Image: Alexander Archipelago

Alexander Archipelago

Alexander Archipelago, group of 1,100 islands located in the Pacific Ocean off of mainland southeastern Alaska. The islands and the coast form the Alaskan Panhandle. The principal islands include Admiralty, Baranof, Chichagof, Etolin, Kuiu, Kupreanof, Prince of Wales (the largest in the archipelago), and Revillagigedo. The largest city in the archipelago is Sitka (population, 2005 estimate, 8,986), on Baranof Island, which is named for the Russian fur trader Aleksandr Andreyevich Baranov, who took possession of the island in 1799 for Russia. The second largest city, Ketchikan (population, 2006, 7,446), is on Revillagigedo. Native American peoples indigenous to the archipelago include the Tlingit and Haida. The Tlingit, whose ancestral home was on Baranof, resisted the early Russian attempts at settlement. The islands, which are a submerged portion of the Coast Ranges mountain system, form the sheltered channels that are part of the maritime tourist route between Seattle, Washington, and Alaska. The archipelago forms a part of Alaska`s Tongass National Forest and is generally heavily forested and largely unsettled. Industries include canning, fishing, fur trapping, lumbering, and uranium mining.

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