Russian colonization of the Slavyanka River began in 1812 with the construction of Fort Ross. With the discovery of gold in the late 1840s, the Russian outpost would emerge as a vital hub of Russian America. During the 20th Century, Ross would solidify its place as the economic hub of Alaska and western North America.
The area was historically the home of the Coast Miwok, Pomo, and Wappo peoples. Though the territory was originally discovered and claimed by the Spanish, the Russians would be the first Europeans to explore the region in greater detail. In early 1812, the Russian-American Company established a fur trading post just north of the Rumyantsev Bay. Headed by Ivan Kuskov, the Russian colony would further develop the area, including the construction and operation of the first windmills in the Pacific Northwest.
During the Russo-Spanish War (1822-1824), the Russian colony suffered damage by the Spanish. The war concluded with the Russian Empire gaining full control of the area. The postbellum era would see the development of the Ross Colony into a major trading post on the Pacific Ocean. The colony was incorporated into a city in 1832 and would become a regional hub during the Gold Rush of the 1850s. Ross would serve as the end of the Russian–American Telegraph and the First Transcontinental Railroad.
By the 20th Century, Ross had developed into a major city within the Russian Empire. The city would also form the epicenter of Alaska's and Sonoma's independence movements. Beginning in 1921, the city would come under the control of the Ross Soviet — a democratic council headed by the citizens of the city. It was also during this time that the gubernial capital of Sonoma was moved to Dve Reki in the north.
With the reunification of Alaska in 1931, Ross would re-emerge as the paramount city for the nation.