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Chain of small islands, Alaska, U.S. They form a border of the Bering Sea, extending in an arc about 1,100 mi (1,800 km) west from the tip of the Alaska Peninsula to Attu Island. The major island groups, from east to west, are the Fox Islands (including Unimak and Unalaska), Islands of the Four Mountains, Andreanof Islands (including Adak), and Near Islands (including Attu). The main settlements are on Unalaska and Adak. Originally inhabited by Aleuts, the islands were explored by Russian-sponsored ships in 1741. As Siberian fur hunters moved eastward through the islands, the Russians gained a foothold in North America but nearly caused the extinction of the Aleuts. Russia sold the islands, with the rest of Alaska, to the U.S. in 1867.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on Aleutian Islands, visit Britannica.com.