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The Baltic Provinces

December 5, 1845, Church and State Gazette, London, United Kingdom

Map of Russia, 1870s. In Russian.


The Baltic provinces of Russia present to the observer much that is interesting and peculiar in political as well as ecclesiastical matters. The connection of serf and master, which formerly existed between the Estonian and Livonian populations and the German nobles, was indeed dissolved in 1817; but, as the emancipation of the peasantry neither gave them a share in the possession of the soil, nor the right of changing their residence at their pleasure, they still remain in a state of great dependence on the owners of the estates, at whose command they are for the tillage of his grounds, while they depend entirely for their subsistence on the produce of the land he may allot to them. Though the bitterness or this state of dependence is frequently mitigated by the kind consideration with which the proprietors treat their peasants, it is, nevertheless, felt by the latter as a heavy burthen. They very often look with distrust upon their masters, and particularly m times of scarcity, when the most open-handed generosity of the proprietor is not sufficient entirely to save them from starvation.

June 24, 1853, Daily Alta California, San Francisco, California

Russia and Turkey

Russia.Russian Warships in the Age of Sail. Author Eduard Sozaev.

A report of doubtful character came by the last mail that the Porte has granted to Russia the right of free passage letween the Black and Mediterranean Seas. Menschikoff is an able and important man in Russia, and he has not gone to Constantinople without some important purposes; but what the purposes are, it is not very easy to know.

The Russian government has managed to conduct nearly all of its diplomatic affairs in secrecy, and not less so in this case than in others. It may be said that as yet little beyond reasonable conjecture is known of tbe actual purpose, of the Envoy Extraordinary. The question of the Holy Shrines certainly did not demand the presence of a Menschikoff. The free passage of the Bosphorus and Dardanelles has long been an object of the greatest importance to Russia, and once or twice she has been very near attaining it. It would make Russia at once one of the first maritime powers; it would make her mistress of the Mediterranean, and would give her great influence, if not complete control in the political affairs of Turkey.

British European Settlements.
Jersey, Heligoland, Gibraltar, Cyprus, Malta, 1878 map

Russia.British European Settlements, 1865.

Heretofore, if she wished to send a fleet to Spain, or Italy, or Greece, beside the passage of Gibraltar, five or six months were necessary for the tedious voyage from the Baltic, and the naval forces on the Black Sea were entirely useles. The present Russian navy on the Black Sea is a very respectable power, but with the grant ot the free passage, it is very probable that the principal shipyards of the Czar will be transferred to the Black Sea, which would then possess many advantages over the Gulf of Finland. Odessa, already an important city, would soon become a city o! the first rank in the Empire. Trade and commerce throughout all that portion of Russia would receive a new impulse and civilization would make important advance; for Russia, though arbitrary and despotic in her government, has by no means, shown herself an enemy to the art or sciences.

Turkey has been (or the last twenty years too weak to make any stand alone against Russia; but England and France have been too jealous of the Csar to permit him to force the Porte to yield important concessions, such as it was said that Menschikoff had come to make, and on the report of which the French and English immediately prepared themselves for a struggle. The demands of Menschikoff, with the alternative of war, beside the free passage oi the Dardanelles, were said to be the grant of certain religious privileges to the members of the Greek Church, the cession of a little territory on the eastern aide of the Black Sea and the recognition of the independence of Montenegro under certain conditions Hewever, if Menschikoff actually went to make those demands, or if he has made them, he has yet managed to quiet for a time the apprehensions of the English and French. The Porte is perfectly aware of the interest which England and France have in supporting him against Russia, and knowing his own weakness, he is inclined to make the most of that support; and although he would probably make important concessions to avoid a war with Russia, yet such as those said to be demanded are entirely too extravagant.

December 17, 1878, Daily Alta California, San Francisco, California, U.S.A.


Russia is promised something of a ohange in its central organization. Hitherto the Government has been simply the Czar speaking and acting through others, whom he called to his aid as agents. Some time ago he ordered Sohouvaloff to draw up a constitution for Russia. The Count now, or soon, goes into the Cabinet as Minister of the Interior, and will inaugurate a regime in accordance with and to give effect to that constitution. What that constitution will amount to, of oourse is not at present known. The world need not anticipate much of what among our own people is considered freedom. The Czar and Count Sououvaloff know well enough that the great mass of the Russian people are not prepared for much of vhat we call liberality in national institutions. But to give the people almost any kind of a constitution indioates progress, and is hopeful for the future.

