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The Shelikov Company

The  Russian American Company

Alaska District

State of Alaska

Police and Army

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The south of Alaska was a Russian possession from 1741. In 1799 and 1822 Russia extended its territory further north. In 1867 the territory was sold to the United States. Within the United States it became a District which joined the United States as its 49th state in 1959.


The Shelikov-Golikov Company



Initially the Russian Empire was the owner of Alaska and the Russian symbols of state were valid there. The founder of the Russian colonies in America was Grigori Ivanovic Shelikov (Григорий Иванович Шелехов) c.s.. In 1784, he had arrived in Three Saints Bay on Kodiak Island, operating the Shelikhov-Golikov Company. Shelikhov founded the first permanent Russian settlement in Alaska on the island's Three Saints Bay. By 1788 a number of Russian settlements had been established by Shelikhov and others over a large region, including the mainland areas around Cook Inlet.

Competing European traders were generally fellow Russian traders, principally the Lebedev-Lastochkin Company. Visiting British and American ships typically paid higher rates for furs when negotiating with Alaskan Natives, which undercut the SGC trading operations. These same merchants were often the only means of supply for the scattered Russian stations, leaving the company dependent on its commercial rivals. The United American Company was created out of rival Rival Russian companies in 1797, including the assets of Lebedev-Lastochkin Company, ensuring its commercial dominance among Russian merchants. In the Ukase of 1799 the company was granted a monopoly among Russians in North America by Tsar Paul I, becoming the basis of the Russian-American Company.


The achievement of Shelikov was granted by decree of 1 April 1799, that is to say four years after his death (31 July / 11 August 1795) and a few months before the chartering of the Russian-American Company.

It is:


The achievement of Shelikov


Arms: Azure, a fess between two square crosses patée Argent.

Crest: Three ostrich-feathers

Supporters: Two (native) Americans, in local dress, the dexter keeping a caduceus the sinister supporting an anchor

Motto: Вђpoю  и  уcepдїem [1]



The Russian-American Company



The "Russian-American Company under the Supreme Patronage of His Imperial Majesty" was a state-sponsored chartered company formed largely on the basis of the Shelikhov-Golikov Company. The company was chartered by Tsar Paul I in the Ukase of 8 July 1799, and was mainly expected to establish new settlements in Russian America and carry out an expanded colonization program.

The Russian government appointed an official with the title correspondent to maintain oversight of company affairs, the first being Nikolai Rezanov. This role was soon expanded to a three-seat board of directors, with two elected by the stockholders and one appointed by the government. Additionally the directors had to send reports of the company's activities directly to the tsar. Directly administering the forts, trade stations and outposts from Pavlovskaya and later New Archangel was the Chief Manager. The first chief manager was Alexander Andreyevich Baranov who founded both New Archangel and Pavlovskaya. With the end of his service in 1818, the position was then continuously given to appointees of the Imperial Russian Navy


The achievement of the Rezanovich family was:



Arms: Per fess, the chief per pale: 1. Azure, a sabre and a pistol in saltire proper; 2. Gules, a latin cross Argent on a grassy hill proper; 3. Or, a fess wavy Azure.

Crest: Three ostrich feathers on a crowned helmet guardant.

Supporters: D.: A roman soldier in full armoury armed with a spear proper; S.: A horse reguardant proper. [2]


The achievement of the Baranov family was:


Achievement of the Baranov Family


Arms: Per fess, the chief Gules, a key per pale Or, and a bow per fess an arrow and a sabre in saltire, Argent proper; the base Or, a horse running to the sinister proper.

Crest: On a crowned  helmet guardant three ostrich feathers

Supporters: D.: A Tatar armed with a bow and a sword proper; S.: A horse also proper. [3]


10 kopek bank note with the seal of  the Russian American Company


1806 design of the Russian-American Company flag, first submitted for approval October 10, 1806


The Russian commercial flag (civil ensign) was used between 1799 and 1806 by the company on its ships and establishments. Tsar Alexander I approved a design for a separate flag for the RAC on 19 October 1806 (Old Style) writing "So be it" upon the report. After being sent to the State Council, it was forwarded to the Saint Petersburg  Finance and Naval ministries, along with the Saint Petersburg office of the RAC on 19 October 1806 O.S. The memorandum described the flag as having "three stripes, the lower red, the middle blue, and the upper and wider stripe white, with the facsimile on it of the All-Russia state coat-of-arms below which is a ribbon hanging from the talons of the eagle with the inscription thereon ‘Russo-American Company's."

