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Glossary of Russian Terms

Russian Phrases are in the appendix

Albion, New Albion - Term used by Russians to refer to Northern California.

Americans - When used by Russians, refers to American natives.

Arroba - Spanish measure, equivalent to 1/4 quintal, 25.3 pounds.

Artel' - Russian. A party of men organized under a leader on cooperative lines for work, hunting, harvesting, fishing, etc.

Arshin - Russian linear measure: 28 inches

Babushka - mature woman or grandmother

Baidara - A large boat

Baidarka - A kayak. Smaller than a baidara, enclosed, with open hatches for one, two or three persons. The Russian American Company  generally used the two-hatch baidarka for hunting, and the three-hatch for transport and exploration. Both are very light and maneuverable craft, easily righted if overturned, propelled with paddles .

Baidarshchik - Has various meanings: baidara construction supervisors, baidara crew overseer, baidara crew, steersman or owner.

Borscht - soup with beets

Charka - Glassful, cupful. 10 charka = 2.16 pints.

Chernozem - Black soil.

Chervonets - Russian currency; a 10-ruble banknote or gold piece.

Chetvert' - Russian measure for dry goods; one chetvert of wheat equalled 49 pounds.

Chief Manager - In Russian, glavnyi pravitel'.

Condorina - Spanish; small gold coin.

Creole - Term used by Russians to refer to a person of mixed Russian and native blood. They were often educated, trained and employed by the Russian American Company in various capacities.

Doroga - road

Desiatina - Russian land measure: 2.7 acres.

Fanega - Spanish grain measure: 0.9 pound; .41 kilogram.

Funt - Russian measure; 0.9 pound; .41 kilogram.

Governing Board - In Russian, glavnoe pravlenie.

Iukola - Siberian term for dried fish, generally salmon, used as a staple in the diet.

Kaiur - A native worker hired or drafted for service by the Russians.

Kalga - Kolosh (Tlingit) term for slave.

Kamleika - A circular waterproof garment made of cured sea mammal gut. Worn in cold or rainy weather, and when hunting at sea. Worn alone or over other garments.

Kartoshka - potatoes

Kazhim - Communal living quarters; men’s barracks for Aleuts, Eskimos or Indians.

Kekur - Siberian term for a cliff or headland jutting out into the sea; in Alaska, a perpendicular cliff just off shore.

Kolosh - Russian term for Tlingit Indians.

Kopeika - 1/100 ruble; about 1/2 cent U.S. in 19th century.

Kot - (with a long 'o') Male cat

Koshka - Female cat

Lavtak - Cured and processed seal or walrus hide, used to make baidaras and baidarkas.

Mololo - Milk

Marki - Russian colonial currency, scrip.

Mednovtsi - Russian term for Copper River Indians.

Morskaya Vydra - Sea Otter.

Office Administrator - In Russian, pravitel kontory.

P.A.K. - Rossiisko-Amerikanskaia Komoaniia (Russian American Company) R.A.C.)

Phratry - Clan divisions, also the animal or other sign under which such a clan is recognized, such as wolf phrarty, raven phrarty, etc. Here applied to Kolosh.

Platok - cloth worn on a woman's head, tied under the chin

Prikashchik - In medieval Russian, Muscovy and later in Siberia, an official of the prikaz, i.e., administrative department. In Alaska, a special agent employed by the Russian American Company, or the supercargo on a ship.

Promyshlennik - Russian term for fur trapper and trader, especially in Siberia and subsequently in Russia’s American colonies.

Pud - Russian measure of weight: 36.11 pounds; 16.38 kilograms.

Quintal - Spanish measure: four arrobas, 101.2 pounds.

R.A.K. - Rossiiski-Amerikanskaia Kompaniia.

Real - Spanish coin, silver.

Reaumur thermometer - A thermometer used in the 18th century; 80 degrees indicates the freezing point of water and 80 degrees the boiling point.

Rovduga - Siberian term for a reindeer hide used for barter. See zamshcha.

Ruble - Russian coin or banknote. In the early 19th century, one ruble equalled U.S. $.50.

Santim - Centime.

Sarana - The Kamchatka lily bulb, used for food.

Sazhen - Russian linear measure: 7 feet; 2.13 meters.

Shchee - a soup made of cabbage, potatoes, and meat.

Sitka - In the context of this book, refers to the island then known as Sitka, presently named Baranov Island.

Toion - A Yakut word meaning “leader.” The Russians applied the term to Siberian tribal elders of large Koriak, Chukchee and Kamchadal tribes, and similarly to Aleuts and American Indians. The word is not native to any of these peoples.

Tolkushka - Food prepared by natives of Siberia and Alaska consisting of dried meat or fish, fat and dried berries or roots; pemmican.

Voda - water

Vara - Spanish measure: 33 inches.

Vedro - Russian liquid or grain measure

Vershok - Russian measure: 1.75 inches.

Zima - winter                       

 

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