Arkhangelsk Port, Russia


The Vikings knew the area where the Arkhangelsk port is situated as Bjarmaland. The Novgorodians came to this area in the 12th century to establish the Archangel Michael Monastery in the Northern Dvina estuary. Then in 1478 the land and the rest of Novgorod Republic were given over to the Muscovy. The main area where trade took place was a little further upstream from Arkhangelsk called Kholmogory.

Ivan the Terrible, in 1555, allowed English merchants, who had founded the Company of Merchant Adventures, to trade and so they began to send ships every year to the Northern Dvina estuary. Dutch merchants were also interested in trading in this area so brought their ships into the White Sea. In 1584 Ivan the Terrible ordered the founding of New Kholmogory, later it would be named Arkhangelsk after the Archangel Monastery.

At that time Sweden still had control over the Baltic Sea, which meant that when Arkhangelsk was icebound due to the extreme winter, it remained Moscow’s only way to the sea. Arkhangelsk was used as the main port of entry for Allied aid during both of the world wars. During World War II Arkhangelsk was known by the West as the destination of the Arctic Convoys because it was here that supplies were brought to the Russians whose normal supplies had been stopped. Today Arkhangelsk still remains one of the main seaports and due to technology improvements in icebreakers it is now open throughout the year.


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