This is the first study in Russian or Western literature of the riseand fall of Russian naval influence in the North Pacific Ocean from thetime of Peter the Great to Tsar Nicholas I. The author deals with aneglected area: inherent tension between Russian naval and mercantileinterests and the origins of international rivalry in the North Pacificat large. Barratt shows that Russia's motives for early expeditionsto the Pacific were to promote science, exploration, and trade. Butwhen imperialist powers vied for territory and resources in the area,military confrontation became a possibility. .