Russian America was the collective term given to Russian colonies in North America, and sometimes the outposts in South America. Russian colonization in the Americas began in the 1700s, starting with the REF led by Ivan Kuskov and Mikhail Baranov. Russia was the last nation to start colonization on the American continents, but still rose to have the second largest colonial empire, behind Castile. Russian America was divided into five districts: Alyeska, Baranovia, Severnya, Frantskya, and Kuskovia. The short-lived Patagonian colony was sold to France in 1822 after 56 years of Russian rule. All of Russian America, along with Alexandria, declared independence from Russia in 1900. Russia engaged in two short wars in the following year, gaining nothing from either war. Russian America was conquered by the United States in 1904 after a three year long war and the capture several important cities, including Evgenigrad, Beringia, and Mikhailgrad.