Commander Islands

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Commander Islands
NASA image of the Commander Islands
NASA image of the Commander Islands
Waters Bering Sea
Geographical location 54 ° 45 ′  N , 167 ° 0 ′  E Coordinates: 54 ° 45 ′  N , 167 ° 0 ′  E
Commander Islands (Far East Federal District)
Commander Islands
Number of islands 2
Main island Bering Island
Total land area 1846 km²
Residents 613 (2009)
Location of the archipelago east of the Kamchatka Peninsula.  The big island to the west is Bering Island, the small island to the east is Medny
Location of the archipelago east of the Kamchatka Peninsula. The big island to the west is Bering Island , the small island to the east is Medny
Detailed map with commanders' islands

The Commander Islands ( Russian Командорские острова / Komandorskije ostrowa , therefore also known as the Komandorsky Islands ) are an island group belonging to Russia between North America and Asia on the southern edge of the Bering Sea in the North Pacific .


The group of islands in the far east of Russia east of the peninsula Kamchatka is geologically the most western part of the Aleutian Kommandeur- island arc . The distance to the nearest Aleutian island of Attu , however, is 335 kilometers to the east. The Aleutian Islands and the Commander Islands form the natural boundary between the Bering Sea and the open Pacific .

The total land area of ​​all commanders' islands is 1,848 km². The two main islands of Bering Island (1,660 km²) and Medny (186 km²) make up 99.9% of this.

Administratively, the commanders' islands form the Aleutski Rajon (Aleutian Rajon) of the Russian region of Kamchatka . The administrative center is Nikolskoje on the Bering Island.

Landscape image

The rather mountainous archipelago, which has only sparse vegetation, is of volcanic origin and belongs to the northern part of the Pacific Ring of Fire . However, the volcanoes on the islands are not active. The only proven volcanic eruption in the vicinity of the islands in the last 10,000 years occurred on the Piip volcano around 5050 BC. On the seabed around 50 kilometers northeast of the Bering Island.

In the north, the area of ​​the archipelago drops quite steeply into the up to 4096 m deep sea basin of the Bering Sea, in the south the elongated and up to 7822 m deep Aleutian Trench joins the actual Pacific Ocean. This trench is part of the subduction zone , where the Pacific plate slowly pushes under the North American plate . This subduction is the cause of frequent earthquakes as well as the volcanism of the islands.


Soviet postage stamp from 1966 commemorating the discovery of the Commander Islands in 1741

The commanders' islands were discovered by Vitus Bering in 1741 during the Second Kamchatka Expedition with the two ships St. Paul and St. Peter . On the way back from Alaska to Kamchatka, the St. Peter got caught in a severe storm and stranded on the coast of Avacha Island, which was later renamed Bering Island in his honor . Due to the deteriorating weather, Bering and his team were forced to hibernate on this island. Vitus Bering probably died there on December 19, 1741 of exhaustion and cold. 18 other crew members also did not survive this wintering.

On the originally uninhabited islands, Aleut immigrants for fur hunting were settled around 1825 by the Russian-American Company . The settlers came primarily from the Aleutian islands of Attu and Atka . Little by little, Russian immigrants followed suit. Today, however, the population does not exceed around 1000 people.

Approx. On March 27, 1943, 160 km south of the archipelago, a battle between Japanese and American naval forces, known as the sea ​​battle near the Komandorski Islands , took place.


On April 23, 1993, the government of the Russian Federation declared all commanders' islands and the surrounding aquatorium to be a nature reserve with a total area of ​​3,648,679 hectares (95% of which are water). It is classified as a biosphere reserve .

From time to time cruise ships call at the islands.

See also

Web links

Commons : Commander Islands  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Information on the volcano "Piip" of the Smithsonian Institution (English)
  2. ^ Frost, OW (Orcutt William): Bering: the Russian discovery of America . Yale University Press, New Haven 2003, ISBN 0-300-10059-0 , pp. 7 237 ( limited preview in Google Book search).
  3. ^ Terence Armstrong: Russian Settlement in the North (= Scott Polar Research Institute. Special Publication. 3). Reissue. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge 2010, ISBN 978-0-521-14810-8 , p. 178.