Crusty old Joe's
Kodiak Alaska Military History
The official web site of the Kodiak Military History Museum
The main island in an archipelago about the same size as the state of Connecticut,
the island was discovered
in 1763 by Stephan Glotov, a Russian fur trader, and known as Kikhtak, also
Cadiack. The US renamed it Kadiak in 1890 and Kodiak in 1901. The first
settlement was made in 1784 by Grigory Shelekhov (Shelikof) at Three Saints
Bay, on the island's southeastern part. During the 19th century the island
was a base for seal and sea otter hunting and whaling. Russian control ended
in 1867 with the U.S. purchase of Alaska. In the early 1900s the U.S.
Department of Agriculture established an experimental cattle station, but
the eruption (1912) of Novarupta Volcano near Mount Katmai blanketed the
island with ash, still visible in disturbed soil, and interrupted
agricultural activities. In 1964 a violent earthquake lowered the island by
5 to 6 feet (1.5 to 1.8 m), accompanied by a tidal wave (tsnaumi) that
caused widespread devastation.
Patrick Saltonstall of the
Alutiiq Museum in Kodiak says:
Kodiak is an Aleut (Unangan) word for Kodiak. It means something like
land of our enemies. The Russians who first went to Kodiak heard about
Kodiak from the Aleuts and used their word for the place. The local people
on Kodiak are known today as the Alutiiq - they called themselves Sugpiat.
They are NOT the same people as the Aleuts from the Aleutians and did not
speak the same language.
(Note: If largest photo version doesn't load, it may be only available
on our CD-ROM of the website.)
This page created 2001 July 28, updated 2009 January 31