Today in History, February 2: 1812 –
The Russian government establishes Fort Ross…just north of San Francisco on the California coast. The Russians had been in western America since 1741 (Alaska) and needed Ft. Ross as a base and farming area to supply their sea otter operations farther north.
The farming in the area proved poor, the competition with Mexican nationals and Americans moving west proved too much. In 1841 Russia sold the fort to American John Sutter for $30,000 which he reportedly never paid. He used the supplies at the fort for his Sacremento Valley settlement where gold would be discovered 7 years later.