Unalaska is the largest city of the Aleutian Islands. The city is in the Aleutians West Census Area, a component of the Unorganized Borough in the U. S. state of Alaska. Unalaska is located on Unalaska Island and neighboring Amaknak Island in the Aleutian Islands off mainland Alaska, the population was 4,376 at the 2010 census, which is 79% of the entire Aleutians West Census Area. Unalaska is the second-largest city in the Unorganized Borough, behind Bethel, the Aleut or Unangan people have lived on Unalaska Island for thousands of years. The Unangan, who were the first to inhabit the island of Unalaska, named it Ounalashka, the regional native corporation has adopted this moniker, and is known as the Ounalashka Corporation. The Russian fur trade reached Unalaska when Stepan Glotov and his crew arrived on August 1,1759, almost all of the communitys port facilities are on Amaknak Island, better known as Dutch Harbor or just Dutch. It is the largest fisheries port in the U. S. by volume caught and it includes Dutch Harbor Naval Operating Base and Fort Mears, U. S. Army, a U. S. National Historic Landmark. Dutch Harbor lies within the city limits of Unalaska and is connected to Unalaska by a bridge, Amaknak Island is home to almost 59 percent of the citys population, although it has less than 3 percent of its land area. The island of Unalaska was first inhabited by the Aleut people and they developed an intricate and complex society long before their first contact with the Russian fur traders who would document their existence. Between 1763 and 1766, a conflict between the Russian fur traders and the Unalaska Natives occurred, the Aleuts destroyed four Russian ships, solovev then returned to Unalaska and directed the massacre of many Natives. In the 1760s, Unalaska was temporarily used as a Russian fur trading post, the post was permanently established in 1774, and was eventually incorporated into the Russian-American Company. It was there that Captain James Cook encountered the navigator Gerasim Izmailov in 1778, in 1788 the Spanish made contact with the Russians in Alaska for the first time. An expedition by Esteban José Martínez and Gonzalo López de Haro visited several Russian settlements and their westernmost visit was to Unalaska. On August 5,1788, they claimed Unalaska for Spain, alexander Andreyevich Baranov was shipwrecked here in 1790. In 1825, the Russian Orthodox Church of the Holy Ascension was built in Unalaska, the founding priest, Ivan Veniaminov, later canonized as Saint Innocent of Alaska, composed the first Aleut writing system with local assistance, and translated scripture into Aleut. Between 1836 and 1840, measles, chicken-pox and whooping-cough epidemics drastically reduced the population, thus, at the end of the decade, on October 18,1867, the United States purchased Alaska, making Unalaska part of the U. S. territory. In 1880, the Methodist Church opened a school and a clinic for orphans in Unalaska, between 1899 and 1905, the Gold Rush brought many ships through Dutch Harbor where the North American Commercial Company had a coaling station. The United States started fortifying Dutch Harbor in 1940, resulting in the construction of the Dutch Harbor Naval Operating Base, on June 3,1942, the town was attacked by Japanese forces in the Battle of Dutch Harbor, part of the Aleutian Islands campaign
Hilltop view of Unalaska in January 2006
The port of Unalaska in 1816.
Unalaska view in 1972 with the collapsed buildings of the closed naval base in the foreground.
Aerial view of the Point Kadin vents, a series of post-glacial explosion pits and small cinder cones that occur along a fracture zone northwest of the summit of Makushin Volcano.