Alexander Archipelago

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Alexander Archipelago

(ärkĭpĕl`əgō), island group off SE Alaska. The islands are the exposed tops of the submerged coastal mountains that rise steeply from the Pacific Ocean. Deep, fjordlike channels separate the islands and cut them off from the mainland; the northern part of the Inside PassageInside Passage,
natural, protected waterway, c.950 mi (1,530 km) long, threading through the Alexander Archipelago off the coast of British Columbia and SE Alaska. From Seattle, Wash.
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 threads its way among the islands. The largest islands are Chichagof, Admiralty, Baranof, WrangellWrangell Island
, 30 mi (48 km) long and 5 to 14 mi (8.1–22.5 km) wide, off SE Alaska in the Alexander Archipelago, south of the mouth of the Stikine River. It was occupied in 1834 by Russians, who named it for the Russian explorer Baron Ferdinand von Wrangel.
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, Revillagigedo, Kupreanof, Mitkoff, and Prince of WalesPrince of Wales, Cape,
at the tip of the Seward Peninsula, NW Alaska, on the Bering Strait; westernmost point of North America. Cape Dezhnev, Siberia, is only 55 mi (89 km) to the west.
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. All the islands are rugged, densely forested, and have an abundance of wildlife. The Tlingit are native to the area. KetchikanKetchikan
, city (1990 pop. 8,263), SE Alaska, a port of entry on Revillagigedo Island in the Alexander Archipelago. A supply point for miners in the gold rush of the 1890s, it has become a center of Alaska's fishing industry (especially salmon, halibut, and abalone).
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 on Revillagigedo and SitkaSitka
, city (1990 pop. 8,588), Sitka census div., SE Alaska, in the Alexander Archipelago, on Baranof Island; inc. 1971. Fishing, its first industry, remains important; salmon, halibut, red snapper, crab, herring, abalone, and clams are caught.
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 on Baranof are the main centers of population. Lumbering, trapping, fishing, and canning are the main industries. The archipelago was visited by the Russians in 1741 and was later explored by Britain, Spain, and the United States.

Alexander Archipelago

 

an island group off the western coast of North America; part of Alaska, USA. Consisting of 1,100 islands and cliffs, it covers a total area of 36,800 sq km. The largest islands are Prince of Wales, Admiralty, Baranof, Chichagof, and Kupreanof. Composed of intrusive and metamorphic rocks, the archipelago has a mountainous landscape rising to an elevation of 1,432 m. The shores are steep, with many fjords. The channels between the islands and the mainland form a convenient inner ice-free navigation route. The climate is temperate and oceanic, with the average temperature in January ranging between –1.6° and 1.2°C and in July, between 12° and 14°C. The annual precipitation is 2,000–3,000 mm. Up to an altitude of 1,000–1,100 m, the islands are covered with dense fir tree forests and above that, with mountain meadows. The population is about 30,000 (1963), including 8,000–9,000 native residents. The major industries are fur farming and salmon fishing. The archipelago was discovered in 1741 by the Russian expedition of Bering and Chirikov. Until 1867 it was the center of the Russian colony in America with the capital in the city of Sitka, which was called Novo Arkhangel’sk between 1804 and 1867.

REFERENCES

Agranat, G. A., A. B. Kupriianov, and V. F. Puzanova. Naselenie i resursy Amerikanskogo Severa. Moscow, 1963.
Landscapes of Alaska. Edited by H. Williams. Berkeley-Los Angeles, 1958.

Alexander Archipelago

a group of over 1000 islands along the coast of SE Alaska