General Map Presenting the Convenient Methods of Increasing Russian Trade and Navigation in the Pacific and Southern Oceans


This Russian map, published in 1787, centers on the Pacific Rim and includes much of Eurasia and North America on its margins. It was produced by Ivan Golikov, a Russian merchant who was one of the founders of the Russian-American Company active in the maritime fur trade in sea otter pelts in the North Pacific from the mid-18th century to the mid-19th century. The map displays, for the era in which it was made, a thoroughgoing level of knowledge of Alaska. It clearly incorporates cartographic insights gained from both the recent Russian explorations in the North Pacific since the voyage of Vitus Bering to Alaska in 1741 as well as the subsequent trading expeditions of the Russian-American Company along the Aleutian Islands and south-central Alaska. The coverage of the map is uneven, however, as reflected in the blank spaces for much of interior Canada and the North American Arctic as well as the northern reaches of Australasia and other parts of the Southern Pacific region. It shows the full length of the Great Wall of China and highlights relief where known as well as gives the names of islands, rivers, lakes, and other bodies of water. Siberia and Alaska are shown with the most cartographic detail, which of course reflects the intimate knowledge of these regions gained by the Russian-American Company. These features also would have been the most novel and valuable parts of this map for foreign interests. The map includes a detailed inset of Kodiak Island, where the Russian-American Company then had its headquarters, and adjoining regions of Alaska. In contrast to the main part of the map, which has north oriented towards the top, the inset shows west oriented towards the top and thus presents Kodiak at an unusual angle. The inset has a scale listed in versts, a tsarist-era unit of distance equal to 1.07 kilometers. No scale is provided for the main map.

Date Created

Subject Date


Title in Original Language

Генеральная карта, представляющая удобные способы к умножению Российской торговли и мореплаванию по Тихому И Южному океану

Type of Item

Physical Description

1 map : watercolor


  • Map scale approximately 1:1,260,000

Last updated: December 11, 2017