The History of Diomede

Diomede is located on the west coast of Little Diomede Island in the Bering Straits, 135 miles northwest of Nome. It is only 2.5 miles from Big Diomede Island, Russia, and the international boundary lies between the two islands. It lies at approximately 65 47' N Latitude, 169 00' W Longitude (Sec. 08, T004N, R049W, Kateel River Meridian). The community is located in the Cape Nome Recording District. The area encompasses 2 sq. miles of land and 4 sq. miles of water.

Early Eskimos on the islands were fearless men of the ice and sea, with an advanced culture practicing elaborate whale hunting ceremonies. They traded with both continents. The islands were named in 1728 by Vitus Bering in honor of Saint Diomede. The 1880 Census counted 40 people, all Ingalikmiut Eskimos, in the village of "Inalet." When the Iron Curtain was formed, Big Diomede became a Soviet military base and all Native residents were moved to mainland Russia. During World War II, Little Diomede residents who strayed into Soviet waters were taken captive.

To Community Histories Index Alaska DCCED Community Database Online

History and map graphic used with permission from the Alaska Department of Community and Economic Development