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Friday, 29 July 2011



On July 15, 1741 men sailing under the command of Russian navigator and captain Alexei Chirikov  made the first European landfall in Alaska. Chirikov saw land at Baker Island off Prince Of Wales Island at the south end of the Alaska Panhandle. Unable to find a harbor he sailed north along Baranov Island past the later Russian base at Sitka. He sent out a longboat to find an anchorage and when it did not return after a week he sent out his second longboat which also failed to return. After waiting as long as possible, he abandoned the longboats to their fate and on July 27th sailed west.

The name Alaska came from a native American word meaning "object to which the action of the sea is directed."

The United States purchased Alaska for $7.2 million, or about 2 cents an acre on March 30, 1867. It became an organized (or incorporated) territory on May 11, 1912, and the 49th state of the U.S. on January 3, 1959.

The USA called it the Department of Alaska, then renamed it District of Alaska, then Alaska Territory. It became the State of Alaska in 1959.

The United States Senate ratified the treaty with Russia for the purchase of Alaska on April 9, 1867. It was passed by a single vote, The United States formally took possession on October 18, 1867, which is celebrated annually in the state as Alaska Day.

Alaska's purchase was accomplished solely through the determined efforts of US Secretary of State William H. Seward. For many years afterward the land was mockingly referred to as "Seward's Folly" or "Seward's Icebox" because of its supposed uselessness.

Alaska’s capital Juneau was named after the Canadian prospector Joe Juneau who discovered gold in the region around 1880.

It was not until after the discovery of gold that Alaska was given a governor and a local administration.

Charles Ranhofer, the chef of the famous Delmonico's restaurant in New York, created a new sponge cake covered in ice cream to celebrate the American purchase of Alaska from the Russians. It was, at first, called Alaska-Florida Cake, but subsequently changed to Baked Alaska.

The longest day is celebrated in Alaska with a baseball game which starts at 10.30pm,  and is played play throughout the night without the need for artificial light.  This is Midnight Sun Game tradition started in 1906.

In 1913, Hudson Stuck, an Alaskan missionary, lead the first successful ascent of Mt. McKinley, the highest point on the American continent at 20,320 feet.

Mount McKinley National Park was established as a wildlife refuge in 1917. In 1980, the park was expanded and renamed Denali National Park and Preserve. Encompassing 6 million acres, the park is larger than Massachusetts.

Alaska's annual 1,149-mile Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race commemorates the 1925 "Race for Life" when 20 volunteer mushers relayed medicine from Anchorage to Nome to battle a children's diphtheria epidemic.

Alaska was the only part of the United States that was invaded by the Japanese during World War II. The territory was the island of Adak in the Aleutian Chain.

More Americans were killed or wounded by Japanese forces during the defense of Alaska in the Second World War than at Pearl Harbour.

The most powerful earthquake in the U.S. measured at a magnitude 9.2,  occurred in the Prince William Sound region of Alaska in March 1964.


Alaska is the largest state in the USA and one of the least populated. It has just 1.20 people for every square mile.

If everybody lived as densely as they do in Alaska, we’d need 108 Earths to fit everybody in.

Approximately half of Alaska's 710,231 residents (as per the 2010 United States Census) live within the Anchorage metropolitan area.

Its land area is 586,412 square miles, more than twice the size of Texas. You could fit all of France, Germany, Italy and the United Kingdom in it, and still have room for a couple of Belgiums.

Alaska is so big, you could fit 75 New Jerseys in it.

Alaska is geographically big enough to fit 19 U.S. states within its borders.

There are only 16 countries in the world (including the US) which are bigger than Alaska.

Alaska has a longer coastline than all the other US states combined.

Alaska is separated from Russian East Asia by the 80 km-/50 mile wide Bering Strait.

Denali, officially known as Mount McKinley from 1917 until 2015, is the highest mountain peak in North America, with a summit elevation of 20,237 feet above sea level.

The United States government announced in 2015 that the mountain would be renamed from Mount McKinley, for former President William McKinley, to its original Athabascan name of Denali.

Juneau, Alaska encompasses 3,255 square miles, making it the most expansive U.S. capital. However, only about 33,000 residents live there.

The Alaskan town of Bethel is the city with the most cabs per capita in the U.S., with 70 total taxi drivers—one for every 85 people.

The isolated Alaskan town of Whittier has a population of 218 plus a church, clinic, police station, post office, laundromat, and neighborhood bar. And it all exists under one roof - a 14-storey block, which was once part of a military base.

Whittier skyline. By ​English Wikipedia user 127x0x0x1, Wikipedia Commons

“Alaska” is the only state that can be typed using only one row on a computer keyboard.

Alaska is the state with the highest percentage of people who walk to work.

Each year Alaska residents receive an “oil royalty check” for their share of revenue from Alaskan oil. In 2014 each Alaska resident received $1,884.

Alaska has the highest ratio of men to women in the United States. There are 107 men in Alaska for every 100 women, according to 2013 estimates.

American Indian peoples, including Aleut and Inuit, make up about 15% of Alaska's population.

Alaska is the northernmost, westernmost and easternmost state in  the U.S. (The latter two by longitude).

There are around 175,000 moose, 30,000 brown bears, 100,000 black bears and 4,700 polar bears in Alaska.

In Alaska, there are laws against pushing a moose from a plane, viewing a moose from a plane, and giving a moose beer.

The state flower of Alaska is a forget-me-not.

Source Daily Express

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