Nikolai Rezanov (Ryazanov) made a significant contribution to Russian history. He is remembered as the first official Russian ambassador to Japan, a domestic navigator, an associate of Grigory Shelekhov, who was called "Columbus of Russia" back in those days. Together they stood at the origins of the Russian-American campaign, participated in the development of the eastern borders of the state.
Childhood and youth
The future traveler and diplomat was born in 1764 in a poor family of a St. Petersburg collegiate councilor. Soon, my father received a referral to head the civil chamber of the court in Irkutsk, and the whole family moved there.
The parents gave the boy an excellent education at home, he learned several languages. At the age of 14, Kolya tried on the uniform of a military artilleryman. Among his colleagues, the stately young man stood out for his beauty and dexterity, therefore he was promoted to the Izmailovsky Life Guards regiment. Having won the personal affection of the empress, the young officer accompanied Catherine II during her travels around the country.
Palace intrigues were not to Rezanov's liking, and unexpectedly for everyone, he completed his military service. He entered the chamber of the Civil Court as an assessor, then transferred to the State Chamber of St. Petersburg. A career in the capital was developing successfully. At first, he headed the Chancellery of the Admiralty, then became the ruler of the Chancellery of Derzhavin and the imperial secretary. In the "Table of Ranks" the provincial jumped over several steps, apparently, his business acumen and powerful patronage played a decisive role in this.
Nikolai was sent to Irkutsk on official business. The first big thing was his participation in the company of Russian settlements in America under the leadership of the merchant Shelikhov. Their relationship was further strengthened after Rezanov married the eldest daughter of the famous navigator. Anna Shelikhova received a title of nobility, it is a good dowry. It is known that the count wanted to single-handedly own the fur business on the Pacific coast and earned millions on this. After the death of his father-in-law, Nikolai inherited his capital with his wife and returned to service in St. Petersburg. Rezanov was assigned to the Governing Senate and instructed to prepare a number of documents.
The marriage of Nikolai and Anna ended after eight years of marriage. After giving her husband a son and a daughter, the wife died. Rezanov sincerely grieved over the loss and thought about retirement in order to devote himself to children. But he did not have a chance to take up their upbringing - new orders followed from the capital.
Ambassador to Japan
In 1799, Emperor Pavel expressed to the official his personal interest in continuing the Russian-American campaign started by Shelikhov. Rezanov was assigned to lead it. The next leader of the country, Alexander I, sent Nicholas to the Finnish Commission.
Three years later, he was assigned to become the first Russian envoy to the Land of the Rising Sun. The task was incredibly difficult, because for a century and a half Japan was in self-isolation. Russia wanted to establish diplomacy and start trading with this country. It was decided to combine this work with the first Russian round-the-world expedition under the command of Kruzenshtern. Ryazanov was appointed the second leader of the circumnavigation. It should be noted that Ivan Fedorovich has repeatedly applied to the ministry to establish maritime communication with compatriots in America. But the matter moved only after a similar request from Rezanov. During the trip, Kruzenshtern and Rezanov lived together in a six-meter cabin, misunderstandings followed them all along the way. The quarrel between the two bosses was so serious that they communicated with each other through notes. In addition, the ambassador's retinue constrained the crew of the small ship "Nadezhda".Only the ruler of Kamchatka was able to reconcile the leaders and stop the mutiny on the ship after the ship arrived in Petropavlovsk.
Then the "Hope" proceeded to Nagasaki. The Russian ship was not allowed into the harbor, and it drifted near the island of Dejima. The reply word of the Japanese emperor followed six months later. He refused trade and diplomatic relations with Russia and returned all the gifts he had brought. The fiascoed ambassador was angry and tactless. He not only failed to establish trade, but also to resolve the issue of the acquisition of Sakhalin Island. The diplomatic mission has failed.
"Juno and Avos"
The diplomat was removed from further participation in the expedition. He was assigned to inspect Russian settlers in Alaska. He saw the colonies in a deplorable state, the inhabitants of the settlements were starving, food was delivered to them for months and often they came in already spoiled. Nicholas bought the ship "Juno" from an American merchant, loaded with food and delivered them to the settlers. There was not enough food, and he started building the second ship "Avos". Both ships went to California for provisions. The second goal of the leader of the expedition was the desire to establish trade with Spain, which owned these lands. During his stay in the fortress, Rezanov simply conquered the commandant and his fifteen-year-old daughter. Soon, 42-year-old Nikolai invited the girl to become his wife. Until now, it is not clear what was more in this act - passion or diplomatic calculation. Conchita's parents dissuaded their daughter from this marriage, but in the end they agreed, and the engagement took place. After that, Russian settlements no longer experienced problems with food - the ships were loaded to capacity. Leaving his beloved, Nicholas believed that their separation would last no more than two years, during which time he hoped to get consent to the marriage from the Pope. On the way back, Rezanov left in the summer, the autumn mudslide found him already in Okhotsk. I had to cross the rivers, on thin ice. After a severe cold and a two-week fever, he continued on to Krasnoyarsk. On the way, he fell off his horse, hit his head hard and died a few days later.
So the biography of Nikolai Rezanov ended. His interesting fate is reflected in the works of many Russian and foreign authors. This romantic story forms the basis of Andrei Voznesensky's poem "Juno and Avos". According to legend, Conchita's personal life did not work out, she remained faithful to her fiancé until the end of her days. Every morning the beauty came to the ocean shore and waited for his return. Upon learning of Nikolai's death, she went to a monastery and spent the rest of her life there.