Alaska, The Great Country
by Ella Higginson
New York : The MacMillan Company, 1908.
When the Russians first came to the island of Unalaska, they were told that a vast country lay to the
eastward and that its name was Al-ay-ek-sa. Their own
island the Aleuts called Nagun-Alayeksa, meaning " the
land lying near Alayeksa."
The Russians in time came to call the country itself
Alashka ; the peninsula, Aliaska ; and the island, Unalashka. Alaska is an English corruption of the original
A great Russian moved under inspiration when he sent
Vitus Behring out to discover and explore the continent
lying to the eastward ; two great Americans - Seward
and Sumner - were inspired when, nearly a century and
a half later, they saved for us, in the face of the bitterest
opposition, scorn, and ridicule, the country that Behring
discovered and which is now coming to be recognized as
the most glorious possession of any people ; but, first of
all, were the gentle, dark-eyed Aleuts inspired when they
bestowed upon this same country - with the simplicity
and dignified repression for which their character is noted
- the beautiful and poetic name which means " the great
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