Aldworth. See Haslemere.
Alencon (Alongsong), chief town of the dep. of Orne, on the Sarthe, 68 miles SSE. of Caen. The cathedral of Notre Dame (1553-1617) is a Gothic edifice, with good stained glass. Woollens and linens, embroidered fabrics, straw-hats, lace-work, artificial flowers, hosiery, etc. are made; the manufacture of the famous Alencon point-lace (point d'Alencon) employs barely a tenth part of the 20,000 hands that once engaged in it. The cutting of the so-called Alencon diamonds (quartz-crystals) is an industry which has also greatly declined. Pop. (1872) 15,080; (1891) 17,141; (1901)14,500.
Alessandria, the capital of a province of Northern Italy, in a marshy country near the confluence of the Bormida and Tanaro, 58 miles ESE. of Turin, It was built in 1168 by the inhabitants of Cremona, Milan, and Placentia, as a bulwark against the Emperor Frederick I., and was afterwards called Alessandria in honour of Pope Alexander III. In 1800, Bonaparte here concluded an armistice. It was the principal stronghold of the Piedmontese during the insurrection of 1848-49. The citadel is still one of the strongest fortresses in Italy, and in war the whole surrounding country can be inundated. The richly decorated cathedral was rebuilt in 1823. Pop. 70,761, who carry on a trade in linens, woollens, silk fabrics, stockings, and wax-candles. Two great fairs are held here annually.
Aleutian Islands, a chain of about 150 islands, in several groups, extending westward from the American peninsula of Aliaska, and forming an insular continuation of that peninsula towards the Asiatic peninsula of Kamchatka. These islands are chiefly included in the United States territory of Alaska, and fall into five groups - the Fox, Andreanov, Rat (Kreesi), Blizhni, and Komandorski Islands. The chain is apparently a continuation of the main Alaskan range of mountains, and contains volcanic peaks from 4000 to 8000 feet high. The islands abound in springs, and are overrun with foxes, dogs, and reindeer, while the coasts swarm with fish, seals, and otters. • The 2000 inhabitants, of mixed descent, from the aboriginal Eskimos and Russian settlers, are hunters and fishers, and trade in furs and fish. See works cited at Alaska.