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The List: Nine names given to the Russian River

Wednesday, August 14th, 2013 | Posted by
"Russian River Rhapsody" Jack Stuppin

“Russian River Rhapsody” Jack Stuppin

With an annual average discharge of approximately 1,600,000 acre feet (2.0 km3), it is the second largest river (after the Sacramento River) flowing through the nine county Greater San Francisco Bay Area with a mainstem 110 miles (177 km.) long.

 1. Ashokawna  (ʼaš:oʼkʰawna), is a name attributed to the Southern Pomo and means “east water place” or “water to the east”.

2. Bidapte, another Southern Pomo name for the River means “big river”

3. Slavyanka, the earliest European name for the River appears on a Russian-American Company chart dated 1817. It has been said that to the Russians, this name meant (among other variations) “Little Russian Girl” Among the three ranches established by the Russians, the Kostromitinov ranch was along the river near the mouth of Willow Creek.

4. In 1827 the Spanish gave their own name to the river, calling it San Ygnacio.

5. A Spanish land grant dated 1843 referred to the river as the Rio Grande.

According to the United States Geological Survey, variant names included:

6. Misallaako

7. Rio Ruso  

8. Shabaikai 

and now, it’s commonly known as:

9. The Russian River

  • http://KarenLockertArt.com Karen Lockert

    Love this! I had seen this list before, but lost part of it. I hope to use more of these words in my art. (Just sold a tiny painting named “slavyanka.)

  • Empress


  • Kayte G.

    Very cool, thanks Stephen!

  • Hal Norman

    What about Stumptown?

    • John De Salvio

      “Stumptown” was the nickname given to Guerneville when the harvesting of redwood timber made the surrounding hills just a mass collection of tree stumps. It was never applied to the Russian River.

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Stephen Gross, The River correspondent

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