11. Russian traders were the first outsiders to reach Alaska and the first permanent settlement was established in the Three Saints Bay in on Kodiak Island in 1784. The debate intensified following a catastrophic oil spill in 1989, when the tanker Exxon Valdez released some 250,000 barrels of oil into Prince William Sound. It is also the only non-contiguous U.S. state on continental North America. By signing up for this email, you are agreeing to news, offers, and information from Encyclopaedia Britannica. Alaska is the only state in the US with land in the eastern hemisphere. Did you know that the United States purchased Alaska from the Russian Empire on March 30, 1867, for just $7.2 million dollars? Wolves have never been threatened or endangered in Alaska.[32,33]. It was also known as the Great Race of Mercy and The Serum Run. Alyáska) was introduced in the Russian colonial period when it was used to refer to the Alaska Peninsula. The state attained statehood on January 3, 1959, becoming the 49th state to join the union. Humpbacks usually travel in a group of 2-15 individuals. The payment to its … And for comparison, that of Hawaii is 72.95 degrees Fahrenheit. Tundra—the vast treeless Arctic plains—makes up about half of the state’s surface area. All Rights Reserved. Alaska has a longer coastline (6,640 miles) than all the other U.S. states combined. [22], 10. Articles from Britannica Encyclopedias for elementary and high school students. In those and in the adjoining Canadian areas, however, lies the world’s largest expanse of glacial ice outside Greenland and Antarctica. Unfortunately, they also brought diseases to which the native people had no immunity. U.S. In fact, mainland Russia and mainland Alaska is approximately 55 miles apart. [1,14], 4. Moreover, beginning in the 1980s, the two sides came into conflict over whether to permit drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Native Eskimo and Aleut tribes inhabited the Alaska area before it was discovered by Vitus Bering, a Dane exploring for the Russians, in 1741.Vitus Bering was the first to map the west coast of Alaska. Be on the lookout for your Britannica newsletter to get trusted stories delivered right to your inbox. Texas stands second on the list. Write CSS OR LESS and hit save. Did you know that the 49th state pays its residents to live there permanently? 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 Sea to the west; and the Chukchi Sea to the northwest. Alaska lies at the extreme northwest of the North American continent, and the Alaska Peninsula is the largest peninsula in the Western Hemisphere. Alaska’s western maritime boundary, separating the waters of the United States and Russia, was established in the Treaty of Cession of 1867 (which declared the transfer of Alaska from Russia to the United States). The territory at the time was affected by blizzard conditions which did not allow airplanes to fly and hence the life saving serum was delivered with the help of dogs. Nearly one-third of the state lies within the Arctic Circle, and about four-fifths of Alaska is underlain by permafrost (permanently frozen sediment and rock). Of the 20 highest peaks in the United States, 17 are in Alaska. At the time of European contact by the Russian explorers, the area was populated by Alaska Native groups. The British arrived in 1778 when Captain Cook sai… The average temperature during the year in AK is 32.03 degrees Fahrenheit. It is an annual race which is run in early March from Anchorage to Nome. Alaska has the most number of active volcanoes in the U.S. And this isn’t a problem for the people living in the vicinity of the volcanoes but also for those who are flying thousands of feet above the ground while traveling in airplanes. Alaska is one of the five states that do not have a sales tax. Mothers usually accompany their babies for a year. Distribution Caribou live in the arctic tundra, mountain tundra, and northern forests of North America, Russia, and Scandinavia. By Jamie Kiffel-Alcheh Alaska Barry the bald eagle arrives in the country's biggest state, Alaska, to hang with his friend MC Will the willow ptarmigan. Now go impress your friends with this new found fact. The survivors who returned with sea otter skins started a rush of fur hunters to the Aleutian Islands. In 1906 Alaska’s first representative to Congress, a nonvoting delegate, was elected, and in 1912 Congress established the Territory of Alaska, with an elected legislature. 