The City and Borough of Sitka, formerly New Archangel (Russian: Ново-Архангельск or Новоaрхангельск, t Novoarkhangelsk) under Russian rule, is a unified city-borough located on Baranof Island and the southern half of Chichagof Island in the Alexander Archipelago of the Pacific Ocean (part of the Alaska Panhandle), in the U.S. state of Alaska. It is the largest city-borough in the US, with a land area of 2,870.3 mi (7,434.1 km) and a total area (including water area) of 4,811.4 mi (12,460.8 km). With a population of 8,881 in 2010, Sitka is the fourth-largest city by population in Alaska. Urban Sitka (), the part that is usually thought of as the "city" of Sitka, is situated on the west side of Baranof Island.
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).
Sitka's location was originally settled by the Tlingit people over 10,000 years ago. The Russians settled Old Sitka in 1799 under the name Redoubt Saint Michael (Russian: форт Архангела Михаила, t Fort Arkhangela Mikhaila). The governor of Russian America, Alexandr Baranov, arrived under the auspices of the Russian-American Company, a colonial trading company chartered by Tsar Paul I. In 1802, Tlingit warriors "clad in animal-headed helmets and armour" destroyed the original establishment, killing four hundred Russians and enslaving the rest, 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 1804 with a large contingent of Russians and Aleuts with the Russian warship Neva. The ship bombarded the Tlingit fort but was not able to cause significant damage. The Russians then launched an attack on the fort and were repelled by Tlingit fighters and marksmen. However, the Tlingit gunpowder reserves had been lost before the Russian assault and the Tlingit were forced to leave the fort.
Following their victory at the Battle of Sitka, the Russians established New Archangel as a permanent settlement named after Arkhangelsk, the largest city in the region where Baranov was born. The Tlingit re-established a fort on the Chatham Strait side of Peril Strait to enforce a trade embargo with the Russian establishment. In 1808, with Baranov still governor, Sitka was designated the capital of Russian America.