This page was created by James Browning. 

The Imperiia Project: a spatial history of the Russian Empire

An Imperfect Realization

As Kherson made the transition from imperial vision to concrete reality, expectations had to be tempered. In May 1779, less than a year after the city received its name (if not its location), General of Artillery Ivan Gannibal, who had been given the responsibility of developing Kherson and its fortifications, oversaw the start of construction on Kherson’s first 66-gunner, named in honor of Catherine II. His initial, cautiously optimistic assessment that four ships could be built every year quickly soured when he found that Kherson’s ship master, Selyaninov, had inexplicably increased the draft of the Slava Ekateriny by over a foot. Dismissed from his post for being “unreliable,” Selyaninov was far from the last of Gannibal’s problems. In fact, Kherson would not launch the Slava Ekateriny until the end of 1783, constantly hindered by the harsh realities  of developing such a large project on a newly acquired frontier ex nihilo. To explore some other issues facing Kherson during its early years, follow the links below:
Labor Issues
Supply Issues
Disease
Kherson's days as the main shipyard and headquarters for the Black Sea Fleet were numbered. The subsequent Russo-Turkish War (1787 - 1792) brought the western bank of the Bug river under Russian control and new possibilities for naval expansion. The city of Nikolaev (Mikolaiv) was founded as a shipyard in 1789 and quickly grew to supplant its predecessor on the Dnepr as the Black Sea Fleet's headquarters were transferred to the city in 1796. 

 

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