The Russians founded the town when they arrived in 1834 and built a stockade they called Redoubt St. Dionysius. The town's purpose then was to prevent encroachment by the Hudson's Bay traders working their way down the Stikine River. Wrangell thrived as an important supply center for fur traders and later for gold miners, who used the Stikin River to reach gold rushes in both British Columbia and the Klondike fields in the Yukon. Today, the town is still considered colorful by Southeast residents, but for different reasons. Wrangell is a proud, traditional and sometimes stubborn community that clings to age-old Alaskan beliefs of independence from excess government and of using the land and natural resources to earn a living.
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