USA-Alaska-Russia, Alaska is a U.S. state located in the northwest extremity of North America. The Canadian administrative divisions of British Columbia and Yukon border the state to the east,[the_ad_placement id=”aa12″]
its most extreme western part is Attu Island, and it has a maritime border with Russia to the west across the Bering Strait.
To the north are the Chukchi and Beaufort seas–the southern parts of the Arctic Ocean. The Pacific Ocean lies to the south and southwest. It is the largest state in the United States by area and the seventh largest sub national division in the world.
In addition, it is the 3rd least populous and the most sparsely populated of the 50 United States; nevertheless, it is by far the most populous territory located mostly north of the 60th parallel in North America, its population (the total estimated at 738,432 by the U.S. Census Bureau in 2015) more than quadrupling the combined populations of Northern Canada and Greenland.
Approximately half of Alaska’s residents live within the Anchorage metropolitan area. Alaska’s economy is dominated by the fishing, natural gas, and oil industries, resources which it has in abundance. Military bases and tourism are also a significant part of the economy.
Secretary of State William Seward, who arranged to purchase the land from Russia. Critics of the purchase believed that the land had nothing to offer, but the discovery of gold in the 1890 s created a stampede of prospectors and settlers.
Russia offered to sell Alaska to the United States in 1859, believing the United States would off-set the designs of Russia’s greatest rival in the Pacific, Great Britain.
The looming U.S. Civil War delayed the sale, but after the war, Secretary of State William Seward quickly took up a renewed Russian offer and on March 30, 1867, agreed to a proposal from Russian Minister in Washington, Edouard de Stoeckl, to purchase Alaska for $7.2 million.
That sum, amounting to just $113 million in today’s dollars, brought to an end Russia’s 125-year odyssey in Alaska and its expansion across the treacherous Bering Sea, which at one point extended the Russian Empire as far south as Fort Ross, California, 90 miles from San Francisco Bay.
In April of 1867 The United States purchased Alaska for $7.2 million dollars in gold; roughly two cents an acre!. In 1872 gold was discovered near Sitka. During 1888, more than 60,000 people arrived in Alaska in search of gold.
Special legislation in 1898 extends the provisions of the Homestead Act of 1862 to the Territory of Alaska allowing adventurous pioneers in the state to stake a claim for 160 acres of public land for development as a homestead.
The Klondike Gold Rush occurred in 1897-1900, bringing over 100,000 prospectors who would attempt to travel north and seek their fortunes.
Alaska is the northernmost and westernmost state in the United States and has the most easterly longitude in the United States because the Aleutian Islands extend into the Eastern Hemisphere. Alaska is the only non-contiguous U.S. state on continental North America; about 500 miles (800 km) of British Columbia (Canada) separates Alaska from Washington.
It is technically part of the continental U.S., but is sometimes not included in colloquial use; Alaska is not part of the contiguous U.S., often called “the Lower 48”.
The capital city, Juneau, is situated on the mainland of the North American continent but is not connected by road to the rest of the North American highway system.
The state is bordered by Yukon and British Columbia in Canada, to the east, the Gulf of Alaska and the Pacific Ocean to the south and southwest, the Bering Sea, Bering Strait, and Chukchi Sea to the west and the Arctic Ocean to the north.
Alaska’s territorial waters touch Russia’s territorial waters in the Bering Strait, as the Russian Big Diomede Island and Alaskan Little Diomede Island are only 3 miles (4.8 km) apart. Alaska has a longer coastline than all the other U.S. states combined.
Alaska’s size compared with the 48 contiguous states. (Albers equal-area conic projection)
Alaska is the largest state in the United States by total area at 663,268 square miles (1,717,856 km 2), over twice the size of Texas, the next largest state.
Alaska is larger than all but 18 sovereign countries. Counting territorial waters, Alaska is larger than the combined area of the next three largest states: Texas, California, and Montana. It is also larger than the combined area of the 22 smallest U.S. states.
Alaska is bounded by the Beaufort Sea and the Arctic Ocean to the north; Canada’s Yukon territory and British Columbia province to the east; the Gulf of Alaska and the Pacific Ocean to the south; the Bering Strait and the Bering Seato the west; and the Chukchi Sea to the northwest. The capital is Juneau, which lies in the southeast, in the panhandle region.
A massive 9.2 magnitude earthquake rocks the southern portion of Alaska on Good Friday on 1964. The village of Chenega is destroyed, while Seward, Valdez and Anchorage sustained heavy damage. 130 people are killed mostly due to tsunamis and underwater landslides.
In 1968 oil is discovered in Prudhoe Bay and plans begin to build a pipeline to the North Slope to recover it.
The Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA) is passed in 1971, giving Alaska Natives significant amounts of land and capital, as well as establishing the Native Corporations.
The Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act (ANILCA) passes in 1980, creating the huge public lands system in Alaska. Over 100 million acres are set aside for preservation and protection throughout Alaska.