Many people don’t know that from a period of 1732-1867, Russia had enough control of Alaska and Northern California that the regions were called Russian America, and if Russia had not sold their interests to Alaska to the United States after the Civil War, Alaska and parts of California, if not much of the West Coast might have someday had become been part of the old Soviet Union.
Old time imperial Russia in the tzarist days had trading outposts in Northern California as well as control of Alaska. But, given the transportation distances, Russia simply wasn’t making a real handy profit from either California or Alaska. And after the Union victory over the South at the end of the Civil War, Russia had renewed fears that the British centered power in British Columbia could take Alaska by military force as part of the British Empire. It seemed like a wise move to give up their trading posts in California and to sell Alaska for 2cents an acre to United States in April 1867. The deal amounted to $7,200,000 for Russia at the time. a real bargain for the U.S., as well as a relief to Russia to not have to worry about losing their land without compensation. Otherwise, parts of California as well as Alaska would have likely become part of the Soviet Union at one point after the first Russian Revolution.
Russia outposts in the United States also operated with another weakness as well, as unlike most other European states, the Russian government offered little official and military support to Russian explorers or companies that claimed parts of North America. This put Russia at a real disadvantage since they didn’t bother to use military power to back up their claims to land as strongly as the British, French, Spanish or other Europeans were willing to do.
Interestingly, the Russian-American Company that had control in California and Alaska also had their own Russian flag to fly over parts of the territories until they gave up control.