In 1867, Secretary of State William H. Seward bought Alaska from Russia for $7.2 million.
Alaska became the 49th state in 1959.
The Bering Strait separates the United States and Russia by 58 miles.
(The joke just may be on Tina Fey.) “How to Build a Bridge Across the Bering Strait”, click below. 🙂
Alaska’s size is nearly 600,000 square miles. That’s more than twice the size of Texas or four times the size of California. There are approximately 120 islands comprising the Aleutian chain that stretches from the tip of the Alaskan peninsula to within 90 miles of Kamchatka, Russia.
People have come lured by riches beyond their wildest dreams — fur, fish, gold, oil. Others come to lose themselves in a wild land more vast and unforgiving than they could ever imagine. They’ve come to measure themselves against its challenges. In return, they’ve endured bitter temps, isolation, and harrowing adventures for the privilege of living there.
Alaska During WWII: The only battles of WWII fought on American soil were in the Aleutians. The Japanese laid siege to the Aleutians in the Alaskan north and these desolate islands demanded extraordinary sacrifices of the combatants.
The Aleutian Islands stretch over 1000 miles from the Alaska mainland into the Pacific. The islands, a string of volcanic mountains jutting out of the ocean, are subjected to some of the fiercest weather on the planet. Violent winds, thick fog, and heavy rain and snow are common, making navigation difficult, even hazardous. On the other hand, the sea around these islands is rich, supporting a wide variety of marine life: seals, whales, otters, fish and seabirds provided plenty of resources for the islands’ original inhabitants. Several hundred low growing plant species cover the lowland tundra, including a variety of luscious berries. It is a uniquely beautiful and harsh environment.
See a brief history of World War II in the Aleutians and the “forgotten warriors” of WWII: (Links below)
By far, Alaska’s most important revenue source is the oil and natural gas industry, about 90% of the state’s revenues.
Governor Sarah Palin of Alaska addressed the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission (IOGCC) in New Orleans.
The Governor’s speech stressed that “Americans can no longer afford to warehouse Alaska’s vast resources.” “Alaska will play an increasingly important role in oil and gas production within the United States,” said Palin.
“We’ve developed only a fraction of our known reserves, and have many times this known amount awaiting discovery and commercialization.” This, primarily in reference to Arctic oil and gas reserves in the National Petroleum Reserve – Alaska (NPR-A) and the yet to be tapped “10-02 Area” of ANWR.
More than 75% percent of Alaskans support exploration and production in the ANWR.
The seafood processing and fishing industries are also important to Alaska. Most of America’s salmon, crab, halibut, and herring come from Alaska.
(Discovery Channel’s TV Series on crab fishing in Alaska. “Deadliest Catch”. Series 2 recently concluded but reruns are frequently shown. For schedule and more details check out the Deadliest Catch website.)
Hard rock minerals are one of Alaska’s most important undeveloped natural resources, including coal, gold, silver, copper, and many others.
Summer in Alaska (above)
Called Denali by the natives and later named Mt. McKinley, located in Alaska’s interior, is the highest point in North America, at 20,320 feet above sea level.