In the early 19th century, most of the land that is now Alaska was claimed by the Russian empire, and its most significant community was Novo-Arkhangel’sk, which today is called Sitka. From 1808 until the sale of Alaska to the United States in 1867, Sitka was the administrative center of Russian possessions in America. The town was carved out of the forested lowlands of SE Alaska and housed a small but diverse population, with Russians, U.S. citizens, Europeans, and Native Alaskans co-existing.
In this lesson, students use illustrations from a book commissioned by the Russian emperor to explore what Sitka might have been like during this period of transition, and how it might have looked if presented from a different point of view.
The following materials will be used in this lesson.
Students should be assessed on their participation in the groups, including the completed primary source analysis tools, class discussions, and the drawing or description of the settlement from another point of view.
Adapted from a lesson by Roger Pearson