Several books and articles indicate that Osip Volkov defected from a Russian ship at Monterey around 1815, midway through the Mexican War of Independence. Naturalized as Jose Antonio Bolcof, he served as alcalde of Branciforte. The Russian-American Company had a royal monopoly on the fur trade in America. What was the ship on which Volkov arrived in California?

  • This article refers to him as a fur trader and I thought that adding that derail made sense of your reference to the Russian-American Company having a royal monopoly on the fur trade.
    – Steve Bird
    Oct 21, 2016 at 18:26

1 Answer 1


According to pg 317 of the Book California Through Russian Eyes, by James R Gibson,

...while hunting sea otters from the Ilmena, he either jumped ship or was captured by a Spanish patrol.

The Ilmena is listed as 'purchased from the Americans' on the Russia-America Company wiki page.

So there's your ship name, and yes he was employed in the fur trade.


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