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date: 09 May 2021

Abstract and Keywords

In the early eighteenth century, the imprecise northwest frontier of the Spanish Empire in America was scarcely explored. At the end of the Seven Years’ War the Spanish Crown implemented reforms to extend its control over peripheral areas like northwestern New Spain. The presence of Russian hunters and entrepreneurs in the Aleutian Islands and small enclaves along the Pacific coast unveiled during this War was considered by the Spanish Crown as an invasion. Meanwhile, the imperial Russian government approved the foundation of the Russian-American Company to consolidate a colonization project in the Americas. This chapter reflects on how both imperial governments understood the limits of their empires in North America, examining the relations that each of them established with the Native American peoples in order to profit from their workforce and local knowledge. It explores Native American responses to Russian and Spanish presence and how these influenced indigenous interethnic relations.

Keywords: Russians, Aleutians, Inuits, Upper California, Alaska, Russian-American Company, fur trade, hunters

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