Refuge Rock, Partition Cove

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The Awa'uq or Refuge Rock Massacre was a battle between the Russian-American Company and the native Alutiiq people on Kodiak Island, Alaska. The attack was led by Grigory Shelikhov and 130 men armed with muskets and cannons.

In the mid-1700s, as Russian fur traders expanded north and east from Unalaska, they encountered resistance from Aleut and Alutiiq natives who were intent on repulsing them. In 1784 on Kodiak Island, Shelikhov moved to assert Russian dominance and sent a force to Refuge Rock to subjugate the native Koniag. The Koniag villagers traditionally gathered at the refuge when under threat of attack from other native groups. Shelikhov and his men sailed their boats into a inlet behind the rock hidden from view.

Eyewitness accounts vary but the Russians killed at least 300 men, women and children on Refuge Rock, and Shelikhov claimed to have captured over 1,000 people, detaining 400 as hostages. This began a dark period for the Alutiiq as the Russian traders enslaved men to hunt sea otters year-round, while women and children were held hostage. Read more here and here. Click here to download the CoastView app and explore Refuge Rock and Partition Cove.