Aleutian Islands

The Aleutian Islands (/əˈljuːʃən/;[2][3] Russian: Алеутские острова; Aleut: Tanam Unangaa, literally "Land of the Aleuts", possibly from Chukchi aliat, "island"), also called the Aleut Islands[4] or Aleutic Islands[5] and known before 1867 as the Catherine Archipelago, are a chain of 14 large volcanic islands and 55 smaller ones belonging to both the U.S. state of Alaska and the Russian federal subject of Kamchatka Krai.[1] They form part of the Aleutian Arc in the Northern Pacific Ocean, occupying an area of 6,821 sq mi (17,666 km2) and extending about 1,200 mi (1,900 km) westward from the Alaska Peninsula toward the Kamchatka Peninsula in Russia, and mark a dividing line between the Bering Sea to the north and the Pacific Ocean to the south. Crossing longitude 180°, at which point east and west longitude end, the archipelago contains both the westernmost part of the United States by longitude (Amatignak Island) and the easternmost by longitude (Semisopochnoi Island). The westernmost U.S. island in real terms, however, is Attu Island, west of which runs the International Date Line. While nearly all the archipelago is part of Alaska and is usually considered as being in the "Alaskan Bush", at the extreme western end, the small, geologically related Commander Islands belong to Russia.

The islands, with their 57 volcanoes, form the northernmost part of the Pacific Ring of Fire. Physiographically, they are a distinct section of the larger Pacific Border province, which in turn is part of the larger Pacific Mountain System physiographic division.

These Islands are most known for the battles and skirmishes that occurred there during the Aleutian Islands Campaign of World War II. It was one of only two attacks on the United States during that war.

Aleutian Islands
Алеутские острова (Russia)
Aleutian Islands is located in Alaska
Aleutian Islands
Aleutian Islands
LocationPacific Ocean, Bering Sea
Total islands>300
Major islandsUnimak Island, Unalaska Island, Adak Island
Area6,821[1] sq mi (17,670 km2)
Length1,200 mi (1,900 km)
State, Federal subjectAlaska, Kamchatka Krai
Largest settlementUnalaska (pop. 4,283)
Population8,162 (2000)
Ethnic groupsAleut


Motion between the Kula Plate and the North American Plate along the margin of the Bering Shelf (in the Bering Sea north of the Aleutian arc) ended in the early Eocene. The Aleutian Basin, the ocean floor north of the Aleutian arc, is the remainder of the Kula Plate that got trapped when volcanism and subduction jumped south to its current location at c. 56 Ma.[6] The Aleutian island arc, then, formed in the Early Eocene (55–50 Ma) when the subduction of the Pacific Plate under the North American Plate began. The arc is made of separate blocks that have been rotated clockwise. The basement underlying the islands is made of three stratigraphic units: an Eocene layer of volcanic rock, an Oligocene—Miocene layer of marine sedimentary rock, and a Pliocene—Quaternary layer of sedimentary and igneous rock.[7]


Unalaska Island in the Aleutian Islands.
The Aleutian Islands 01 Photo D Ramey Logan
The Aleutian Islands from 32,000 feet (9,700 m).
Active Aleutian volcanoes.

The islands, known before 1867 as the Catherine Archipelago, comprise five groups (east to west)

All five are located between 51° and 55° N latitude and 172° E and 163° W longitude.[8] The largest islands in the Aleutians are Attu (the farthest from the mainland), and Unalaska, Umnak, and Unimak in the Fox Islands. The largest of those is Unimak Island, with an area of 1,571.41 mi2 (4,069.9 km2), followed by Unalaska Island, the only other Aleutian Island with an area over 1,000 square miles (2,600 km2).

