In the early 1800s, Fort Ross was a thriving international community on the edge of the Spanish frontier. In 1812, the Russian-American Company (RAC) built Fort Ross at Metini, a centuries-old Kashaya village. The Fort had two purposes. The first was to supply food to the RAC's Alaskan settlements. The second was to serve as a base for hunting sea otters and fur seals. Russians, Native Alaskans, and Kashaya lived and worked at the Fort. The RAC did business with merchants and dignitaries from Mexico, the United States, and Europe throughout Alta California. In 1841, faced with a decline in the fur trade and failing crops, the RAC sold the buildings and its inventory. Several families later used the land for ranching, timber production, and as a stage stop.
Established in 1906, Fort Ross is one of the oldest parks in the California State Parks System. The Fort's international legacy endures as people from around the world celebrate and work to preserve its heritage.