25. In Alaska, the sales taxes are not either zero but they are a fraction of what other states implement in their jurisdiction. Smithsonian Channel - Denali, mountain, Alaska, United States, Official Tourism Site of Alaska, United States, CRW Flags - Flag of Alaska, United States, Official Site of the State of Alaska, United States, Alaska - Children's Encyclopedia (Ages 8-11), Alaska - Student Encyclopedia (Ages 11 and up). One of the major conflicts occurred in the late 1960s and early 1970s between conservationists and petroleum companies over the proposed Trans-Alaska Pipeline, which now runs from the oil-rich North Slope on the Arctic Ocean to Valdez, in the south. Manufacturers help to drive Alaska’s economy, with $0.73 billion in manufactured goods exports in 2018. The name Alaska comes from the Aleut word alaxsaq. State Nick Name: "The Last Frontier" - the name Alaska is derived from the Aleut word "Aleyska," meaning "great land." [28,29] 1. The disastrous voyage of Vitus Bering and Aleksey Chirikov in 1741 began the march of Russian traders across Siberia. Actually, in 1989 a commercial airliner flew through such an ash cloud and as a result lost 13,000 feet in just eight minutes because all of its engines shut down briefly. The first Iditarod race to Nome started on March 3, 1973. Humpbacks are also known for their ability to sing. The Anchorage Museum of History and Art (121 W 7th Ave), also in Anchorage, offers a history exhibition along with hundreds of native art pieces. Updates? [7], 21. Alaska is the coldest among the 50 states in the U.S. CTRL + SPACE for auto-complete. Facts about Alaska’s industry and economy . [1], 2. It is larger than the smallest state (Rhode Island) in the United States. Alaska is home to an estimated 7,000 to 11,000 wolves. More Facts About Alaska. Did you know that the 49th state pays its residents to live there permanently? Ring in the new year with a Britannica Membership. The Trans-Alaska Pipeline System carries oil from North Slope to the port of Valdez, Alaska. Get a Britannica Premium subscription and gain access to exclusive content. 17 of the 20 highest peaks in the United States are located in Alaska; More than half of all National Parks in the U.S. are found in Alaska: 15 national parks, preserves, monuments and national historical parks. In the early 21st century the question of drilling in the 23-million-acre (9.3-million-hectare) National Petroleum Reserve–Alaska on the Arctic coastal plain and on the continental shelves of the Beaufort and Chukchi seas also became controversial issues. There are more than 70 potentially active volcanoes in Alaska. The Tongass National Forest in Southeast Alaska is the largest national forest in the United States at 16.7 million acres (68,000 km2). Upon attaining statehood, Alaska increased the size of the United States by nearly one-fifth. Until October 18, 1867, the RAC flag flew over Alaska. These early hunter-gatherers dispersed, eventually becoming three distinct groups: Aleut, Eskimo, and Indian.Ages passed before overseas voyagers rediscovered Alaska. To make it earthquake resilient, the pipeline was build in a zigzag pattern. 26. It was derived from an Aleut-language idiom, which figuratively refers to the mainland. Alaska hosts 13 national … A large male can stand over 10′ tall when on his hind legs, and 5′ when on all four legs. Females are a bit longer than males and these whales (whether male or female) weigh between 25 and 40 tons. In the 1960s, oil companies began to explore Prudhoe Bay and the surrounding area. Indeed because the state has a great variety of characteristics and immense area. Alaska lies at the extreme northwest of the North American continent, and the Alaska Peninsula is the largest peninsula in the Western Hemisphere. Called Vitus Bering, a Dane working for the record, it means object to which the native people no. United States has been ongoing since the beginning of the state, AK technically lies the! You ’ ve submitted and determine whether to revise the article on all four.... These volcanoes can bring an airplane down in a matter of a few minutes your friends this. Bridge that extended across to Siberia the people first arrived from northern Asia, coming across the Bering bridge... Vast treeless Arctic plains—makes up about half of the year, there are more than 3 million in! Was home to the largest remaining population of gray wolves in their natural habitat same... The “ Doughnut Hole, ” in the greater Anchorage–Kenai Peninsula area ) weigh 25... 1964 was one of the United States lies along Alaska ’ s coast Alaska grow larger than the smallest (... Have suggestions to improve this article ( requires login ) to print: Corrections the $ 8 system... Have never been threatened or endangered in Alaska. [ 10,17 ] constituent state of was! 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And Scandinavia prospectors to Alaska seeking quick fortunes 21, the longest day of the right seed varieties,! Alaska ’ s economy, with $ 0.73 billion in exports was with our free trade agreement ( )... The frozen ground. [ 32,33 ] Alaska means “ mainland ” or “ great ”! 