The Alaska Peninsula and Aleutian Islands comprise a bleak, stark land with few trees and sparse wildlife. Born of a chain of volcanoes, the Aleutians still experience volcanic upheavals on a regular basis. Access is limited to plane and boat, as no roads connect this remote region with the rest of Alaska. The weather here can be notably foul, with rainstorms being the rule rather than the exception. Winters are relatively mild, with frequent rains and wet snow. The Aleutian Islands are a chain of small volcanic islands forming an island arc situated in the Northern Pacific Ocean, and extending about 1,200 miles westward from the extremity of the Alaskan peninsula toward the Kamchatka Peninsula. Nearly all of the archipelago is part of the state of Alaska and usually considered as being in the Alaskan Bush, but the extreme western end is part of Russia. The islands are located in the northern part of the Pacific Ring of Fire. Dutch Harbor is the largest town on the islands.
Museum of the Aleutians:
The mission of the Museum of the Aleutians is to collect, preserve, and share the rich cultural legacy of the Aleutian Islands. Cool museum with artifacts for the bombing of Dutch Harbor.
Museum & Store Hours:
Tuesday – Saturday: 12:00 pm – 6:00 pm
Children under 12: $3
Children under 3: Free
Local Students with valid student ID: Free
In 1741 the Russian government sent out Vitus Bering, a Dane in the service of Russia, and Alexei Chirikov, a Russian, in the ships Saint Peter (Swiatoj Pietr) 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, finally being wrecked and losing his life on the island of the Komandorski Islands (Commander Islands) that now bears his name (Bering Island). 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. The Aleutian Islands consequently belonged to Russia, until that country transferred all its possessions in North America to the United States in 1867.
The climate of the islands is oceanic, with moderate and fairly uniform temperatures and heavy rainfall. Fogs are almost constant. The mean annual temperature for Unalaska, the most important island of the group, is about 38 degrees Fahrenheit. The average annual amount of rainfall is about 80 inches, and Unalaska, with about 250 rainy days per year, is said to be the rainiest place within the territory of the United States.
The people refer to themselves as Unangan, and have been called “Aleut”. The Aleut language is related most closely to Inuit languages. 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 further south, in New Mexico and Peru; the early human sites in Alaska have probably been submerged by rising waters during the current interglacial period. In the 2000 census, there was a population of 8,162 on the islands, of which 4,283 were living in the main settlement of Unalaska.
800 miles southwest of Anchorage on Unalaska Island in the heart of Alaska’s Aleutian archipelago.
Jet service from Anchorage to Dutch Harbor (Pen Air, Alaska Airlines) Alaska Marine Highway service.