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Sonoma (Russian: Сонома), formally referred to as
the Governorate of Sonoma (Сономская губерния, Sonomskaya guberniya), is a governorates of Alaska. The governorate is bordered by Oregon in the north and the Mexican state of Nevada in the southeast. Sonoma has the largest population and one of the wealthiest economies within the nation, with the City of Ross serving as a national and international hub.
The name Sonoma was borrowed from the Pomoan and Utian phrase цо-нома (tso-noma), which roughly translates as the "Valley of the Moon." Prior to the formal adoption of Sonoma in 1850, the area was also referred to as the "Ross Colony" (Колония Россь, Koloniya Ross) and "Russian California" (Русская Калифорния, Russkaya Kaliforniya).
Prior to the discovery of the Americas, the territory of Sonoma had been inhabited by native groups for millennia. The Miwok, the Pomo, and the Shasta were among the most prominent cultures in the area.
The Spanish were the first Europeans to explore the area, with Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo exploring the coast as far north as modern day Oregon. Spanish missions would be established across the coast from San Francisco Bay to the tip of the Baja California Peninsula. The English and the French also explored the area with intentions of colonization, with Sir Francis Drake of England going as far as to claim territory in the area.
Under the leadership of Aleksander Baranov, the Russian-American Company looked to expand the company's interests into the Californias and Oregon. Beginning in 1808, the RAC authorized several exploratory expeditions with the intent of establishing an agricultural colony to help feed the northern colonies of Russian America. Headed by Ivan Kuskov, a Russian base was established in 1812 near Rumyantsev Bay. For the next decade, Fortress Ross and the nearby ranches would become a success for the Russian Empire.
The Kingdom of Spain attempted to remove the Russian colonists by force in March 1822. The Russian colonists were able to force the Spanish to retreat, sparking the Russo-Spanish War. At the war's conclusion in 1824, the Russian Empire and the newly recognized Mexican Empire came out as the victors. Russia would formally control and Slavianka River Valley, but it wouldn't be until years later that Dmitry Zavalishin would successfully purchase all of the territory west of the Sacramento River from Mexico.
The Russian-American Company would continue its administrative duties over Russian America until 1841, when Tsar Nicholas I formally annexed the territory and organized it into integral territories of the Russian America.
The territory of modern day Sonoma was originally included within the Spanish colony of New Spain. It wouldn't be until the early 19th Century that the Russian-American Company (on behalf of the Russian Empire) began to expand their influence within the region. In 1812, Ivan Kuskov would lead an expedition to establish a Russian settlement in the Californias, becoming the basis for the city of Ross along the Slavianka River.
The presence of Russian settlers in the Californias eventually snowballed into the Russo-Spanish War between 1822 until 1824. The boundaries of the governorate were formalized with the Zavalishin Purchase in 1826, with the Mexican Empire agreeing to sell all of its territory northwest of the Sacramento River. Despite the expansion of the Ross Colony following the war, it wouldn't be until the discovery of gold in 1848 that the territory began to bloom. While under the Russian Empire, Sonoma was often regarded as a beacon for the Russian Empire along the Pacific Ocean.
By the turn of the century, Sonoma was among the centers for the Americanist Movement which aimed to establish Russian America as an autonomous entity within the Russian Empire. Despite Alaska's declaration of independence in 1917, Sonoma would continue to push for greater freedoms throughout the Alaskan Wars. Inspired by the Reds of the Russian Revolution, several soviets ("councils") were organized across the governorate (with the one in Ross being the most influential). Though dominated by Socialists, these soviets fought to retain themselves as a democratic voice for the people. In 1921, the governorate formally declared their independence as the Sonoman People's Republic. Future Alaskan President, Taras Ferley, would serve as leader of Sonoma throughout the majority of its independence.
Following the end of the White-controlled government in New Archangel, Sonomans began to favor the reunification of Alaska as a federation and a liberal democracy. Sonoma would formally be admitted into the Alaskan Democratic Federative Republic in late 1931. Shortly after reunification, Sonoma slowly regained its prominence within the reunited nation.