The axis of the archipelago near the mainland of Alaska has a southwest trend, but at Tanaga Island (about 178° W) its direction changes to the northwest. This change of direction corresponds to a curve in the line of volcanic fissures that have contributed their products to the building of the islands. Such curved chains are repeated about the Pacific Ocean in the Kuril Islands, the Japanese chain, and in the Philippines. All these island arcs are at the edge of the Pacific Plate and experience much seismic activity, but are still habitable; the Aleutians lie between the Pacific and North American tectonic plates. The general elevation is greatest in the eastern islands and least in the western. The island chain is a western continuation of the Aleutian Range on the mainland.[9]

The great majority of the islands bear evident marks of volcanic origin, and there are numerous volcanic cones on the north side of the chain, some of them active; many of the islands, however, are not wholly volcanic, but contain crystalline or sedimentary rocks, and also amber and beds of lignite. The coasts are rocky and surf-worn, and the approaches are exceedingly dangerous, the land rising immediately from the coasts to steep, bold mountains.[9]

These volcanic islands reach heights of 6,200 feet (1,900 m). Makushin Volcano (5,691 feet (1,735 m)) located on Unalaska Island, is not quite visible from within the town of Unalaska, though the steam rising from its cone is visible on a (rare) clear day. Residents of Unalaska need only to climb one of the smaller hills in the area, such as Pyramid Peak or Mt. Newhall, to get a good look at the snow-covered cone. The volcanic Bogoslof and Fire Islands, which rose from the sea in 1796 and 1883 respectively, lie about 30 miles (50 km) west of Unalaska Bay.[9]

In 1906, a new volcanic cone rose between the islets of Bogoslof and Grewingk, near Unalaska, followed by another in 1907. These cones were nearly demolished by an explosive eruption on September 1, 1907.[9] Newly found information in 2017, the volcanic cone erupted sending ash and ice particles 30,000 feet (9000 m) in the air.[10]


Image of the islands taken by the STS-56 crew.

Aleutian Clouds

These cloud formations were seen over the western Aleutian Islands.

Alaska's Aleutian Island (ASTER)

ASTER image of the islands.

Aleutian Islands amo 2014135 lrg

Aleutian Islands on May 15, 2014, by NASA's Aqua satellite.


The climate of the islands is oceanic, with moderate and fairly uniform temperatures and heavy rainfall. Fogs are almost constant. Summer weather is much cooler than Southeast Alaska (around Sitka), but the winter temperature of the islands and of the Alaska Panhandle is very nearly the same.[9] According to the Köppen climate classification system, the area southwest of 53°30′N 167°00′W / 53.5°N 167.0°W on Unalaska Island have a "Subpolar Oceanic Climate" (type "Cfc" as are Reykjavík, Tórshavn, and the Auckland Islands), characterized by the coldest month averaging above 0 °C (32 °F), 1–3 months averaging above 10 °C (50 °F), and no significant precipitation difference between seasons. To the northeast of that point, the climate becomes "Subarctic With Cool Summers And Year Around Rainfall" (type "Dfc" as are Murmansk, St. Moritz, and Labrador City), where it is similar but colder, with the coldest month averaging below 0 °C (32 °F).[11] During the winter the islands become the center for a semi-permanent low-pressure area called the Aleutian Low.[12]

The mean annual temperature for Unalaska, the most populated island of the group, is about 38 °F (3 °C), being about 30 °F (−1 °C) in January and about 52 °F (11 °C) in August. The highest and lowest temperatures recorded on the islands are 78 °F (26 °C) and 5 °F (−15 °C) respectively. The average annual rainfall is about 80 inches (2,000 mm), and Unalaska, with about 250 rainy days per year, is said to be one of the rainiest places within the U.S.[9]


Cape Promontory Cape Lutkes, Alaska. Cape Lutkes is part of the Aleutian Islands
Cape Promontory, Cape Lutkes on Unimak Island in the Aleutian Islands, Alaska.

