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Alaska History

The first accounts of any human setting foot onto the North American soil in Alaska was dated more than 10,000 years ago, when hunter-gatherers from Siberia crossed the Bering land bridge. Modern history of Alaska started with Vitus Bering's 1741 voyage to Alaska's shores. Bering’s crew returned to Russia with sea otter pelts, which started a growing demand that eventually brought many traders to Alaska in the late 1700s. Russia's interest in

Alaska in the mid-19th century decreased as the fur trade declined, this lead to the sale of Alaska to the United States in 1867.

On March 30, 1867, William H. Seward signed an agreement with Baron Edouard Stoeckl, the Russian Minister to the United States, which allowed Alaska to be bought to the United States for the sum of $7.2 million. The agreement was known as the "Seward's Folly.” During 1867-1869 the 40th Congress passed a law which made Alaska a customs district of the U. S. From 1879-1884, the Navy governed Alaska, and in1884 the passage of the First Organic Act made Alaska a civil and judicial district, which provided the territory with judges, clerks, and marshals. A total of thirteen officials were made responsible for a population of 32,000 people, only 430 of those people were white settlers.

Alaska was practically ignored until gold was discovered near Juneau in 1880. During the 1900’s more than 30, 000 people arrived into the Yukon Territory and Alaska when gold was discovered. Mining, fishing, trapping, and mineral production flourished during this time, and a true colonial economy developed. Permanent villages of stone houses existed in Greenland. In Alaska along the Siberian shore, villages were made up of houses composed of driftwood and earth. Eskimos were the native inhabitants of the land and created the culture and history of Alaska as we understand it to be today.

On Jan. 3, 1959, Alaska was officially admitted into the Union as the 49th state of the United States. Alaska has very little agriculture due to the temperatures. The state's most valuable farm commodities are dairy products and potatoes. Alaska values their commercial fishing, by catching mostly salmon, crab, shrimp, herring, and cod. Fish dominates the food-processing industry in Alaska, the state's largest manufacturing enterprise.

Alaska is has beautiful artwork, and hand crafted items due to the Eskimo way of life. Traditional methods of living are creating and make by hand. Sleds, coats, and knifes are all made from scratch and this type of manufacturing plays a significant role in Alaskan society today. Nowadays, people visit Alaska and take back authentic handmade goods that represent the society, history, and culture of the people and the state. The beautiful yet cold weather attracts people to the state, as they play and have fun in the snow. When weather gets a little warmer, people come and enjoy the fresh air and atmosphere as they get to enjoy the snowy mountains and huge glaciers in the summer months. Alaska is a stunning place to visit. With breath taking views, it allows this state to stand out in authentic beauty.

More Information


Alaska Travel Guides
 Frommer's Alaska
 Lonely Planet Alaska
 Let's Go Alaska
 Fodors Alaska