Wrangell, Alaska

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Wrangell is a city and borough in the U.S. state of Alaska. At the 2000 census the population was 2,308.

Its Tlingit name is Ḵaachx̱aana.áakʼw (Middle People), and the Tlingit people residing in the Wrangell area call themselves the Ḵaachx̱aana.áakʼw Ḵwáan, or alternatively the Shtaxʼhéen Ḵwáan after the nearby Stikine River.

Wrangell was part of the former Wrangell-Petersburg Census Area until its incorporation as a city-and-borough on June 1, 2008. The central (urban) part of Wrangell is located at 56°27′23″N 132°22′40″W / 56.45639°N 132.37778°W / 56.45639; -132.37778, in the northwest corner of Wrangell Island, whereas the borough now encompasses the entire eastern half of the former Wrangell-Petersburg Census Area, in addition to the area around Meyers Chuck, which was formerly in the Prince of Wales-Outer Ketchikan Census Area.[1]



Wrangell is one of the oldest non-Native settlements in Alaska, meaning that non-Native people settled in this area of Alaska as they were exploring and extracting resources. But Tlingit people have been on this island for thousands of years. According to Naanyaa.aayí clan traditions, Tlingit people migrated down the Stikine River during a time when the river still flowed underneath glaciers. The population slowly moved down the river, settling in different locations such as Tlákw.aan "Ancient Village", Sʼiknáx̱ "Across from the Grass", Shaal.aan "Fish Trap Town", Xakw.aan "Sandbar Village", and Kayáash "Platform", Hehl (Xel/Xehl) "Foam People", Hehl being the senior of house of the village. Later settlements on the coast included Chʼuxʼáasʼaan "Waterfall Town" (now Mill Creek), Ḵeishangita.aan "Red Alder Head Village" (site of the Wrangell Institute at Shoemaker Bay), Kʼaatsʼḵu Noow "Among the Sharps Fort" (now Anita Bay), An.áan "Village that Rests" (now Anan Bear Viewing Area), and many others. The numerous petroglyphs found at Petroglyph Beach just north of Wrangell, as well as those scattered on the beaches of the many islands in the vicinity, attest to the long Tlingit inhabitation of the area.

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