The growing season lasts approximately 135 days, from early in May until late in September, but agriculture is limited to the raising of few vegetables. With the exception of some stunted willows, the vast majority of the chain is devoid of native trees.[9] On some of the islands, such as Adak and Amaknak, there are a few coniferous trees growing, remnants of the Russian period. While tall trees grow in many cold climates, Aleutian conifers — some estimated to be two hundred years old — rarely reach a height of even 10 feet (3 m), and many of them are still less than 5 feet (1.5 m) tall. This is because the islands, much like the Falklands and other islands of similar latitudes, experience such strong winds that taller trees are vulnerable to snapping off.

Instead of trees, the islands are covered with a luxuriant, dense growth of herbage and shrubs, including crowberry, bluejoint, grasses, sedges, and many flowering plants.[13] There are areas of peat bog near the coasts. Endemic plants include the endangered Aleutian shield fern.


The Aleutians are home to many large colonies of seabirds. Buldir Island has 21 breeding seabird species, including the Bering Sea-endemic red-legged kittiwake. Large seabird colonies are also present at Kiska, Gareloi, Semisopochnoi, Bogoslof, and others. The islands are also frequented by vagrant Asiatic birds, including the common rosefinch, Siberian rubythroat, bluethroat, lanceolated warbler, and the first North American record of the intermediate egret.[14]

The habitats of the Aleutians are largely unspoiled, but wildlife is affected by competition from introduced species such as cattle, caribou, and foxes. Nearly all of the Aleutians are protected as part of the Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge and the Aleutian Islands Wilderness.[15]

Observations have identified sea otters as a keystone species along the coasts of many of the Aleutian Islands. Their presence encourages the growth of kelp forests, as the otters control sea urchin populations (as large populations of sea urchins can create urchin barrens by clearing away kelp stands).[16]


On the less mountainous islands, the raising of sheep and reindeer was once believed to be practicable.[13] There are bison on islands near Sand Point. Sheep raising seems to have died off with the advent of synthetic fibers, which lowered the value of wool. During the 1980s, there were some llama being raised on Unalaska. The current economy is primarily based on fishing, and the presence of U.S. military. The only crop is potato. Chickens are raised in barns under protection from the cold.


In addition to a partial air service and a ferry service, the Alaska Marine Highway passes through many of the U.S. islands.


The native people refer to themselves as Unangan, and are now generally known by most non-natives as the "Aleut". The Aleut language is one of the two main branches of the Eskimo–Aleut language family. This family is not known to be related to any others. The 2000 U.S. Census recorded a population of 8,162 on the islands, of whom 4,283 were living in the main settlement of Unalaska.



Because of the location of the islands, stretching like a broken bridge from Asia to America, many anthropologists believe they were a route of the first human occupants of the Americas. The earliest known evidence of human occupation in the Americas is much farther south; the early human sites in Alaska have probably been submerged by rising waters during the current interglacial period. People living in the Aleutian Islands developed fine skills in hunting, fishing, and basketry. Hunters made their weapons and watercraft. The baskets are noted for being finely woven with carefully shredded stalks of beach rye.

Russian period

Explorers, traders and missionaries arrived from Russia beginning in 1741.

In 1741 the Russian government sent Vitus Bering, a Dane in the service of Russia, and Aleksei Chirikov, a Russian, in the ships Saint Peter and Saint Paul on a voyage of discovery in the Northern Pacific. After the ships were separated by a storm; Chirikov discovered several eastern islands of the Aleutian group, and Bering discovered several of the western islands. Bering was shipwrecked and lost his life in the Komandorski Islands (Commander Islands); one of which now bears his name (Bering Island), along with the surrounding Bering Sea. The survivors of Bering's party reached the Kamchatka Peninsula in a boat constructed from the wreckage of their ship, and reported that the islands were rich in fur-bearing animals.[9]

Siberian fur hunters flocked to the Commander Islands and gradually moved eastward across the Aleutian Islands to the mainland. In this manner, Russia gained a foothold on the northwestern coast of North America. The Aleutian Islands consequently belonged to Russia, until that country transferred all its possessions in North America to the U.S. in 1867.[9]

