Akutan, Alaska

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Akutan (ACK-oo-tan) (Achan-ingiiga[2] in Aleut) is a city in Aleutians East Borough, Alaska, United States. The population was 713 at the 2000 census. In 2009, the population was 812.[3]



Akutan is located at 54°7′57″N 165°46′30″W / 54.1325°N 165.775°W / 54.1325; -165.775. Akutan is located in the Aleutian Islands Recording District.

Akutan is located on Akutan Island in the eastern Aleutians, one of the Krenitzin Islands in the Fox Islands group. It is 35 miles (56 km) east of Unalaska, and 766 miles (1,233 km) southwest of Anchorage. Akutan lies in the maritime climate zone, resulting in mild winters and cool summers. Mean temperatures range from 22 to 55 °F (-6 to 13 °C), and precipitation averages 28 inches (710 mm) per year. High winds and storms are frequent in the winter, and fog is common in the summer.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 18.9 square miles (48.9 km²), of which, 14.0 square miles (36.3 km²) of it is land and 4.9 square miles (12.6 km²) of it (25.69%) is water.

History and culture

Akutan began in 1878 as a fur storage and trading port for the Western Fur & Trading Company. The company's agent established a commercial cod fishing and processing business that quickly attracted nearby Unangan to the community. A Russian Orthodox church and a school were built in 1878, but was replaced by the St. Alexander Nevsky Chapel, built in 1918. The Pacific Whaling Company built a whale processing station across the bay from Akutan in 1912. It was the only whaling station in the Aleutians, and operated until 1939.

After the Japanese attacked Unalaska in June 1942, the U.S. government evacuated Akutan residents to the Ketchikan area. In June 1942, a Japanese A6M Zero fighter piloted by Tadayoshi Koga crashed on Akutan Island. It was recovered in July by the United States Army Air Force. This plane, dubbed the Akutan Zero, significantly aided American tacticians in devising dog fighting techniques to defeat the Zero, and helped change the course of the war.

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