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Vladivostok was first built in 1860 when Russia expanded eastwards over and beyond the River Amur. At this time Russia made its claim to the Russian Far East. Vladivostok became Russia's most important city in the East; the Russian Pacific fleet was based there as were large fishing fleets.

The Trans-Siberian railway was built to connect Asian and European Russia. The final stop on the line, or the first if you are traveling westwards, is in Vladivostok. The city'ss strategic location and port have led to Vladivostok being a vital hub in North East Asia.

November 29, 1887, Daily Alta California, San Francisco, California, U.S.A.

St. Petersburg Despatch to London Times.

A trial of a new torpedo boat, the Jantchikhe, destined for the port of Vladivostok, and constructed at St. Petersburg, has given satisfactory results. The average speed attained during a three hours' trip was slightly over the nineteen knots contracted for. A further trial is to be made to determine the quantity of coal and the capacity of the bunkers necessary for a voyage of 2000 knots.

November 10, 1890, San Francisco Call, San Francisco, California, U.S.A.

Russian Furs

Siberia and Russian America.Siberia and Russian America.

New York. Nov. 9. The Mail and Express St. Petersburg correspondence says: According to news from Vladivostok, that maritime province this year has supplid a large quantity of furs. As many as 4500 sables, 700 foxes and 900 bears have been killed, and the furs, which were sold on the spot, brought from 10 to 12 rubles per sable, and an average of 20 rubles each for fox and bear furs.

March 6, 1891, Daily Alta California, San Francisco, California, U.S.A.

Bound for a Russian Port.

The schooner W. S. Bowne, Captain Blubtu, has been chartered by Roth, Blum & Co., and cleared yesterday for the port of Vladivostok, Siberia, with a general cargo, consigned to the Russian Government at that port.

May 26, 1891, San Francisco Call, San Francisco, California, U.S.A.

The Trans-Siberian Railroad.

Russia.Russian Convicts.
Russian Convicts in Siberia

St. Petersburg, May 25. Upon the arrival of the Czarowitch at Vladivostok an imperial rescript will be published throughout the Russian empire directing the Czarowitch to lay the first sod of the Vladivostock section of the trans-Siberian railway.

A ukase will accompany the rescript signalizing the event by special acts of clemency to ward the convicts of Siberia.

August 2, 1891, San Francisco Call, San Francisco, California, U.S.A.

Plans Offered for Building a Trans-Siberian Railroad.
The Distance to Be Covered
The Enormous Amount It Will Cost to Build and Equip Such a Road.

From the report of Colonel Nicoiai Woloshinow of the general staff of the Russian armies on the various projects for a transSiberian railroad, we are able to present the governing data on which the Russians are proposing to build their road that is likely to become so potent a factor ln the world's progress. Three plans are favorably discussed by Colonel Woloshlnow: One, an all-rail route from Slatonsk to Vladivostok, 4904 miles long, with an estimated cost of $341,000,000 roubles, or say $170,000,000; another from Tomsk to Stretensk, crossing Lake Baikal by steamboats, 1712 miles, with 260 miles more railroad between Grafskaya, on the Ussuri River, to Vladivostok, or 1972 miles of track, costing 122,000,000 roubles or $61,000,000; and a third project, following the same line, except continuing the road around the south end of Lake Baikal, extending the track down the Amur to Jernayeva, 480 miles, and building a road the entire distance from the Amur to Vladivostok, requiring 2990 miles of track and costing 218,000,000 roubles, or $109,000,000. The last two routes would bo available through about six months of the year with steamboats.

The estimated time for passengers between Moscow and Vladivostok is, by the first or all-rail line, 15 days, and for freight 75 days; by the second line, passengers 40 days, freight 95 days, and by the third line, passengers 31, freight 70 days that is, while the rivers are open. And it seems probable that it is not intended to give passengers by the rivers any greater dispatch than is given to freight. When the rivers are closed passengers would probably follow one or the other of the post roads from Orenbourg or Slatousk east.