With a Constitution and a responsible Cabinet, Russia will have stepped into the outer circle of free Governments. Heretofore she has been the exception in Europe. The Czar has been Russia. His word has been law, his wish supreme in everything. But the people have been gradually approaching a condition of intelligence and freedom of thought, which are necessary in any country entrusted at all with directing or influencing public measures. Of course, the heads of different Bureaus under the present form of government in Russia bear a oertain responbility, but they are not like the members of a responsible Cabinet which lifts a great deal of care and responsibility from the absolute head of the nation. A Constitution and responsible Cabinet in Russia means progress, and that is reinsuring, even although theadvance is not very marked toward a liberal rule.

July 18, 1897, Los Angeles Herald, Los Angeles, California

The Population of Russia

Russia.Russian Jewish Immigrations 1800s.

The items, obtained from all the local committees, partly by telegram with the exception of some parts of the province of Yakutsk are now published and the population of the empire appears from, them as follows; European Russia, 94,188,750; kingdom of Poland 9,442,590; grand duchy of Finland (Finnish yearly census), 2,627,801; Caucasia, 9,723,553; Siberia and Sakhalin, 5,731,732; the Kirghiz Steppes, 3,415,174; Turkestan, with the Tranacasplah regien and the Pamirs, 4,175,101; Russian subjects in Bokhara and Khiva, 6,412, total, 129,211,113

The corresponding figures in 1851 were: European Russia, 53,787,685; Poland, 4,852,055; Finland, 1,636,915; Caucasia, 4,436,152; Siberia, 2,437,184; Steppes, 1,220,654; total, 67,380,645. It may said that although the percentage of births is very high in Russia, it took nearly fifty years for the population to double.

An English writer about Russia made some time ago the remark that Russia suffers from polism that is, from a want of towns. This want has lately very much disappeared. There are now in the empire no less than nineteen towns having a population of more than 100,000 (out of which are two in Poland, two in Caucasia, and one Tashkend, in Turkestan); thirty-five towns with populations from 50,000 to 100,000, and sixty-nine towns with populations of from 25,000 to 50,000. St. Petersburg has already attained the figure of 1,267,023, and Moscow approaches the million (988,610): - Nature.


Russia.Map of Arkhangelsk, Vologda, Viatka. 1848.

The Port of Arkhangelsk is located about 50 kilometers from the White Sea on the Dvina River in far northwestern Russia. With the suburbs of Ekonomiya and Solombala, the Port of Arkhangelsk stretches for about 16 kilometers along both sides of the river as well as several islands in the river's delta. The Port of Arkhangelsk is about 450 nautical miles from Russia's northern-most Port of Murmansk and about 700 kilometers northeast of the Port of St. Petersburg. It is the administrative of the Arkhangelsk Oblast. In 2006, the Port of Arkhangelsk was home to almost 350 thousand people.

In 1581, Russia lost its access to the Baltic Sea when it lost the towns of Yam, Narva, and Koporye during the Livonian War. The Russian Tsar then turned his attention to the White Sea further north. In 1583, Tsar Ivan IV (Ivan the Terrible) ordered the construction of "a city for launching ships," and the Port of Arkhangelsk was born. Within a year, the Port of Arkhangelsk imported fine goods like English cloth, Barbant silk, sugar, spices, hand soap, writing paper, lace, pearls, European china, and weapons. The port also imported a lot of wine, but the most important import was money. The Russian treasury was empty of gold and silver, so the Russians melted down imported silver and gold coins from other countries and minted the Tsar's coins for circulation. The Port of Arkhangelsk exported goods from Russia as well, including bread, flax, tallow, canvas, hemp, wax, skins, and furs.

Russia.Port of Arkhangelsk.

In 1693, Tsar Peter I (Peter the Great) visited the Port of Arkhangelsk (image right: 1897) with a huge group of followers. He was inspired at the sight of Russia's first seaport. To welcome him, the Port of Arkhangelsk had built a 12-cannon yacht called the St. Peter. The Tsar escorted a convoy of Dutch merchant ships into the White Sea from the Port of Arkhangelsk, fulfilling a boyhood dream. The Tsar visited the city's trading center and talked with Russian and foreign merchants, coming to believe that a Russian fleet was necessary if Russia was to be an economic power.

Within a year, Peter the Great had started building the first Russian ship on the Port of Arkhangelsk's island of Solombala. In 1694, the St. Pavel was launched from the Port of Arkhangelsk with a cargo of official Russian goods, beginning Russia's participation in sea-going trade.

August 5, 1854, The London Times, London, Great Britain


A man gets up in the morning on his own premises, but little knows where he may sleep at night."