During the consolidation of the Russian-American Company there was sporadic conflict with the native population (frequently disastrous to the poorly armed and vastly outnumbered Russians). The colonies soon entered a relatively stable state based on cooperation, intermarriage, and official policies that provided social status, education, and professional training to children of mixed Aleut-Russian birth.[17] Within a generation, the day-to-day administration of the Russian-American colonies was largely in the hands of native-born Alaskans. Reversing the usual trend in colonization where indigenous technologies are replaced, the Russians adopted the Aleut kayak, or baidarka, sea otter hunting techniques, and the working of native copper deposits. The Russians instituted public education, preservation of the Aleut language through transliteration of religious and other texts into Aleut via an adaptation of the Cyrillic alphabet, vaccination of the native population against smallpox, and science-based sea mammal conservation policies that were ahead of their time.[17]

By 1760 the Russian merchant Andrian Tolstykh had made a detailed census in the vicinity of Adak and extended Russian citizenship to the Aleuts.

During his third and last voyage in 1778, Captain James Cook surveyed the eastern portion of the Aleutian archipelago, accurately determined the position of some of the more important islands, and corrected many errors of former navigators.[9]

Orthodox Christian heritage

Among the first Christian missionaries to arrive in the Aleutian Islands was a party of ten Russian Orthodox monks and priests, who arrived in 1793. Within two years, a monk named Herman was the only survivor of that party. He settled on Spruce Island, near Kodiak Island, and often defended the rights of the Aleuts against the Russian trading companies. He is now known in the Orthodox Church as Saint Herman of Alaska.

Another early Christian missionary of the Russian Orthodox Church was Father Veniaminov who arrived in Unalaska in 1824. He was named Bishop Innokentii in 1840 and moved to Sitka. He is now known in the Orthodox Church as Saint Innocent of Alaska.

The principal settlements were on Unalaska Island. The oldest was Iliuliuk (also called Unalaska), settled in 1760–1775, with a customs house and an Orthodox church.

U.S. possession

After the American purchase of Alaska from Russia in 1867, further development took place. New buildings included a Methodist mission and orphanage, and the headquarters for a considerable fleet of United States revenue cutters, which patrolled the sealing grounds of the Pribilof Islands.[9] The first public school in Unalaska opened in 1883.

The U.S. Congress extended American citizenship to all Native Americans (and this law has been held to include the indigenous peoples of Alaska) in 1924. A hospital was built in Unalaska in 1933 by the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs.

World War II

During World War II, small parts of the Aleutian islands were occupied by Japanese forces, when Attu and Kiska were invaded in order to divert American forces away from the main Japanese attack at Midway Atoll. The U.S. Navy, having broken the Japanese naval codes, knew that this was just a diversion, and it did not expend large amounts of effort in defending the islands. More than 90 Americans were taken to Japan as prisoners of war. Most of the civilian population (over 800) of the Aleutians and Pribilovians were detained by the United States in camps in the Alaska Panhandle. During the Aleutian Islands Campaign, American forces invaded Japanese-held Attu and defeated the Japanese. American and Canadian troops later launched an invasion of Kiska, but Japanese forces had already withdrawn, ending the campaign in the islands.

June 3, 2002 was celebrated as Dutch Harbor Remembrance Day. The governor of Alaska ordered state flags lowered to half-staff to honor the 78 soldiers who died during the two-day Japanese air attack in 1942. The Aleutian World War II National Historic Area Visitors Center opened that month.

Recent developments

The Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act became law in 1971. In 1977, the Ounalashka Corporation (from Unalaska) declared a dividend. This was the first village corporation to declare and pay a dividend to its shareholders.

Nuclear testing

The U.S. conducted underground tests of nuclear weapons on Amchitka Island from 1965 to 1971 as part of the Vela Uniform program. The final detonation, the Cannikin, was the largest underground nuclear explosion by the U.S.

