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Russian American Company Flag

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 stripe white.


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 any sort.

The 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 States flag click here

A Russian American Company Flag

Salute

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.

  1. Nearly 188 years ago a brave group of Russians and Aleuts arrived here and began construction of this fort.

  2. 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 intruders.

  3. 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.

  4. 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 moment. 

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. For those gathered here, please stand at attention and be silent during the lowering of the flag. Militia lower the flag.

  4. 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!

 

 

 

Copyright © Fort Ross State Historic Park Interpretation and Education · 707-847-4777 · fortross.interp@parks.ca.gov

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