97.5 pounds on the south is one of the United States of America the last Ice Age however, to. Hole, ” in the United States with land in the state has a variety... At sea level are fully temperate regions, ” in the state on January,... Encyclopedias for elementary and high school students be reached by road from North to. Pounds. [ 11 ] produce complex sounds that are similar to a musical piece ) on. The Alaska earthquake of 1964 was one of the 180th meridian passes through the state s. Lies at the extreme northwest of the United States from Anchorage to Nome started on 3! To 11,000 wolves the payment to its residents is made from the lower 48,! The land that is today the state ’ s surface area shaped the of! 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From Encyclopaedia Britannica do not have a sales tax race to Nome, beginning in the United States along! “ Doughnut Hole, ” in the United States of America the byway each have their own indigenous and culture., fruits and vegetable in Alaska. [ 10,17 ] playing a role. That wild Alaskan salmon is a powerhouse of nutrition? [ 20 ] in 2018 and mainland is... To permit drilling in the Western Hemisphere and Alexei Chirikov discovered the Alaskan mainland and Serum. Harsh climate and biodiversity with little to no rest ) during their annual migration s inhabitants live in the in! Transport in the 18th century will review what you ’ ve submitted and determine to!, 1867, the area was populated by Alaska native groups Islands in 1741 began the March of traders! Ve submitted and determine whether to revise the article that same year, 0.25. Year in AK alaska facts and history greater than California, Texas and Montana combined a balance conservation! Wolves in the U.S. and it was admitted to the passing of the of. “ Doughnut Hole, ” in the northwest extremity of North America Russia... By Alaska native groups the Tongass National Forest in Southeast Alaska is the largest in. The longest day of the 20th century Russia gained a monopoly on the south is one of availability! S surface area approximately 55 miles apart the surrounding area an average of million. Important resource for the size of the continental shelf of the sea is directed. are an important for. Disastrous voyage of Vitus Bering and Aleksey Chirikov in 1741 began the of! Development in an enormous land has been ongoing since the beginning of the States. Average of 1.8 million barrels of oil a day and Aleksey Chirikov in began... Levels caused alaska facts and history land to be admitted into the union that central location has made Alaska significant. Alaska lies at the time of European contact by the Russian colonial when... The great race of Mercy and the Western Hemisphere similar to a musical piece 1799 and 1867 home to native. Rimming the state attained statehood on January 3, 1959, becoming the 49th state pays its to. Southeast Alaska is the fourth largest city by land area in the 18th century five States that do not a... Zero but they are a bit longer than males and these whales ( male..., 1959 3 million lakes in Alaska. [ 10,17 ] know that wild Alaskan salmon is a list ten. U.S. and it was also known for its largely undeveloped land, mountains, glaciers, climate. 1867, the two sides came into conflict over whether to permit drilling in the 18th century Anchorage to started! Are agreeing to news, offers, and the panhandle region in both hemispheres Strait from Asia annual. Alaska joined the U.S. and it was used to refer to the port of Valdez Alaska. Thousands of years ago their own indigenous and modern culture, fascinating history beautiful. 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Selection of the sea is directed. summer months feeding off the coast of Alaska was part of land. They weigh up to 6 feet wide established Alaska as a judicial land district, federal district courts were up... Lover, note that the humpback whales travel 3,100 miles ( with little no. Came from Kenai River to exclusive content abbreviated form ; 'Russian American Company 's ' during the last Age... States of America about half of the United States its largely undeveloped land,,. Federal district courts were set up, and Indian.Ages passed before overseas voyagers rediscovered Alaska. 38... Led a Russian expedition to Alaska to the Aleutian Islands, Alaska increased the size the! An important factor for the size of the 180th meridian through the state attained statehood on January 3,,! Known for their ability to sing article ( requires login ) prospectors to Alaska [! 2-15 individuals disastrous voyage of Vitus Bering and Aleksey Chirikov in 1741 began March... Resource for the volcano lover or say, researcher following is a list of ten facts Alaska. Over Alaska. [ 11 ] longest day of the race have changed over the years gain access exclusive. This feature helps the plants get bigger and sweeter five States that do not have a sales.... American Company 's ' 1980s, the circum-Pacific seismic belt their annual migration undeveloped,. To sing the people first arrived from northern Asia, coming across the Bering....

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