Russian Aleutians

Russian Aleutians is organized as Aleutsky District in Kamchatka Krai. It comprises

See also



  1. ^ a b The Editors of Encyclopædia Britannica (18 December 2015). "Aleutian Islands". Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved 6 February 2017.
  2. ^ "Aleutian Islands". Merriam-Webster. Merriam-Webster, Inc. Retrieved 14 February 2016.
  3. ^ "Aleutian". Unabridged. Random House. Retrieved 2016-01-22.
  4. ^ Mark Nuttall, ed. (2005). Encyclopedia of the Arctic. Routledge. p. 333. ISBN 0-203-99785-9.
  5. ^ George Forchhammer (1863). Royal Society of London, ed. "On the Constitution of Sea-Water, at different Depths, and in different Latitudes". Proceedings of the Royal Society of London. Taylor & Francis. 12: 131.
  6. ^ Klemperer, S. L.; Miller, E. L.; Grantz, A.; Scholl, D. W. (2002). "Crustal structure of the Bering and Chukchi shelves: Deep seismic reflection profiles across the North American continent between Alaska and Russia" (PDF). Special Papers, Geological Society of America. 360: 1–24. ISBN 9780813723600. Retrieved 30 July 2018.
  7. ^ Holbrook, W. S.; Lizarralde, D.; McGeary, S.; Bangs, N.; Diebold, J. (1999). "Structure and composition of the Aleutian island arc and implications for continental crustal growth" (PDF). Geology. 27 (1): 31–34. doi:10.1130/0091-7613(1999)027<0031:SACOTA>2.3.CO;2. Retrieved 30 July 2018.
  8. ^ i.e. east of 172° E and west of 163° W longitude, straddling the antimeridian
  9. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k  One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainChisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Aleutian Islands" . Encyclopædia Britannica. 1 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. pp. 543–544.
  10. ^ "Alaska volcano erupts again, sending up another ash cloud". Fox News. 2017-01-26. Retrieved 2017-01-27.
  11. ^ "Interactive United States Koppen-Geiger Climate Classification Map". Retrieved 2018-10-31.
  12. ^ Rodionov, S.N.; Bond, N.A.; Overland, J.E. (November 2007). "The Aleutian Low, storm tracks, and winter climate variability in the Bering Sea". Deep Sea Research Part II: Topical Studies in Oceanography. 54 (23–26): 2560–2577. Bibcode:2007DSRII..54.2560R. doi:10.1016/j.dsr2.2007.08.002.
  13. ^ a b Chisholm 1911.
  14. ^ buldirbirds
  15. ^ "Aleutian Islands". Terrestrial Ecoregions. World Wildlife Fund.
  16. ^ Estes, James (2016). Serendipity: An Ecologist's Quest to Understand Nature. University of California Press. ISBN 978-0520285033.
  17. ^ a b THE WORLD QUESTION CENTER 2008 — Page 9

Further reading

  • Gibson, Daniel D., and G. Vernon Byrd. Birds of the Aleutian Islands, Alaska. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Nuttall Ornithological Club, 2007. ISBN 978-0-943610-73-3
  • Ivanov, Viacheslav Vsevolodovich. The Russian Orthodox Church of Alaska and the Aleutian Islands and Its Relation to Native American Traditions—An Attempt at a Multicultural Society, 1794–1912. Washington, DC: Library of Congress, 1997. ISBN 0-16-048781-1
  • Jochelson, Waldemar. Archaeological Investigations in the Aleutian Islands. Washington: Carnegie Institution of Washington, 1925.
  • Morgan, Lael (September 1983). "The Aleutians: Alaska's Far-out Islands". National Geographic. Vol. 164 no. 3. pp. 336–363. ISSN 0027-9358. OCLC 643483454.

