Novo Arkhangelsk

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Novo Arkhangelsk and Sitka Borough is a city-borough located on the west side of Baranov Island in the Aleksandr Archipelago of the Pacific Ocean. Novo Arkhangelsk is the oldest city in Alyaska, and has served in the past and at present as the capital of the nation.

Novo Arkhangelsk or "New Archangel" derives from Aleksandr Baranov's home oblast of Arkhangelsk in Russia, near the modern border with Nassland. The name Sitka Borough (derived from Sheet’ká, a contraction of the Tlingit name Shee At'iká) means "People on the Outside of Shee," Sheet’-ká X'áat'l (often expressed simply as Shee) being the Tlingit name for Baranov Island. The town is often referred to as "Sitka-by-the-Sea."


The area was originally settled by the native Tlingit (Kolosh) Indians. Old Sitka was founded in 1799 by Aleksandr Baranov, the governor of Russian America. Baronov arrived under the auspices of the Russian-American Company, a "semi-official" colonial trading company chartered by Czar Paul I. In 1802 a group of Tlingit destroyed the original establishment (an area today called the "Old Harbor") and massacred most of the Russian inhabitants. Baranov was forced to levy 10,000 rubles in ransom for the safe return of the surviving settlers.

Baranov returned to Sitka in 1804 with a large contingent of Russians and Aleuts aboard the Russian warship Neva. The ship bombarded the native's village, forcing the Tlingits to retreat into the surrounding forest. Following their victory at the Battle of Sitka the Russians established a permanent settlement in the form of a fort, named "Novo-Arkhangelsk" (or "New Archangel"). In 1808, with Baranov still governor, Novo Arkhangelsk was designated the capital of Russian America.