About This Place
Kodiak (Кадьяк, Kadʹyak) is one of 7 communities and the main city on Kodiak Island, Kodiak Island Borough, in the U.S. state of Alaska. All commercial transportation between the entire island and the outside world goes through this city either via ferryboat or airline. The population was estimated at 6,228 in 2008. The population was 6,653 in 2009.
Originally inhabited by Alutiiq natives for over 7000 years, the city was settled in the 18th century by Russian immigrants and became the capital of Russian Alaska. Harvesting of the area's sea otter pelts led to the near extinction of the animal in the following century and led to wars with and enslavement of the natives for over 150 years. As part of the Alaska Purchase by the United States in 1867, Kodiak became a commercial fishing center which continues to this day. A lesser economic influence includes tourism, mainly by those seeking outdoor adventure trips. Salmon, halibut, the unique Kodiak Bear, elk, Sitka Deer (black tail), and mountain goats invite hunting tourists as well as fishermen to the Kodiak Archipelago. The Alaska Department of Fish and Game maintains an office in the city and a web site to help hunters and fishermen obtain the proper permits and learn about the laws specific to the Kodiak area. The city has four public elementary schools, a middle and high school, as well as a branch of the University of Alaska. An antenna farm at the summit of Pillar Mountain above the city historically provided communication with the outside world before fiber optic cable was run. Transportation to and from the island is provided by ferry service on the Alaska Marine Highway as well as local commercial airlines.
The Kodiak Archipelago has been home to native cultures for over 7000 years. In their language, "Kadiak" means island. Their descendants still occupy the island and are considered Alutiiq, a term used to describe both their language and culture. In 1763, the Russian explorer Stephan Glotov discovered the island, followed by the English Captain James Cook fifteen years later, who first penned "Kodiak" in his journals in 1778.