The Csar of all the Russias has lately been within an act of offering in his own person a practical confirmation of this well known saying. What would the British public have thought — what would Europe have thought — what would the King of Prussia in his cups have thought — what would Omar Pasha in his cups have thought — what would the allied troops hare thought — and, finally, what would the Three per Cents, have thought, if, about this time, the Czar of all the Russias, the Archduke Constantine, and the Archduchess, and the Russian Admiral in command at Cronstadt, had been sent home by Sir Charles Napier in the small steamer which had captured them? Improbable as the tale may appear — impossible the catastrophe — it was fairly upon the cards within the last few weeks. The facts are these:

A short while back, while the allied fleets were lying before Cronstadt, an English yacht belonging to Lords Lichtield and Huston, with Lord Clareuc Paget on board, ventured somewhat too near the guns of the place. Suddenly a puff of Steam was seen on the Russian side, and a small Russian steamer put out to sea, with the evident intention of cutting off the English yacht. On board of that Steamer were the Czar Nicholas, his son the Archduke Constantine, the Archduchess his wife, and the Russian Admiral, who all went forth to enjoy the satisfaction of an easy triumph over the poor little yacht. She is, in point of fact, stated to have been in the most imminent danger of capture. The Czar, however, was destined to be foiled in his anticipated little triumph, as he has already been foiled in his hopes of many a great one. An English war steamer, seeing the danger to which the yacht was exposed, advanced with all speed to her relief. Shortly she obtained such a position that the English yacht was safe, and the only question that remained for discussion was one between the two small war steamers — the one under English and the other under Russian colors. Could the English but have known the valuable freight which that steamer contained, could the captain but have known that by capturing her, or sending her to the bottom, peace would have been restored to Europe, and probably a million human lives, first and last, be saved, we have no doubt that he would have carried one or other of the alternatives into effect, even though his own destruction, that of his ship, and of every soul on board of her, had been the inevitable consequence. As it was, he saw nothing before him but a little trumpery steamer — he had carried his purpose of relieving the English yacht into effect — and remembered orders, which certainly had been issued, to the effect that no English ship, upon the mere heroic impulse of her commander, should be thrust into the lion's mouth.

We have no doubt that this was so, and that when the English captain gave his orders for putting the head of his steamer round, he did so with the feeling that he had very satisfactorily discharged the duty with which he had been intrusted. Little did he suppose, at the moment, that he had lost probably the greatest opportunity for obtaining personal distinction which had ever been thrown in the way of a single man. The English nation venerates the name of Lord Nelson for the sake of certain little affairs in which he was engaged off Cape St. Vincent, at the Nile, at Copenhagen, at. Trafalgar, and elsewhere, but not all of these wonderful, important and heroic achievements combined would have had such an important influence on the history of the world as the capture of that little Russian ship. It was given to the captain of a small steamer to change the face of Europe in ten minutes, well employed, but in pure innocence he missed the chance.

Operations in Asia. — Alarming minors arrive daily from Asia. The Czar has roused the Turkoman tribes, the Karakaipaeks (black hats,) Kirgises, Bashkirs and Kalmucks, and he is fully convinced that in the autumn, or at least in the spring, he can muster five hundred thousand nomad horsemen ready to pounce upon western Europe as they did of old under Attilla or Batu Khan. All the tribes of middle Asia, from the Caspian to the Chinese frontiers, are to be led against those who oppose the Czar. I do not venture to say how much of the report may be attributed to exaggeration, but the practicability of such a scheme cannot be denied. From Persia we hear conflicting rumors; the Turks pretend to have succeeded in inducing the Shah to take up arms against the Czar, while Petersburg news contains hints to the contrary, assuring that Persia is ready to join the Czar.


Vienna letters already speak of the conditions of this alliance, viz: The restitution of the provinces ceded to Russia in 1828 and a subsidy of two millions of rubles. All this indicates sufficiently that the war is not likely to be soon terminated. As regards a pretended opposition and petition against the war, signed by the Grand Duke Alexander and several members of the Russian Senate, and handed to the Czar, it seems to be one of the usual Vienna hoaxes, such as was the sanguinary battle at Frateshti, three times reported, but never fought, unless we should believe that it was a prophecy of the Russian attack on Giurgevo, which was repulsed by the Turks on the 23d of July.

(Image Above:
1877 Russian Wounded Soldiers Field Battle Ambulance)Russia.

March 23, 1883, Fort Wayne Daily Gazette, Fort Wayne, Indiana, U.S.A. from the New York Tribune, New York City, New York

Crowning the Czar
The Coronation Services at the Cathedral
The Autocrat of all the Russias is Given Crown, Sceptre, and Half a Hundred Titles.

