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The Kodiak Archipelago was home to the Alutiiq for over 7,000 years who called the area qikertaq, meaning “island.” Stephan Glotov, a Russian explorer, was the first to discover the area in 1763. He named the island Kad’yak. James Cook landed on the island in 1778 and was the first to record it as “Kodiak” in his journals. In 1793, Alexander Baranov of the Russian Shelikhov-Golikov Company moved the post at Three Saints Bay to Paul’s Harbor, originally called Pavlovskaya Gavan. This developed the center of modern Kodiak. A warehouse was built at the location to serve as a trading post for the prized sea otter pelts and still stands as the Baranov Museum. During this era, the Russians had wars with and enslaved the Aleuts due to their reluctance to hunt sea otters since it was revered in their culture. By the mid-9th century the sea otter was almost extinct due to over-hunting and the first native population had been significantly harmed by European disease and violence. In 1867, after the Alaska purchase from Russia, Kodiak became the center for commercial fishing until the early 20th century when farm-raising developed in the area and eliminated the need for canneries and commercial fishing. During Theodore Roosevelt’s presidency, the Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge was established when new animals such as the mountain goat, muskrat, beaver, and others were introduced to the island. In 1941, Kodiak was incorporated and the U.S. turned it into a fortress in fear from a Japanese attack. Fort Abercrombie was established along with roads, the airport, and gun fortifications. In 1964, the Good Friday Earthquake caused a tectonic tsunami to hit Kodiak Island. It killed 15 people and caused $11 million in damage. Some areas near Kodiak were permanently raised by 30 feet and the Native villages of Old Harbor and Kaguyak were completely wiped out. The Standard Oil Company, the Alaskan King Crab Company, and much of the fishing fleet were destroyed in the tsunami as well.

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