Sites & cities that bear the name of Uelen


Today in : Russian Federation
First trace of activity : ca. 18th century C.E
Last trace of activity : today
Recorded names : Pok’ytkyn, Olyk, Улык, Ulyk, Уэлéн, Увэлен, Улыӄ, Олыӄ, Whalen, Ugelen

Description : Uelen (Russian: Уэлéн; Chukchi: Увэлен; Siberian Yupik: Улыӄ, Naukan Yupik: Олыӄ; also known as Whalen in older English-language sources and Ugelen on USCGS charts) is a rural locality (a selo) in Chukotsky District, just south of the Arctic Circle in Chukotka Autonomous Okrug in the Russian Far East. As of the 2010 Census, its population was 720. Located near Cape Dezhnev where the Bering Sea meets the Chukchi Sea, it is the easternmost settlement in Russia and the whole of Eurasia. It is located in the Western Hemisphere, but the International Date Line curves around it, so it remains in a Russian time zone (UTC+12:00). Uelen is also the closest Eurasian settlement to North America. It is on the northeast corner of the Uelen Lagoon, a roughly 15 by 3 kilometres (9 by 2 miles) east-west lagoon separated from the ocean by a sandspit. Municipally, Uelen is subordinated to Chukotsky Municipal District and is incorporated as Uelen Rural Settlement. Prior to being named Uelen, the village was called Ulyk (Russian: Улык, Olyk in Yupik and Pok’ytkyn in Chukchi), meaning land's end and flooded place respectively. Not surprising given that the village is the most easterly place in Asia and its position on a spit with the Chukchi sea to the north and a lagoon to the south makes the land prone to flooding. The first mention of the name Uelen appears on a map from the Billings-Sarychev expedition from 1792. Prehistory Archeological investigation has revealed the existence of a settlement in and around the present day site of the village about 30 km (19 mi) from the village for at least 2000 years, based on fishing and the hunting of marine mammals. The main site of archeological investigation is at the Ekven site, a site of importance comparable to that of the Ipiutak Site across the Bering Strait on Point Hope. Pre-Soviet Prior to the Russian Revolution, Uelen was, in 1912, a settlement of around 300 individuals divided into four communes and the headquarters of the Russian administration in the Chukotka Region ("Uyezd") and was an important trading port with both local Russian peoples and America. Soviet Union Following the Russian Revolution of 1917, Uelen became one of the first trade co-operatives in Chukotka and a dedicated American trading post was established. The first school in Chukotka was established in Uelen in 1916. In the first half of the twentieth century, Uelen was the site of one of the first Russian arctic research stations. In the 1950s, Uelen became a focal point in the region, along with Lavrentiya, Lorino and Inchoun (see diagram) for the relocation of indigenous peoples following the decision to close a large number of uneconomical villages. Uelen absorbed the population from the nearby village of Dezhnevo (named, like the neighbouring cape, after the explorer Semyon Dezhnev). This village, to the west of Cape Peek and called Keniskun by the local Chukchi was an important regional coastal trading centre in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, but was deemed unviable by the Soviet government and the villagers were moved to Uelen. The addition of Dezhnevo carvers to the existing artistic school in Uelen served to strengthen Uelen's cultural reputation not just in the region but across Russia with notable carvers such as Pyotr Penkok and Stepan Ettugi working in Uelen. In addition to absorbing the population of Dezhnevo, Uelen also absorbed the part of the population of the former village of Naukan, which itself had absorbed the population of a number of small villages from the Cape Dezhnev/Diomede Islands area.

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