flag.
The lowering of our flag signifies the end of our time at Fort Ross.
may our memories of our time here live on forever. At the count of
3, let's say good bye in Russian. 1 -2 -3 Dosvidania!