Arriving at the church, the czar and his wife are shown to ordinary thrones near those of the bishops, and the special service immediately begins. After the first lesson is read the metropolitans conduct the emperor and empress to a canopy of scarlet velvet, richly embroidered in gold, the principal figure being a double headed Russian eagle. Under this canopy is an elevated platform upon which are the historical throne of the Czar Vladimir Monomague and an ordinary arm-chair for the empress, also a table upon which are the sceptre and crown of Constantinus Monomachus, a sword and a mantle of ermine. The nobles now advance from the south cathedral and surrounding the platform draw their swords and place them at the feet of the czar. The bishop of Kazan then asks the emperor in a loud voice if he is a true believer, to which he replies by reading the Lord's prayer and the apostles' creed of the Greek church.

The bishop next says: "If there be any of you here present knowing any impediment for which Alexander, son of Alexander (or other name) should not be crowned by the grace of God, emperor and autocrat of all the Russias, of Moscow, of Astrakhan, of Poland, of Siberia, of Mherson-Tawride, of Grousi; Peskov, grand duke of Smolensk, of Lithuania, of Volhynia, of Podolia and of Finland; prince of Estonia Livonis, of Courand, of Semigalia, of the Samoledes, of Bieostok, of Corelia, of Foer, of Ingor, of Viatka, of Bulgaria and other countries; master and grand duke of the lower countries in Sovgood, of Tchernigoff, of Kiasan, of Polotsk, of Bostoff, of Jarostaff, of Bieloserak, of Oudork, of Oldorsk, of Kindisk, of Vitelsk, of Mtskheti, and of all the countries of the north; master absolute of Iversk, of Kastoluisk, of Kalarinsk, and of the territory of Armenia; sovereign of mountain princes of Tcherkask; maser of Turkestan; heir presumptive of Norway, and duke of Schleswig-Hoistein, of Storaarae, of Dithmarre, and of Oldembourg, let him come forward now, in the name of the Holy Trinity, and show what the impediment is, or let him remain dumb forever!"

This is repeated three times, and upon no objection being raised, he lays his hands upon the head of the czar, who immediately kneels . . . The czar and czarina remain in prayer for several minutes amid a deathly silence, and the instant they rise to their feet bishops, nobles, deputations, clergy and all present kneel to him, shouting, "Long live the czar . . .

According to an old custom, the czar's carriage, instead of being guarded by troops, is surrounded by one hundred maidens belonging to the best Russian families, all dressed in white and holiday garlands of flowers. Court balls and receptions begin in the evening and last for a fortnight, after which the court returns to St. Petersburg.

October 8, 1896, Iowa Postal Card, Fayette, Iowa

Diamonds of a Prince.
Russian Aristocrat Who Has the
Largest Collection of Gems in the World.

Prince Felix Youssoupoff of Russia, has the finest collection of diamonds in the world. He is known to all the diamond dealers of Europe, and has the first refusal of every extraordinary stone that comes into their possession. At the estate of Arkhangelsk, near Moscow, where Prince Yousupoff spends the summer, there is a handsome wrought steel showcase in which, behind thick plates of glass, are grouped diamonds according to size and water.

Here, declares the St. Petersburgnya Gazeta, are brilliants of the purest kind and others of yellowish hue; there are some finely cut, others almost in the rough. Another collection, which is kept at Mikhaylovsk, is valued at about 2,500,000 rubles. But of far greater value is the St. Petersburg collection, which is kept in the Yousupoff palace there. In a fireproof chamber of this place lies, among others, the famous brilliant known as the Polyarnaya Zvezda (Pole Star), and there is a diadem of great value which belonged to Queen Caroline of Naples, wife of Murat. Here also is a pearl of enormous size and great beauty, known as the Peregrin, for which 200,000 rubles was paid at the end of the last century.

The Yousupoff passion for collecting precious stones was developed by the Princess T. Y. Yousupoff's great-grandmother, born Engelhardt, who was a niece of Potemkin-Tavrichesky. She was fond of diamonds and pearls, and bought shovelfuls of the latter. She purchased for 4,000,000 rubles the entire collection of diamonds which belonged at one time to King Rudolph II., a famous collector of precious stones, and to Philip II of Spain, another ardent lover of diamonds. All these came into the possession of the Princess T. V. Yousupoff, in addition to an enormous collection of Siberian stones, onyx and sardonyx, engraved with arms and devices.

Notwithstanding the many divisions of the Yousupoff properties, the greatest portion of this collection of diamonds belonging to the dead princess has become the property of the present representative of this ancient Russian house, Prince F. F. Yousupoff.

~ N. Y. Press.

