The Tlingits, the largest Indian group in Alaska, have lived in Alaska's coastal southwestern region for centuries and first met non-Natives in 1741 during an encounter with the crew of the Russian explorer Alexei Chirikov. The volatile and complex connections between the Tlingits and their Russian neighbors, as well as British and American voyagers and traders, are the subject of this classic work, first published in Russian and now revised and updated for this English-language edition. Andrei Val’terovich Grinev bases his account on hundreds of documents from archives in Russia and the United States; he also relies on official reports, the notes of travelers, the investigations of historians and ethnographers, museum collections, atlases, illustrations, and photographs.
Grinev outlines a picture of traditional Tlingit society before contact with Europeans and then analyzes interactions between the Tlingit people and newcomers. He examines the changes that took place in the Tlingits' traditional material and spiritual culture, as well as military affairs, during the Russian-American period. He also considers the dynamics of the Tlingits' population, the increase in interethnic marriage, their relationships with European immigrants, and their ethnology.