Seattle: A Russian City
The earliest records about Seattle date about the year 1850. The first inhabitants of the city were represented by settlers from other parts of the country as well as colonists from Europe. It may seem that the city is not old and has just a little more than 150 years. However, the historical evidence shows that the first American Indians’ settlement existed on that place even several centuries BC.
The development of the city’s production and economy started with the timber industry which supported Seattle during many decades. The city became a prosperous place attracting attention of thousands of settlers – and Russians made up the large part of them.
The first wave of Russian immigration started in the 18th century and lasted till the end of the next century. In this period people mostly escaped from religious and governmental persecutions in their motherland. Moreover, this was a time of a famous gold-rush, and many Russian adventurers came to Seattle in search of fortune.
Thanks to the port, the city gained a strategic part and became a connection link between the USA and other countries. At that time the Russian population in Seattle was so significant that St. Nicolas and St. Spiridon Orthodox churches were built there. They received the financial support directly from the Russian Empire and Tsar Nicolas II. Already in 1925 statistics reported about 5 thousand Russians in Seattle only.
Gradually Seattle became famous for electronic industry, computer technologies, ship and aircraft construction. Many people came here from distant corners of the country in search of jobs.
In the beginning of the 20th century Seattle and smaller towns around it became the destination for the second wave of immigration from Russia in revolt. Lots of Russians tried to escape from the political crisis in their native land. The intelligentsia and nobility were especially exposed to the outrage of the new authorities. The USA became a new hope for these people, promising the better and more tranquil life. The settlers tied their hopes for the future of their families with this land of opportunities.
Now you can find various stories and descendants of the Russian dukes and
duchesses who moved from Russia and settled here, in America. For example, one of such fascinating stories is described in the novel by Lara Prodan, “The Thin Thread of Destiny”.
It tells about the elder son of Ukhtomskiy duke, who moved to America after the October revolution in Russia. In general, many pages of the city’s history are tightly connected with Russians. Just remember the two-week dockers’ strike in 1919, when the workers refused to load weapons designed for Kolchak on the ships.
Later the third wave of immigration started, provoked by the Soviet regime. Now the estimated quantity of Russians coming to Seattle yearly is about 10 thousand people.
Usually they live in communities and try to preserve their nation traditions and culture. You can often hear Russian music here and see press in their native language. Lately some advertising companies even decided to make Russian ads to cover the larger quantity of customers.