About 1743, fur traders from the Russian Pacific Coast started setting up hunting and trading posts along the Aleutian Islands. In 1790, the Russian-Alaskan Company hired Alexander Baranov to manage the Alaskan portion of the company. Concerned about the increasing number of European fur traders, Baranov bought land from the Tlingits and built the settlement Novo-Archangelsk (or New Archangel). This became the capital of Russian Alaska. It was later renamed Sitka.

By the 1860s, Russia was ready to abandon their American colonies due to the over hunting done and lack of furs. When the United States purchased the territory, the treaty was signed and transfer occurred in Sitka.

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