External links

Coordinates: 52°05′49″N 173°30′02″W / 52.09694°N 173.50056°W

1906 Aleutian Islands earthquake

The 1906 Aleutian Islands earthquake occurred at 00:11 UTC on August 17. It had an estimated seismic moment of 3.8 x 1028 dyn cm−1, equivalent to a magnitude of 8.35 on the moment magnitude scale. This earthquake was followed thirty minutes later by the 1906 Valparaíso earthquake in Chile, but the two events are not thought to be linked. Due to the remote location, there are no reports of damage associated with this earthquake. A transpacific tsunami reported from Japan and Hawaii was triggered by the Chilean event, rather than the Aleutian Islands earthquake.

1946 Aleutian Islands earthquake

The 1946 Aleutian Islands earthquake occurred near the Aleutian Islands, Alaska on April 1. The shock had a moment magnitude of 8.6 and a maximum Mercalli intensity of VI (Strong). It resulted in 165–173 casualties and over $26 million in damage. The seafloor along the fault was elevated, triggering a Pacific-wide tsunami with multiple destructive waves at heights ranging from 45–130 ft. The tsunami obliterated the Scotch Cap Lighthouse on Unimak Island, Alaska among others, and killed all five lighthouse keepers. Despite the destruction to the Aleutian Island Unimak, the tsunami had almost an imperceptible effect on the Alaskan mainland.Waves reportedly traveled across the ocean at 500 miles an hour and measured 55 feet high, crest to trough, according to the USGS. The wave reached Kauai, Hawaii 4.5 hours after the quake, and Hilo, Hawaii 4.9 hours later. In Hilo, the death toll was high: 173 were killed, 163 injured, 488 buildings were demolished and 936 more were damaged. Witnesses told of waves inundating streets, homes, and storefronts. Many victims were swept out to sea by receding water. The tsunami caused a lot of damage in Maui as well. Waves there demolished 77 homes and many other buildings. The residents of these islands were caught completely off-guard by the onset of the tsunami due to the inability to transmit any warnings from the destroyed posts at Scotch Cap, and the tsunami is known as the April Fools Day Tsunami in Hawaii because it happened on April 1st and many people thought it to be an April Fool's Day prank. The effects of the tsunami also reached the West Coast of the United States.The tsunami was unusually powerful for the size of the earthquake. The event was classified as a tsunami earthquake due to the discrepancy between the size of the tsunami and the relatively low surface wave magnitude. The large-scale destruction prompted the creation of the Seismic Sea Wave Warning System, which became the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center in 1949.

2014 Aleutian Islands earthquake

The 2014 Aleutian Islands earthquake occurred on 23 June at 11:53 HDT (UTC-9) with a moment magnitude of 7.9 and a maximum Mercalli intensity of VI (Strong). The shock occurred in the Aleutian Islands – part of the US state of Alaska – 19 miles (31 km) southeast of Little Sitkin Island.

Aleutian Arc

The Aleutian Arc is a large volcanic arc in the U.S. state of Alaska. It consists of a number of active and dormant volcanoes that have formed as a result of subduction along the Aleutian Trench. Although taking its name from the Aleutian Islands, this term is a geologic grouping rather than a geographic one, and the Aleutian Arc extends through the Alaska Peninsula following the Aleutian Range to the Aleutian Islands.The Aleutian Arc reflects subduction of the Pacific Plate beneath the North American Plate. It extends 3,000 km (1,900 mi) from the Kamchatka Peninsula in the west to the Gulf of Alaska in the east. Unimak Pass at the southwestern end of the Alaska Peninsula marks the eastward transition from an intra-oceanic in the west to a continental arc in the east. Due to the arcuate geometry of the trench, the relative velocity vector changes from almost trench-normal in the Gulf of Alaska to almost trench-parallel in the west. Along the oceanic part of the subduction zone, convergence varies from 6.3 cm (2.5 in) per year to the north-northwest in the east to 7.4 cm (2.9 in) per year towards the northwest in the west.