The company flag eventually had several variations, in part from the nature of individual production and the changing designs of the Imperial flag. The various flags flew over the company's holdings in California until 1 January 1842, and over Alaska until 18 October 1867, when all Russian-American Company holdings in Alaska were sold to the United States. The flag continued to represent the company until its Russian holdings were liquidated in 1881.[4]


The Company’s flag in 1835


Alaska District



The vast region was initially designated the Department of Alaska, under the jurisdiction of the Department of War and administered by the U.S. Army officers until 1877, when the Army was withdrawn from Alaska. The Department of the Treasury then took control, with the Collector of Customs as the highest ranking federal official in the territory. In 1879, the U.S. Navy was given jurisdiction over the department.



On May 17, 1884, the Department of Alaska was redesignated the District of Alaska, an incorporated but unorganized territory with a civil government. The governor was appointed by the President of the United States. The first governor John Henry Kinkead, designated a seal of the district, which featured glaciers, northern lights, igloos, and an Eskimo ice fishing. The legend reads: THE SEAL OF THE DISTRICT « OF ALASKA «

In 1910, this seal was replaced with a design more representative of the state's industrial and natural wealth. It was designed by an anonymous craftsman. It represents a landscape with Anchorage, Cook Inlet and Mount Gilbert. On the foreground is a farmer and in the bay are sailing ships. In the sky isa rising sun. The legend was left unchanged. but the stars were replaced by salmons.


Photo by National Ocean Service, NOAA.

Seal of the District of Alaska

As on the fireplace of the Governor’s House, Anchorage


State of Alaska




After 1959 the seal contains rays above the mountains that represent the famous Alaskan northern lights. The smelter symbolizes mining; the train stands for Alaska's railroads; and ships denote transportation by sea. The trees pictured in the seal symbolize the state's wealth of timber, and the farmer, his horse, and the three shocks of wheat stand for Alaskan agriculture. The salmon (Salmo salar),  and the seals (Phoca vitulina - Phocidae) signify the importance of fishing and seal rookeries to Alaska's economy.

Alaska is the only state which displays a seal on its seal. The legend reads now “the seal of the state of alaska”.





Alaska Army National Guard / Alaska State Area Command






That for the regiments and separate battalions of the Alaska Army National Guard:  From a wreath of colors, the aurora borealis blended from dexter base Purple through Red, range, Yellow to Green to chief and repeated inversely to sinister base behind a totem pole of three figures, an eagle, a bear and a walrus paleways affronté all Proper.



The crest is typically Alaskan and tells its own story.  The walrus represents the Eskimo, the original owner of the country; the territory then passed to the Russian Bear, and finally to the American eagle.  Behind the totem pole are the Northern Lights.



The crest for color bearing organizations for the Territory of Alaska was approved on 8 January 1924.

Distinctive Unit Insignia




A gold color metal and enamel device 3.02 cm in height overall consisting of a blue sky bearing at the top a gold five-pointed star above a white mountain peak flanked by a grove of green pine trees, in base a blue area bearing a white wavy bar, surmounted by a vertical gold anchor extending over the land area and base of mountain, at the top a semicircular gold scroll folded back at each end and inscribed "GREAT LAND" in base a scroll of the same inscribed "VIGILANCE" all in blue letters.



The white mountain peak between groves of Sitka Spruce, Alaska's State Tree, represents Mt. McKinley in south-central Alaska, the highest point in North America.  The gold star on the blue field represents the North Star and Alaska's gold industry, and was suggested by the Alaska State Flag.  The blue area and wavy white bar refer to Alaska's coastline, rivers and lakes.  The anchor alludes to Anchorage, the headquarters of the organization; the anchor is also a symbol of strength and security.



The distinctive unit insignia was originally approved for Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment and noncolor bearing units of the Alaska Army National Guard on 14 October 1971.  It was redesignated effective 1 October 1982, for Headquarters, State Area Command, Alaska Army National Guard.


Shoulder Sleeve Insignia




On a blue shield a .32 cm) white border, 5.08 cm  in width and 6.99 cm in height overall, seven white stars forming the Big Dipper, a part of the constellation Ursa Major.



The stars of the most conspicuous constellation in the northern sky symbolize the allocation of the unit.



The shoulder sleeve insignia was originally approved for Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment, Alaska National Guard on 9 April 1954.  It was redesignated with description amended for Headquarters, State Area Command, Alaska Army National Guard on 30 December 1983.  (TIOH Dwg. No. A-1-156) [5]



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 © Hubert de Vries 2016-10-10




[1] http://gerbovnik.ru/arms/593.html

[2] http://gerbovnik.ru/arms/504.html

[3] http://gerbovnik.ru/arms/493.html

[4] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Russian-American_Company_flag

[5] The Institute of Heraldry Office of the Administrative Assistant to the Secretary of the Army

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