Magadan is a port town and the administrative center of Magadan Oblast, Russia, located on the Sea of Okhotsk in Nagayevo Bay in the Taui Bay and serving as a gateway to the Kolyma region. Population: 95,982 (2010). Magadan was founded in 1930 in the Magadan River valley, near the settlement of Nagayevo. During the Stalin era, Magadan was a major transit center for prisoners sent to labor camps. From 1932 to 1953, it was the administrative center of the Dalstroy organization—a vast and brutal forced-labor gold-mining operation and forced-labor camp system. The town later served as a port for exporting gold and other metals mined in the Kolyma region. Its size and population grew quickly as facilities were rapidly developed for the expanding mining activities in the area. Town status was granted to it on July 14, 1939.
Magadan was temporarily transformed into a Potemkin village to mark an official visit by U.S. Vice-President Henry Wallace in May 1944. He took an instant liking to his secret policeman host, admired handiwork done by prisoners, and later glowingly called the town a combination of Tennessee Valley Authority and Hudson's Bay Company.