The City and Borough of Sitka (Tlingit: Sheetʼká, Russian: Ситка), formerly Novo-Arkhangelsk (or New Archangel) under Russian rule (Russian: Ново-Архангельск or Новоaрхангельск, t Novoarkhangelsk), is a unified city-borough in the southeast portion of the U.S. state of Alaska. The city is situated on the west side of Baranof Island and the south half of Chichagof Island in the Alexander Archipelago of the Pacific Ocean (part of the Alaska Panhandle). As of the 2010 census, Sitka had a population of 8,881.
With a consolidated land area of 2,870.3 square miles (7,434 square kilometres) and total area (including water) of 4,811.4 square miles (12,461 square kilometres), Sitka is the largest city-borough in the U.S.
The current name Sitka (derived from Sheet’ká, a contraction of the Tlingit Shee At'iká) means "People on the Outside of Baranof Island," whose Tlingit name is Sheet’-ká X'áat'l (here contracted to Shee).
The area now known as the downtown area of Sitka was originally settled by the Tlingit people over 10,000 years ago.
Russian explorers settled Old Sitka in 1799, naming it Fort Saint Michael (Russian: форт Архангела Михаила, t Fort Arkhangela Mikhaila). The governor of Russian America, Alexander Baranov, arrived under the auspices of the Russian-American Company, a colonial trading company chartered by Tsar Paul I. In June 1802, Tlingit warriors destroyed the original settlement, killing many of the Russians, with only a few managing to escape. Baranov was forced to levy 10,000 rubles in ransom for the safe return of the surviving settlers.
Baranov returned to Sitka in August 1804 with a large force, including Yuri Lisyansky's Neva. The ship bombarded the Tlingit fortification on the 20th, but was not able to cause significant damage. The Russians then launched an attack on the fort and were repelled. Following two days of bombardment, the Tlingit "hung out a white flag" on the 22nd, deserting the fort on the 26th.
Following their victory at the Battle of Sitka, the Russians established the settlement "New Archangel", named after Arkhangelsk.