Wrangell, Wrangell Island

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Wrangell, Wrangell Island

by | Jan 2, 2019

Wrangell is a community on the north coast of Wrangell Island in the Alexander Archipelago of Southeast Alaska. It is 155 miles (250 km) south of the Alaskan capital of Juneau, and across the narrow Zimovia Strait from the mouth of the Stikine River. The town and island are named after Ferdinand Petrovich Wrangel, a Russian explorer and the administrator of the Russian American Company from 1830 to 1835.

The Tlingit people were in the Wrangell area for centuries before Europeans arrived. They call themselves the Shtaxʼhéen Ḵwáan after the nearby Stikine River. The community of Wrangell began as a stockade built by the Russians in 1834 to prevent encroachment by the British Hudson’s Bay Company traders. It was called Fort Saint Dionysius on Russian charts. In 1839, the Russians leased part of Southeast Alaska to the British who changed the community name to Fort Stikine. Wrangell became an important supply point for fur traders and miners beginning with the Stikine gold rush in 1861. When the United States purchased Alaska in 1867 a new military post, called Fort Wrangell, was established but abandoned in 1877.

The Wrangell economy today is dominated by logging, fishing, and tourism. A commercial fishing fleet is harbored in Wrangell and several sports fishing services take tourists and wilderness adventurers to remote locations on the Stikine River. One of the last two major sawmills in southeast Alaska is operated by the Silver Bay Logging Company just south of the city. Read more here and here. Explore more of Wrangell here:

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This ‘warming stripe’ graphic is a visual representation of the change in global temperature from 1850 (top) to 2019 (bottom). Each stripe represents the average global temperature for one year. The average temperature from 1971-2000 is set as the boundary between blue and red. The colour scale goes from -0.7°C to +0.7°C. The data are from the UK Met Office HadCRUT4.6 dataset. 

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