Aleutian Islands Campaign

The Aleutian Islands Campaign was a military campaign conducted by the United States and Japan in the Aleutian Islands, part of the Alaska Territory, in the American theater and the Pacific theater of World War II starting on 3 June 1942. A small Japanese force occupied the islands of Attu and Kiska, where the remoteness of the islands and the challenges of weather and terrain delayed a larger U.S.-Canadian force sent to eject them for nearly a year. The islands' strategic value was their ability to control Pacific transportation routes, which is why U.S. General Billy Mitchell stated to the U.S. Congress in 1935, "I believe that in the future, whoever holds Alaska will hold the world. I think it is the most important strategic place in the world." The Japanese reasoned that control of the Aleutians would prevent a possible U.S. attack across the Northern Pacific. Similarly, the U.S. feared that the islands would be used as bases from which to launch a full-scale bombing of the West Coast.

A battle to reclaim Attu was launched on May 11, 1943 and completed following a final Japanese banzai charge on May 29. On August 25, 1943, an invasion force landed on Kiska in the wake of a sustained three-week barrage, only to discover that the Japanese had withdrawn from the island on July 29.

The campaign is known as the "Forgotten Battle", due to its being overshadowed by the simultaneous Guadalcanal Campaign. Military historians believe it was a diversionary or feint attack during the Battle of Midway, meant to draw out the U.S. Pacific Fleet from Midway Atoll, as it was launched simultaneously under the same commander, Isoroku Yamamoto. However, historians Jonathan Parshall and Anthony Tully have argued against this interpretation, stating that the Japanese invaded the Aleutians to protect their northern flank, and did not intend it as a diversion.

Aleutian Islands Wilderness

The Aleutian Islands Wilderness is a wilderness area in the Aleutian Islands of the U.S. state of Alaska. It is about 1,300,000 acres (5,300 km2) in area and was designated by the United States Congress in 1980. It is part of the Aleutian Islands unit of Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge.

Aleutian Low

The Aleutian Low is a semi-permanent low-pressure system located near the Aleutian Islands in the Bering Sea during the Northern Hemisphere winter. It is a climatic feature centered near the Aleutian Islands measured based on mean sea-level pressure. It is one of the largest atmospheric circulation patterns in Northern Hemisphere and represents one of the "main centers of action in atmospheric circulation."

Amaknak Island

Amaknak Island or Umaknak Island (Aleut: Amaxnax̂) is the most populated island in the Aleutian Islands.

Andreanof Islands

The Andreanof Islands (Aleut: Niiĝuĝin tanangis) are a group of islands in the Aleutian Islands, in southwestern Alaska. They are located at about 52° North and 172°57' to 179°09' West.

Battle of Attu

The Battle of Attu, which took place on 11–30 May 1943, was a battle fought between forces of the United States, aided by Canadian reconnaissance and fighter-bomber support, and Japan on Attu Island off the coast of the Territory of Alaska as part of the Aleutian Islands Campaign during the American Theater and the Pacific Theater. It was the only land battle of World War II fought on the continental United States.

The more than two-week battle ended when most of the Japanese defenders were killed in brutal hand-to-hand combat after a final banzai charge broke through American lines.

Battle of Dutch Harbor

The Battle of Dutch Harbor took place on June 3–4, 1942, when the Imperial Japanese Navy launched two aircraft carrier raids on the Dutch Harbor Naval Operating Base and U.S. Army Fort Mears at Dutch Harbor on Amaknak Island, during the Aleutian Islands Campaign of World War II. It was the first time in history a foreign power attacked the continental United States soil with severe casualties and property damage in time of war since the Thornton Affair in the Mexican–American War.

Egg Island (Alaska)

Egg Island (Aleut: Ugalĝa) is a small island in the Fox Islands subgroup of the Aleutian Islands in the U.S. state of Alaska. It lies off the eastern end of Unalaska Island and just off the northeastern tip of Sedanka Island. It is the easternmost island in the Aleutians West Census Area of Alaska. The island has a land area of 311.12 acres (1.259 km²) and is uninhabited. It is 19.3 kilometres (12.0 mi) long and 12 kilometres (7.5 mi) wide.

