Gold/World War II
Gold/World War II
The U.S. bought Alaska from
Russia in October 1867 for 7.2 million dollars, or two cents
per acre. Many Americans thought this was a waste of money
and called Alaska "Sewards Folly," after Secretary
of State William H. Seward who championed the purchase.
English and Russian versions of the
treaty for the sale of Alaska.
decades the federal government ignored Alaska. In 1877, the
sole authority for governing Alaskas half million square
miles and 40,000 residents was placed in the hands of a single
customs collector in Sitka. Little changed until the discovery
Gold Rush Era in Alaska began with the gold discovery
by Joe Juneau and Richard Harris. Soon hundreds of prospectors
poured into the site that later became Alaskas
capital city. In 1897, gold was discovered on the Klondike
River in Canadas Yukon Territory. Some 10,000
fortune seekers headed for the Klondike gold fields.
Many of them hiked from Skagway across the treacherous
Chilkoot Trail. In 1898, gold was found on the beaches
near Nome. A city of tents sprang up overnight, and
by 1900, 232 ships had arrived in Nome carrying nearly
focused the worlds attention on Alaska. Newspapers carried
sensational stories about the lawlessness in Skagway and Nome.
Exaggerated or not, they pointed out the need for law and order
on Americas frontier. In 1900, a code of laws was adopted
and a court system established, but Alaska wasnt granted
true territorial status until 1912.
the frenzy of the gold rush, Alaskas salmon commercial
fishing industry was born. By 1900, more than 50 salmon canneries
were operating between Ketchikan and Bristol Bay.
the following decades, the distant federal government was preoccupied
with the war in Europe and a depression at home. But when America
declared war on Japan in 1941, Alaskas strategic position
was suddenly important. By the time Japan invaded the Aleutian
Islands in 1943, more than 140,000 military personnel were stationed
in Alaska. The Aleutian campaign, known as the "One Thousand
Mile War," was the first battle fought on American soil
since the Civil War.
War II made a supply route to Alaska critical. The government
built the 1,523-mile Alaska Highway, through Canada to Fairbanks,
in just eight months. The Alaska Highway is one of only two
roads linking Alaska with the lower 48 states (the other goes
to the small town of Hyder, just across the board from British
State Nick Name: "The Last Frontier" - the name Alaska is derived from the Aleut word "Aleyska," meaning "great land."
State Motto: "North to the Future"
State Capital: Juneau, located in the Southeast region of Alaska, has a population of 33,277 (2015 Estimate of Population, Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development)
NOTE: The State of Alaska is not responsible for the content/information on any site outside of a State of Alaska department.