Last updated: September 21, 2017
Established in 1799 and named Fort St. Michael, Old Sitka was a permanent Russian fur trade settlement, which, at the time, was the farthest southward expansion of the Russians on the Northwest Coast. The settlement was short-lived. Armed with guns and ammunition obtained from American and British trading ships, the Tlingit attacked and burned the fortified Russian post in 1802.
The Russians returned in 1804 to retake control of Sitka Sound from the Tlingit, who had built their own defensive fortification at the mouth of Indian River several miles to the south. The Russians scored a decisive victory over the Tlingit at Indian River in 1804, but never rebuilt at Old Sitka. (The National Historic Landmark status of Old Sitka is currently under review).