The Story of the Trans-Siberian Railroad. Christian Wolmar.

It is only for financial reasons that the two last-mentioned routes, utilizing the waterways in part, are considered. Whatever may be the commercial advantages accruing from the construction of a road, and it is likely not only to open a large and valuable market for our productions, but to make Moscow, instead of London, the distributing point for tea and Chinese and North Pacific products destined for European consumption, the road is essentially strategic. For the ability of Russia to defend and hold Vladivstok in case of war must depend entirely on the completion of the road before war commences. This idea is constantly present in Colonel Woloshinov's report. The building of the Moscow-Warsaw road for commercial profit instead of a line to Sebastopol is cited as an example to be shunned, and the assertion of Bakoreff that the receipts of this road did not amount to the millionth part of the irretrievable losses' Russia suffered in 1855 is quoted in connection with predictions of the possibility of "closing a humble peace and losing our ruler of the East, Vladivostok."

But in this case the interests of commerce coincide with the military requirements of Russia, and the only difficulty Is the financial one. The project has been offered on the European bourses and has apparently met with no takers, as it is apparent that, notwithstanding the isolated large towns, if not cities, on the route, and the undoubted presence of vast mineral wealth, all of which, except the gold, is undeveloped, the road will not pay until it has had time to create a truffle through the economy in the cost of transportation which it will effect. Besides which, the present money centers of Europe are also trade centers, and they do not care to see their systems of distribution upset, as they would be by the new road.

It is now rumored that the Russian authorities propose to finance the road from the imperial treasury and complete it in 1895. This is a very considerable undertaking, requiring both energy and money. The Russians, however, are good railroad builders, and their credit is appreciating. General Anuenkoff has built 500 miles of road toward Samarcand in a year, with the disadvantage of depending on the navigation of the Volga and the Caspian Sea for all of his material. But that was in a country where work could be prosecuted through the year. In Western Siberia, on the contrary, the winter is long and severe, with deep snows, and though from Lake Baikal well down the Amur there is little snow, the ground freezes early and thaws late. So that it is doubtful if over 500 miles could be made a year under the most favorable circumstances, and, though ground is already broken at Slatonsk and Vladivostok, it is not probable that the 1224 miles to Tomsk could be laid before the fall of 1893. There would then be 1900 miles to Stretensk, and it does not seem that the navigation between Tomen and Tomsk is good enough to allow materials to lay over 900 miles east of Tomsk to be got forward by that time.

Working from the east toward the west there is a long ocean voyage to both Vladivostok and the mouth of the Amur, the latter available little more than four months of the year, so that it will probably be the end of 1892, under the most favorable circumstances, before the road is built through to the Amur, and it is doubtful if material could be delivered by the Amur at Streteusk so that any amount of track worth mentioning could be laid west of that point during 1893, but from that time on 350 miles a year ought to be laid. Such an arrangement, if it worked, would allow all of the road, except a piece along the Amur, to be built by the end of 1895. Railroad Gazette.

December 22, 1894, San Francisco Call

The Siberian Railroad

Vladivostok, December 21. A section of the new Siberian railroad, 235 miles long, was opened for traffic yesterday.

April 2, 1898, San Francisco Call , San Francisco, California, U.S.A.

Advance of Russia in the Orient

Proposed Extension of Her Steamship Service
Will Revolutionize Communications in the Far East
Eight New Lines Soon to be Put on by the Czar's Government
Railroad Between Vladivostok and Habarofka Has Already Been Completed

Special Dispatch to The Call

TACOMA, April 8. Japanese papers announce on authority of a correspondent at Vladivostok that Russia is about to inaugurate an extension of Russian steamship services in the Orient that will strongly tend to revolutionize existing communications in the far East. Their Vladivostok correspondent writes that the railroad between Vladivostok and Habarofka has already been completed, and the time and distance between Vladivostok and Central Siberia has been considerably shortened. Meanwhile Russian marine traffic in the Orient has Increased and the Russian Government is now consulting with Scherveloff & Co. upon the question of instituting eight new steamship services in the Orient as follows:

  1. "Weekly service of steamers between Vladivostok, Hongkong and Shanghai, steamers to call at Nagasaki and Canton.
  2. Service of steamers running between Vladivostok and Korean ports. Newchwang, Tientsin, Chefoo and Shanghai. The line will run in connection with the Russo-Chinese Railway, and regular boats on Sungari River.
  3. Line between Shanghai and Hankow. This line is to connect with steamers of Russia's volunteer fleet running from the Baltic Sea to Vladivostok.
  4. Line between Vladivostok, Shlmonoski. Kobe and Yokohama.
  5. Line between Vladivostok, Hakodate and Yokohama. By this route connection will be formed with American steamers to San Francisco and the Siberian Railway. It is reported that Mr. Scherveloff early recognized the advantage of this line and consulted with Americans as to the connection.
  6. Line between Nicolaivsk and Hakodate. Nicolaivsk is situated at the mouth of Amur River and is the commercial center in the north, especially for fish. The number of fishermen proceeding thither from Hakodate is Increasing yearly. About ten steamers of 400 to 500 tons burden are sent there from Hakodate every year to carry fish in addition to some hundreds of sailing vessels and Junks. The place is very prosperous in summer. The Russian steamers on this line are intended to call at the ports on both sides of Tartary Straits and at Otaru. Hokkaido.
  7. Line from Vladivostok to Nicolaivsk, via Saghalien and Tartary Straits.
  8. Line from Vladivostok to Petropaulovski, via Saghalien. The last named two are already opened by the volunteer fleet of steamers, and the proposal Is made to increase the number of voyages and to put more suitable vessels on this route.

The last named two are already opened by the volunteer fleet of steamers, and the proposal is made to increase the number of voyages and to put more suitable vessels on this route.

Map of Russia, 1870s. In Russian.

1899. World's Fleet. Boston Daily Globe

Lloyds Register of Shipping gives the entire fleet of the world as 28,180 steamers and sailing vessels, with a total tonnage of 27,673,628, of which 39 perent are British.

Great Britain10,990 vessels, total tonnage of 10,792,714
United States 3,010 vessels, total tonnage of 2,405,887
Norway 2,528 vessels, tonnage of 1,604,230
Germany 1,676 vessels, with a tonnage of 2,453,334, in which are included her particularly large ships.
Sweden 1,408 vessels with a tonnage of 643, 527
Italy1,150 vessels
France 1,182 vessels

For Historical Comparison
Top 10 Maritime Nations Ranked by Value (2017)

  Country # of Vessels







1 Greece 4,453 206.47 $88.0
2 Japan 4,317 150.26 $79.8
3 China 4,938 159.71 $71.7
4 USA 2,399 55.92 $46.5
5 Singapore 2,662 64.03 $41.7
6 Norway 1,668 39.68 $41.1
7 Germany 2,923 81.17 $30.3
8 UK 883 28.78 $24.3
9 Denmark 1,040 36.17 $23.4
10 South Korea 1,484 49.88 $20.1
Total 26,767 87.21 $466.9

The Project

Maritime Nations, Ships, Sea Captains, Merchants, Merchandise, Ship Passengers and VIPs sailing into San Francisco during the 1800s.



Merchant Shipping

Merchant Shipping.Merchant Shipping and Ancient Commerce.  
History of Merchant Shipping and Ancient CommerceMerchant Shipping and Ancient Commerce.
W. S. Lindsay

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Sources: As noted on entries and through research centers including National Archives, San Bruno, California; CDNC: California Digital Newspaper Collection; San Francisco Main Library History Collection; and Maritime Museums and Collections in Australia, China, Denmark, England, Finland, Germany, Ireland, Wales, Norway, Scotland, Spain, Sweden, etc.

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