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The Russian-American Company bought a lot of grain in Spanish and Mexican California. In 1829 or 1830, not enough was available, and the ship Baikal under captain Etholén continued south to Chile. Kirill Khlebnikov was aboard, probably as supercargo. According to Winston Sarafian, some company employees deserted in Valparaíso.

What news or impressions did the Russians make?

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    Might have been the first Russian-American ship, but not the first Russian ship.
    – justCal
    Commented Feb 25, 2018 at 14:59
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    I see conflicting information on what kind of ship Baikal was so I removed that detail. My sources here are Pierce's Builders of Alaska: The Russian Governors 1818-1867 and Sarafian's Russian-American Company employee policies and practices. Maybe there were multiple trips to Chile? Commented Feb 28, 2018 at 0:19
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    Pierce says on different pages that the ship returned to Sitka 1830/3/15 and 1830/5/15. Commented Feb 28, 2018 at 0:21
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    The Baikal is also listed in the notes in Bancroft as well, but no mention of her heading south (of course the list is just ships off Cal., so where it went was off-topic, or unknown).
    – justCal
    Commented Feb 28, 2018 at 0:29
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    @gktscrk A supercargo is responsible for the disposition of the cargo on the ship, often employed directly by the corporation or backers of the ships voyage. He may make the actual transactions when the ship goes to port, buying or selling as needed.
    – justCal
    Commented May 17, 2020 at 14:33

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These Russians probably weren't big news: numerous Russian voyages had already stopped in Chile. By 1827 Talcahuano was "a resting-place indicated in the Admiralty instructions". N. A. Ivashintsov in Russian Round-the-World Voyages, 1803-1849 indicates that:

  • the Rurik spent a month at Talcahuano in 1816
  • the Predpriiatie spent six weeks at Talcahuano in 1824
  • the Krotkii spent ten days at Valparaiso in 1827
  • the Moller spent two weeks at Valparaiso in 1827
  • the Seniavin spent two weeks at Valparaiso in 1827
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