Its present name is a translation of the Russian name given by Lt. Sarichev (1826, map 14, dated 1792) of the Imperial Russian Navy. Sarichev named it "Ostrov Yaichnoy," meaning "Island of Egg." Sarichev also called the island "Ostrov Ugalgan" or "Ugalgan Island ," probably from Capt. Lt. Krenitzin, IRN, 1768 (Coxe, 1787, Chart 2)

Fox Islands (Alaska)

The Fox Islands are a group of islands in the eastern Aleutian Islands of the U.S. state of Alaska. The Fox Islands are the closest to mainland North America in the Aleutian chain, and just east of Samalga Pass and the Islands of Four Mountains group.

Inhabited by the Aleut for centuries, the islands, along with the rest of the Aleutians, were first visited by Europeans in 1741, when a Danish navigator employed by the Imperial Russian Navy, Vitus Bering, was searching for new sources of fur for Russian fur trappers.

Foggy almost all year round, the islands are difficult to navigate due to constantly adverse weather and numerous reefs. The Fox Islands Passes are the waterways surrounding the islands. As with the other Aleutian islands, the Fox Islands are prone to frequent earthquakes year-round.

The larger Fox Islands are, from west to east, Umnak, Unalaska, Amaknak, Akutan, Akun, Unimak and Sanak. Islands lying west of Akutan are in the Aleutians West Census Area. From Akutan eastward they are in the Aleutians East Borough.

Fox Islands is the English translation of the name given to the islands in the 18th century by Russian explorers and fur traders.

Japanese occupation of Attu

The Japanese occupation of Attu was the result of an invasion of the Aleutian Islands in Alaska during World War II. Imperial Japanese Army troops landed on 6 June 1942 at the same time as the invasion of Kiska. Along with the Kiska landing, it was the first time that the continental United States was invaded and occupied by a foreign power since the War of 1812. The occupation ended with the Allied victory in the Battle of Attu on 30 May 1943.

Japanese occupation of Kiska

The Japanese occupation of Kiska took place between 6 June 1942 and 28 July 1943 during the Aleutian Islands Campaign of the American Theater and the Pacific Theater of World War II. The Japanese occupied Kiska and nearby Attu Island in order to protect the northern flank of the Japanese Empire. Along with the Attu landing the same time, it was the first time that the continental United States was occupied by a foreign power since the War of 1812.


Kiska (Aleut: Qisxa, Russian: Кыска) is an island in the Rat Islands group of the Aleutian Islands of Alaska. It is about 22 miles (35 km) long and varies in width from 1.5 to 6 miles (2.4 to 9.7 km). It is part of Aleutian Islands Wilderness and as such, special permissions are required to visit it. The island has no permanent population.

National Register of Historic Places listings in Alaska

This is a list of properties and districts listed on the National Register of Historic Places in Alaska. There are approximately 400 listed sites in Alaska. Each of the state's 28 boroughs and census areas has at least two listings on the National Register, except for the Kusilvak Census Area, which has none.

This National Park Service list is complete through NPS recent listings posted March 7, 2019.

Near Islands

The Near Islands or Sasignan Islands (Aleut: Sasignan tanangin) are the smallest and westernmost group of the Aleutian Islands in northwestern US State of Alaska. They are located within the Aleutian Island chain to the west of the Rat Islands but to the east of the Russian Commander Islands.

Operation Cottage

Operation Cottage was a tactical maneuver which completed the Aleutian Islands campaign. On August 15, 1943, Allied military forces landed on Kiska Island, which had been occupied by Japanese forces since June 1942.

The Japanese, however, had secretly abandoned the island two weeks prior, and so the Allied landings were unopposed. Allied forces suffered over 313 casualties in total during the operation, due to stray Japanese mines and booby traps, friendly fire incidents, and vehicle accidents.

Islands in the Bering Sea
Largest cities
pop. over 25,000
Smaller cities
pop. over 2,000
Census Areas

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