The Governorate of Shelikof (Russian: Шелиховская губерния, Shelikhovskaya guberniya), colloquially known as Shelikof (Шелихов, Shelikhov), is one of the 18 governorates which makes up Alaska. Located in northwestern Alaska, Shelikof is bordered by Bering in the north, Kodiak and New Irkutsk in the east, and Aleutia in the south. The majority of the governorate's population are located along the coast of Bristol Bay, with the gubernial capital and largest city being Nooshagak.
The name Shelikof is the Anglicization of the Russian surname Шелихов (Shelikhov). The governorate is named in honor of Grigory Shelikhov, who was a Russian merchant and one of the founder of the Russian-American Company. The name was formally adopted in 1942 as the name of the governorate. Prior to which, the region was historically referred to as Cisalaska (in reference to the Alaskan Peninsula).
Northwestern Alaska was originally inhabited by several indigenous groups, with the Aleuts and the Yupiks dominating the areas along the Bering Sea and the Lower Yukon. From the 18th Century onward, the territory became incorporated into the Russian Empire. Trading ports were established by the Russians (such as Kolmakovsk, Naknek, and Nooshagak). Despite its proximity to Eurasia, the territory would remained isolated until the 20th Century with the completion of the All-Alaskan Railroad and the waves of new settlers over the gold rushes. The final decades of Russian rule saw the industrialization of the fishing-based economy and the continued population growth.
During the Russian Revolution, the workers of Nooshagak embraced the ideals of the Bolsheviks in Russia. Following their defeat in New Archangel, the Alaskan Red Army reorganized themselves in Nooshagak. In late 1921, the Communists proclaimed an Alaskan Socialist Republic and the desire to follow the model of Russia (later to become the Soviet Union). Under the rule of the ASR, the territory saw an increase in industrialization and the overall living standard being improved. However, the ASR was internationally isolated, with the USSR being their only means of foreign support. Following the German Invasion of the USSR in 1941, the ASR lost their only ally and conflict with its neighbors were re-sparked. The following year, ADFR troops seize Nooshagak and the Communist State collapses (with its territory being incorporated into the ADFR).
The Governorate of Shelikof was established shortly after the collapse of the Alaskan Socialist Republic. Federal troops would remain within the governorate until the early 1950s. Despite the growth of Anti-Communist and McCarthyite policies on the federal level, the voters of Shelikof (especially within Nooshagak) continued to support Communist and Left-Wing candidates. The first popularly-elected Governor was former ASR soldier, Vasily Kardash. Under his governorship, Kardash sought to meld the Marxist-leanings of the governorate with liberal democracy and pacifism. These ideals would form the basis of the Movement for Peace and Freedom (DMS) and would propel Kardash into the presidency in 1961.
According to the 2007 Census, Shelikof has a population nearing four million residence. Approximately a third of the population reside within the Nooshagak Metropolitan Area. The majority of Shelikovians are either of Russian or of mixed Aleut-Russian descent (Creoles). Those of English, Filipino, German, Korean, Norwegian, Swedish, and Ukrainian currently make up the largest minorities. The majority of the residence speak Russian as a native of fluent speaker. The second-most spoken language is Catherinian Creole (a mixed Aleut-Russian creole). English and Tagalog are also spoken in large numbers. Shelikovans are predominantly irreligious, with Agnostics and Atheists making up the majority. The Eastern Orthodox Church is the most adhered to region. Buddhists, Catholics, Jews, and Protestants (primarily Lutherans) make up the largest minorities. The governorate is politically dominated by the Movement for Peace and Freedom (DMS) and is consider among the most "orange" (left-leaning) of Alaska's governorates.