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Vladivostok was founded in 1860 during Russias second push across the Amur River. The military ship "Manchuria" with Ensign Komarov and 40 soldiers dropped anchor in the beautiful and friendly bay. The first barracks and a church were quickly built, giving Russia a voice to claim new territories known today as the Russian Far East. Vladivostok became abruptly the main Russian Pacific Naval base when Port Arthur fell in the Russian Japanese War. In 1981, Tsar Nicholas II made a visit to inaugurate the new Trans-Siberian rail line that was to link Vladivostok to Moscow.

Between its founding and the closing to foreigners in 1958, Vladivostok was a fairly international city. In the early part of the 20th century, Russians were actually outnumbered by Chinese in Vladivostok, and during the years following the revolution, there were large Japanese and American populations.

When the Reds (revolutionaries) seized power in 1917, Japanese, Americans, French and English poured ashore to support the tsarist counterattack. After the head of the White Army, Admiral Kolchak, was defeated, Vladivostok was closed for all foreigners. As the eastern terminus of the Trans-Siberian, Vladivostok also became the recipient of deportees, a transit center for thousands of prisoners waiting to be shipped up to Kolyma. Now, the situation is totally different. The city is open to all kinds of businesses and is worth visiting not just as a base for wilderness exploration, but in its own right as well.




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