Wrangell Island (răngˈgəl) [key], 30 mi (48 km) long and 5 to 14 mi (8.1–22.5 km) wide, off SE Alaska in the Alexander Archipelago, south of the mouth of the Stikine River. It was occupied in 1834 by Russians, who named it for the Russian explorer Baron Ferdinand von Wrangel. The city of Wrangell, on the northern coast, grew around a fort built to prevent encroachment by the Hudson's Bay Company traders. From 1867 to 1877 it was a U.S. military post; later it became an outfitting point for hunters and explorers as well as for miners using the Stikine River route to the Yukon. Lumbering, fishing, and mining are pursued in the area.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.