The origins of the Peregrina Pearl are clouded, but the basic story is the same. It was found in Panama in 1513 by a slave and brought to Spain and gave it to Crown Prince Phillip II. He rewarded the slave with freedom. He gave the pearl as a gift to Queen Mary I of England (Mary Tudor -- Bloody Mary -- daughter of the first of Henry VIII's six wives) as an engagement present in 1554. Mary Tudor ascended the throne in 1553.

After her death, the pearl was returned to Spain until 1808 when Napoleon Bonaparte captured Spain. When the French forces were defeated at the Battle of Victoria, the pearl made its way to London. (In 1969, actor Richard Burton purchased the Peregrina for actress Elizabeth Taylor.)

April 29, 1857, Guardian, London

. . . We are glad to find her Majesty has been pleased to grant Rear Admiral Sir Michael Seymour, K.C.B., the usual service pension for the loss of sight of one eye, of which the gallant Admiral was deprived by the explosion of a Russian Infernal Machine on board the Exmouth in the Baltic. --Plymouth Mail.

The Dogger Bank Affair

Payment of Indemnity

London, March 10, 1905


Count Benckendorfff, the Russian Ambassador in London, has handed the Marquis of Lansdowne, Secretary for Foreign Affairs, £65,000, being the amount fixed by the North Sea Commission as indemnification of the Hull fishermen for the losses they sustained through the action of the Baltic fleet in firing upon their trawlers.

The Times states that the British Government, on their own initiative, reduced the claims of the fishermen, which were originally stated at upward of £100,000 to £65,000, the amount paid by the Russian Ambassador.


Darial Gorge, Georgia, Russia. Reclus Barbant. 1881.Darial Gorge, Georgia, Russia.

Darial Gorge, Russia.

In 1783, the leading Georgian kingdom became a Russian protectorate, but in 1801 the country was annexed by Russia outright, receiving a status of guberniya (Georgian Governorate or the Government of Georgia). For the next 117 years, Georgia would be part of the Russian Empire. Russian rule offered the Georgians peace and security from attack but it was also often heavy-handed and insensitive to local feelings. By the late 19th century, discontent with the Russian authorities led to a growing national movement.

The first historical note concerning Georgian towns refers to the town of Poti in the 6th century B.C.E. The construction of a seaport at Poti was conceived shortly after 1828, when the Russian Empire reconquered the town from the Ottoman Empire which controlled it since the fractioning of the Kingdom of Georgia. In 1858, Poti was granted the status of a port city.

August 24, 1872, Boston Daily Globe, Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.A.

New Harbor.

By order of Emperor Alexander a capacious harbor is to be constructed at Poti, in the Caucasus, the cost of which is estimated at 2,003,000 roubles in silver.

In 1899 under the patronage of the mayor of Poti, Niko Nikoladze, the construction entered the sprint stages and was completed by 1907.

May 4, 1878, North China Herald, Shanghai, China

The Japan Gazette publishes the subjoined story, for which it does not vouch, but which has been repeated too often to be excluded from its pages: " The rumour runs that the Government of Russia applied to the Government of Japan for permission to use the coast of Kiushiu; for what purpose has not been divulged, but presumably as a naval station. This request was peremptorily refused by the Ministry of this country. Should the report, have any foundation, the designs of Russia will be more apparent than were supposed, but that the Russian Government should have preferred a request which there was so little chance of Japan acceding to, is, prime facie, incredible. Great Britain would not have considered Japan responsible for her actions had the Russian demand been granted; and, instead of a remonstrance, the occupation of the Kiushiu seaboard to the instant inclusion of the Russians would have been the consequence. It is matter of congratulation to the people that the remarkable exchange of Sakhalin for the Kurile Islands, is not a forgotten transaction. What return Russia would have offered to make to Japan for the cession of Kiushiu is unknown; but present Russian promises should be estimated by the Japanese in the ratio of their past performance ; and before deciding upon any proposition they should await the settlement of the Kulja question with the Chinese."

Plate from
Travels to the Seat of War in the East, through Russia and the Crimea, in 1829: With Sketches of the Imperial Fleet and Army, Personal Adventures, and Characteristic Anecdotes. Volume 2Russia.
1856. William Simpson

RUSSIA. Baltic Provinces. Caucasus, Georgia, Vistula (Poland), Livonia, Courland.
George Butler. 1888.
Russia. Baltic Provinces. George Butler, Cartographer. 1888.

Provenance: "The Public Schools Atlas of Modern Geography."

Edited with an Introduction on the Study of Geography by the Rev. George Butler, Published by Longmans, Green, and Co., London.

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.
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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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