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"Bering land bridge" redirects here. For the proposed series of artificial bridges across the Bering Strait, see Bering Strait crossing.
"Kamchatka" redirects here. For other uses, see Kamchatka (disambiguation).
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Beringia is a loosely defined region surrounding the Bering Strait, the Chukchi Sea, and the Bering Sea. It includes parts of Chukotka and Kamchatka in Russia as well as Alaska in the United States. In historical contexts it also includes the Bering land bridge, an ancient land bridge roughly 1,000 miles (1,600 km) wide (north to south) at its greatest extent, which connected Asia with North America at various times during the Pleistocene ice ages.
The term Beringia was first coined by the Swedish botanist Eric Hultén in 1937. During the ice ages, Beringia, like most of Siberia and all of Manchuria, was not glaciated because snowfall was very light. It was a grassland steppe, including the land bridge, that stretched for several hundred miles into the continents on either side. It is believed that a small human population of at most a few thousand survived the Last Glacial Maximum in Beringia, isolated from its ancestor populations in Asia for at least 5,000 years, before expanding to populate the Americas sometime after 16,500 years ago, during the Late Glacial Maximum as the American glaciers blocking the way southward melted.
Prior to European colonization Beringia was inhabited by the Yupik peoples on both sides of the straits. This culture remains in the region today along with others. In 2012, the governments of Russia and the United States announced a plan to formally establish "a transboundary area of shared Beringian heritage". Among other things this agreement would establish close ties between the Bering Land Bridge Natural Preserve and the Cape Krusenstern National Monument in the United States; and the planned Beringia National Park in Russia. Additionally since the early 1900s there have been various proposals for creating a bridge or tunnel across the Bering Strait. Proposals for a tunnel have recently gained some traction within the Russian government and in 2011 there were reports that the government intended to move forward.
The Chukchi Peninsula, Chukotka Peninsula or Chukotski Peninsula (Russian: Чуко́тский полуо́стров, Russian: Чуко́тка), at about 66° N 172° W, is the northeastern extremity of Asia. Its eastern end is at Cape Dezhnev near the village of Uelen. It is bordered by the Chukchi Sea to the north, the Bering Sea to the south, and the Bering Strait to the east. The peninsula is part of Chukotka Autonomous Okrug of Russia. The estimated population of the region in 1990 was 155,000.
The peninsula lies along the Northern Sea Route (the Northeast passage).