Your journey aboard the Single Star takes you on a luxurious trip through Alaska’s maritime history. Alaska was purchased by the United States in 1867, but as you’ll soon learn, the Kodiak Archipelago has roots that run deep into the past.
Kodiak’s rich history dates back more than 8,000 years. That’s when archeologists say the first humans began to inhabit the Katmai Coast and the Kodiak Archipelago. The region includes more than 100 known archeological sites, with active digs underway near Geographic Bay.
The first European to explore Alaska’s coastline was Vitus Bering, the famous Russian adventurer who sailed under the reign of Tsar Peter the Great in 1742. Two generations later, in 1777, Captain James Cook became the first to chart the Katmai Coast. Cook, then on his third voyage, didn’t realize Kodiak was an Island; he thought it was part of the Alaska Peninsula.
It was Alexander Baranof who, in 1792, established the first European settlement on Kodiak Island, at Three Saints Bay (near the present-day village of Old Harbor). The Russian America Company was active in fur trade, and Kodiak provided a steady source of sea otter pelts. Two years after its establishment, the settlement was washed away by a tsunami, and Baranof moved operations to the site of today’s town of Kodiak, where you can still see the original Russian Orthodox Church, as well as several other structures from that time. Although Sitka is known as the seat of Russian Alaska, Kodiak was the original capital, a distinction it held from 1794 until 1800.