Secondary Source: Chapter 4

Excerpt from Susan Morris, et al., “Murder, Massacre, and Mayhem on the California Coast, 1814–1815: Newly Translated Russian Documents Reveal Company Concern Over Violent Clashes.” Journal of California and Great Basin Anthropology 34, 1 (2014): 82, 91.

…Three documents were translated into English for this project, and they gave specifics about the long-rumored violent conflict between a Russian otter hunting crew and the Nicoleño that took place in 1814…

At this point we do not know what triggered the murder of the Alaskan native otter hunter by the Nicoleño, nor do we know his name, or how many Nicoleño were killed in retaliation. The actual number of Babin’s hunting group is speculative, but if there were 50 RAC hunters in the Il’mena at the start of the voyage in 1814, plus two Russian overseers (Tarakanov and Babin), and Babin commanded the smaller of two hunting groups, then the size of his crew may have been about 17, or roughly one-third of the total.

It is unclear that Babin himself killed anyone but he was held accountable for the actions of those under his command.

Last updated: November 21, 2016