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Alaska, US (Population: 670,053)

State Capital: Juneau

Major Cities: Anchorage, Juneau, Fairbanks, Sitka, Ketchikan, Kenai, Kodiak, Bethel, Wasilla, Barrow

State Nickname/Motto: : The Last Frontier / North to the Future

Statehood Granted: January 3, 1959

History: The Eskimos, Aluets, and the Indians are the three known peoples that were living in Alaska prior to European exploration. When Russia discovered Alaska in 1741 they remained as whalers and fur traders, later establishing a trading post on the Kodiak Islands. In 1867 the United States bought Alaska from Russia for the price of $7.2 billion. The discovery of gold in Alaska brought the first rush of Americans into the area. After officially becoming an American territory in 1912, copper and coal mines opened in the area. (Many years later after the majority of the mines were closed, it would be oil that brought Alaska wealth.) During World War II the Aleutian Islands of Agattu, Attu and Kiska were taken by the Japanese and won back by the Americans a year later. This was the only fighting in that war that occurred on American soil.

Geography: Alaska's Mt McKinley is the highest point in North America reaching a height of 20,320 feet. The largest of all the states, Alaska covers 570,380 square miles and has a very diverse landscape, from the populated south-central coastal regions to uninhabited tundra. The Aleutian islands contain many active volcanoes while the North Slope of Alaska is known for oil reserves and an extreme, inhospitable climate.

Ethnic Diversity: One Race (93.1%), White (69.2%), Black or African American (3.4%), American Indian and Alaska Native (14.2%), Asian (4.5%), Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander (0.5%) Some other race (1.3%), Two or more races (6.9%), Hispanic or Latino (4.8%)*

Famous State People:
  • Aleksandr Andreyevich Baranov (1746-1819) Russian fur trader who founded present-day Sitka and served as the first governor of Russian America.
  • E.L. "Bob" Barlett ((1904-1986) Alaskan Congressman who fought for Alaskan statehood; grew up in Fairbanks.
  • Vitus Jonassen Bering (1681-1741) Danish-born navigator for Russia who discovered that Siberia and North America were separate continents; the Bering Strait is named after him.
  • Jewel (1974-) Famous singer and musician.
  • Carl Ben Eielson (1897-1929) First pilot to make an Alaska airmail flight in 1924.
  • Elizabeth Wanamaker Peratovich (1911-1958) Native Alaska who fought for Native rights in Alaska; born in Petersburg.

  • State and National Parks National Parks include: Alagnak Wild River, Aleutian World War II National Historic Area, Kenai Fjords National Park, Klondike Gold Rush National Historic Park, Kubuk Valley National Park, Aniakchak National Monument and Preserve, Bering Land Bridge National Preserve, Cape Krusertern National Monument, Denali National Park and Preserve, Gates of the ARtic National Park and Preserve, Lake Clark National Park and Preserve, Noatak National Reserve, Northwest Alaska Areas, Glacier Bay National Park, Sitak National Historic Site, Inupiat Heritage Center National Historic Park, Wrangell- St. Elias National Park and Preserve, Katamai National Park and Preserve, and Yukon- Charley Rivers National Preserve. There are state parks located in Interior Alaska, the Kenai Peninsula, the Kodiak Islands, the Matanuska and Sustina Valleys, Prince William Sound and throughout Southern Alaska.

    Major Colleges/Universities: Alaska Pacific University, Charter College, Prince William Sound Community College, Sheldon Jackson College, University of Alaska Anchorage/ Fairbanks/ Southeast

    Misc: Alaska has the most water of any state in the US. The coastline of Alaska is longer than all other state's coastlines put together. Alaska also has more inland water than any other state and with over 100,000 glaciers, approximately 75% percent of that water is stored as glacial ice. The capital of Alaska can only be reached by boat or plane and is also the largest city in the United States.

    *U.S. Census - 2005