Queen Charlotte Islands(redirected from Haida Gwai)
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Queen Charlotte Islands,archipelago of several large and many small islands, off the coast of W British Columbia, Canada. The main islands are Graham and Moresby. Masset on Graham Island is the main settlement. About 2,000 of the Islands' 5,700 inhabitants are Haida, a native people whose ancient village, Ninstints, on Skungwai Island, was named a World Heritage Site by the United Nations. There are valuable timber and fishing resources and several good harbors. The Islands attract many scientists and tourists because they escaped glaciation, making them a biologically unique area in Canada. The archipelago was visited in 1774 by Juan Pérez and in 1778 by Capt. James Cook; in 1787 it was surveyed by Capt. George Dixon. Hecate Strait separates it from the mainland; Dixon Entrance lies between it and Alaska to the north; and Queen Charlotte Sound separates it from Vancouver Island to the south.
Queen Charlotte Islands
an archipelago in the Pacific Ocean, off the Canadian coast. It includes the islands of Graham, Moresby, Louise, Lyell, and Kunghit and covers an area of 10,282 sq km. The island group belongs to the outer chain of the Canadian Cordilleras, part of which is submerged. The western coasts of the islands are mountainous and fjorded, rising to an elevation of 1250 m. In the northeast there is a broad lowland into which the Masset Inlet deeply penetrates. The climate is mild and very humid. Coniferous forests cover the islands. There are deposits of coal.
Logging and fishing are the major industries. The population totals approximately 3,000 (1965), about 1,000 of it consisting of Indians on reservations. The largest community is the village of Queen Charlotte. The archipelago was discovered and put on the map in 1774 by the Spanish expedition of J. Perez; it was later named in honor of the British queen by G. Vancouver.