Crossing the strait
Polistra has previously discussed
time when Russia and America collaborated on building and extending telegraph lines.
time was more consequential. In the 1850s, Britain and Russia and US were competing for the fur and gold along the west coast of North America. Britain and US were still enemies, but Russia and America were semi-friendly adversaries. Russia had taken our side in 1812, and was amenable to commercial cooperation when it served their interests.
Around 1860, Western Union and the Russian Telegraph Company developed a plan to run a line from Seattle up through BC, thence through Russian Alaska, thence across the Bering Strait to join Russia's internal telegraph system. Construction began in 1861, and by 1866 the line had reached the southern end of Russian Alaska, with right-of-way and supplies laid out further north.
The whole project stopped in 1867 when Tsar Alexander II decided to sell Alaska to us. Alexander had emancipated the serfs
in 1861. Exactly parallel to Madman Lincoln's emancipation. Except that Alexander didn't feel the need to slaughter 7% of his population and burn 25% of his country to make it happen. Aside from those minor differences, parallel. Well, one more difference. Russia took effective steps to insure that the freed serfs acquired property and started up the economic ladder. Aside from that, identical.
Broadening the economy was costly, so a windfall from selling a far-removed territory was attractive.
Why was US willing to buy the territory just then? Partly because the telegraph project had explored Alaska more thoroughly, and partly because the connecting wire made the territory seem less distant and more manageable.
Labels: Гром победы