The colonial expansion of Europe was well underway by the middle of the sixteenth century. Representatives of European states even visited the little-known lands of Siberia and the American West as the Spanish empire began pushing north into the American Southwest, and Muscovite Russia stretched east into northern Asia. For the next three centuries the American frontier edged west and the Russian frontier east...
The lands of Siberia and the American West were conquered by the millions of settlers who moved there to start new lives. The mass expansion into these lands was related to the demographic explosion of Europe in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Millions of Europeans sailed west to America, millions of Americans moved west across the continent, and millions of Russians moved east, all...
In the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, the economies of Siberia and the American West experienced many parallel developments. Fur trading declined in importance as fashions changed and fur-bearing animals were overhunted, sometimes to the point of extinction. At the same time, mineral extraction intensified. Gold was discovered in the Yenisey River basin in Siberia in 1838-39, only ten years before John Sutter's men found...
The Russian and American frontiers met in Alaska. The Bering Strait had long been a link between Siberia and North America--many scholars believe the first Native Americans originally populated the American continents traveling from Siberia to Alaska. Russian servitors [government officials] reached the Pacific Coast by the mid-1600s, sighted Alaska in 1741, and established their first permanent settlement in North America by 1773, probably...
Frontiers and National Identity
In the nineteenth and twentieth centuries the frontier experience was enshrined in Russian and American culture and became an important source of national identity. First, during the Romantic period, frontiers were discovered by writers and artists as a source of inspiration. Frontier landscapes came to stand for national grandeur and possibility. Native peoples were increasingly interpreted as noble, not barbaric.
In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, Russia and America became aware that they had much in common as continental powers with great potential in their frontiers. Some Americans traveled to Siberia for frontier or arctic exploration. Russia sent Grand Duke Alexis, a member of the royal family, to America--the most distinguished visitor up to that time--to go buffalo hunting with Custer and Buffalo Bill.
Digital Collections from Russia
In November and December 1999 the Library of Congress concluded agreements with the Russian State Library and the National Library of Russia regarding their participation in the Meeting of Frontiers project. In May 2000, joint Library of Congress-Russian teams completed the installation of high-resolution scanning equipment, on long-term loan from the Library of Congress, at both institutions.