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Discover America

( The Last Frontier )
Alaska Map To the Aleut peoples, Alaska was "Alyeshka", meaning the great land. Alaska, the 49th state, officially became a state on January 3, 1959. It was purchased from Russia for $7 million in 1867 and was made a territory of the United States in 1912. It is the largest state in area, almost a fifth as large as all the rest of the United States. It remained largely unexplored until the Gold Rush in the 1880s. Fur trade was the main economic activity in Alaska for more than 150 years after 1741. In the 1880s and 1890s major gold deposits were discovered. In addition, other minerals, particularly copper, tin, mercury, and silver, were also mined. During the 1940s and 1950s large military bases were built. Beginning in the late 1970s, the economy underwent a fundamental change as the state's enormous oil deposits were exploited. Almost a third of Alaska is north of the Arctic Circle. At Point Barrow, Alaska's northernmost point, the sun never sets between May and August. Tourists come to see Alaska's mountain scenery, historic coastal towns and the state's vast areas of untamed wilderness. Mount McKinley in the Alaska Range is North America's highest peak at 20,320 feet and one of the greatest challenges for mountain climbers. Some of the famous celebrities that were born in Alaska include: Curt Schilling,

The Flag of Alaska
Alaska state flag Entered the Union in 1959 as the 49th State; flag adopted in 1927. Benny Benson, a 13-year-old student, chose the North Star and the Big Dipper when he designed Alaska's flag in a territorial school contest. Its colors recall the Alaskan sky and its gold.

Largest Cities in the State
(1999) Anchorage, 257,808; Fairbanks, 32,769; Juneau, 30,192; Sitka, 8,193; Kenai, 8,184; Ketchikan, 7,861; Kodiak, 7,680; Bethel, 6,517; Wasilla, 6,118; Homer, 4,887
Business and Trade in Alaska
Agriculture: Seafood, nursery stock, dairy products, vegetables, livestock.

Industries: Petroleum and natural gas, gold and other mining, food processing, lumber and wood products, tourism.

State Symbols and Emblems
  • Bird: Willow Ptarmigan
  • Flower: Forget Me Not (myosotis alpestris)
  • Tree: Sitka spruce (picea sitchensis)
  • Song(s): Alaska's Flag
  • Motto: North To The Future

Alaska Travel - Vacation Destinations & Recreation
National parks and historic locations suitable for family vacations or day trips.

Noatak National Preserve - Kotzebue
Aleutian World War II National Historic Area - Unalaska
Capitol Hill Parks -
Seward Highway - Anchorage
Yukon - Charley Rivers National Preserve - Eagle
capital  Capital: Juneau

statehood  Statehood: 1959-05-16

population  Population:
626,932 (1.1 mi2)

geographic area   Geographic Area (mi2)
    Total 663,267.26
    Water 91,316.00
    Land 571,951.26
    Rank 1st Largest

education   State Education:
    Pub & Prv Schools
    College & University

border states   Border States: None

state health   Health Information:
    Illicit Drug Use

housing   Housing: In Alaska, there are 260,978 housing units, averaging to 0.5 per sq mile.

state magazines  Related Magazines:
    Sea Magazine
Posters and Artwork
Natural Patterns and Textures Created from a Tidal Reed Bed, Sitka, Alaska, USA
Natural Patterns and Textures Created from a Tidal Reed Bed, Sitka, Alaska, USA
Photographic Print 24" x 18"

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Data Sources: US State Department, DOS IIP, and NetCent Communications' Development.