Fort Stikine
Fort Stikine is located in current day Wrangell, Alaska and is the longest standing fort on the Alaskan coast. The location of the fort on the Stikine River made it an important supply point for fur traders and its proximity to the Indigenous village, Kotzlitzna, aided trade with the Stikine Tlingit First Nations.1
Fort Stikine was established in 1839 after the Russian-American Company (who were in Alaska for sea otter) and the Hudson’s Bay Company came to an agreement. The agreement allowed the HBC’s use of the Russian post of Redoubt St. Dionysus which became Fort Stikine.2 Fort Stikine fell under the direction of Chief Trader James Douglas (later Governor of the colonies of British Columbia and Vancouver Island). William Glen Rae, who would become the chief trader of the post after Douglas reported in the first journal entry at Fort Stikine on 13 June 1840.3
The men at the fort spent their time protecting themselves against “anticipated Tlingit attacks,” collecting water, turning potatoes, and chopping wood. The men also experienced trade problems with the Tlingit, however these problems would have been easily solved had someone at the fort spoken Tlingit.4 Problems escalated between Fort Stikine and the Tlingit, when the Tlingits claimed their traditional rights to the Stikine River and protested when the HBC began to use their trade routes. A smallpox epidemic between 1836-1840, due to the arrival of Europeans, reduced the Tlingit population by half.5
Fort Stikine was abandoned in 1848 when furs were depleted, however it remained under British control, connected to other colonial holdings through its ships such as the Beaver and Labouchere.6 British control remained until the United States purchased Alaska from Russia in 1867. After the US purchase, a new fort was built in 1868 at the spot of Fort Stikine, it was named Fort Wrangel after Baron von Wrangel of the Russian-American company.7
Mentions of this place in the documents
People in this document

Douglas, James

Organizations in this document

Hudson's Bay Company

Vessels in this document

Beaver, 1835-1888

Labouchere, 1858

Places in this document


British Columbia

Stikine River

Vancouver Island