Queen Charlotte Islands, archipelago of several large and many small islands, off the coast of W British Columbia, Canada. The main islands are Graham and Moresby. Masset on Graham Island is the main settlement. About 2,000 of the Islands' 5,700 inhabitants are Haida, a native people whose ancient village, Ninstints, on Skungwai Island, was named a World Heritage Site by the United Nations. There are valuable timber and fishing resources and several good harbors. The Islands attract many scientists and tourists because they escaped glaciation, making them a biologically unique area in Canada. The archipelago was visited in 1774 by Juan Pérez and in 1778 by Capt. James Cook; in 1787 it was surveyed by Capt. George Dixon. Hecate Strait separates it from the mainland; Dixon Entrance lies between it and Alaska to the north; and Queen Charlotte Sound separates it from Vancouver Island to the south.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.