The Northwest coast of North America was one of the last territories to be conquered by Europeans. As Russia became eager to join other European powers in the conquest of this land mass, Peter the Great sent a convoy to determine whether there was a pathway from Asia to North America. Led by Danish sea captain, Vitus Bering, an initial expedition failed. Bering quickly regrouped, however, achieving a triumphant discovery of Alaska eight years later. Bering’s voyage sparked decades of Russian settlement as they traveled down the coast and became active in the lucrative fur trade. Meanwhile, the Spanish were drawn to this region as news of the riches of sea otter pelts pulled them to present day Northern California. This territory quickly became a contest between European nations as they attempted to capitalize on the abundant natural resources. Historical documents help present a captivating portrait of conflicts between nations as the Russians construct Fort Ross, the Spanish establish missionaries, and Native American groups form alliances in an effort to protect their way of life. California is transformed from a sparsely populated land to a rapidly expanding economic power driven by the rush for gold over the course of this story. Mr. Cervantes will show a short film that will trace the history of European colonization in the Northwest.