Alaska (State)

State of Alaska
Coordinates 64°NB, 150°WL
General
Surface 1.481.347 km²
(13,8% water)
Residents 710.231 (2010)
(0,42 inhabitants/km²)
Capital city Juneau
Politics
Governor Mike Dunleavy (R)
Other
Time zone −9 / −10
Joined 3 januari 1959
Nickname The Last Frontier
ISO 3166-2 US-AK
Website alaska.gov

Russian America

Devastation in Anchorage after the 1964 earthquake

Skagway, Alaska

Alaska is one of the fifty states of the United States. The state borders Canada to the east and is further surrounded by the Pacific Ocean, the Bering Sea and the Arctic Ocean. The capital of Alaska is Juneau.

Alaska is the largest state in the United States. The area of ​​the state is 1,481,347 km². This makes Alaska about the size of Spain, France, Germany and the Benelux combined. With a population of nearly 800,000, Alaska is the state with the fourth-smallest population in the United States and the lowest population density. About half of the state’s residents live near or in the city of Anchorage.

Alaska was sold by Russia to the United States on March 30, 1867 for $ 7.2 million. Alaska became an incorporated territory on May 11, 1912, and the 49th state of the United States on January 3, 1959.

The name “Alaska” (Аляска) was already used in the Russian period. The name was first used only for the Alaska Peninsula, which was derived from the Aleutian “alaxsxaq”, meaning “mainland”.

History

The area that now forms the state of Alaska was first colonized about 12,000 years ago by Eskimo peoples such as the Yupik and Inuit and by various Native American tribes. They reached Alaska via the Beringland Bridge, the then dry or frozen Bering Strait. Most eventually moved further into the Americas.

The first explorers and pioneers to explore the area came from Russia. An expedition under Ivan Fyodorov and Mikhail Gvozdev reached Cape Prince of Wales in 1732. The Russians were especially interested in the lucrative fur trade. On August 20, 1741, on one of his expeditions, the Danish-Russian explorer Vitus Bering reached the Gulf of Alaska and saw Mount Elias. He landed on Kayak Island and sailed past the Kenai Peninsula and Kodiak Island. Part of the Aleutian Islandsnext, the ship sailed back to the Kamchatka Peninsula, in Russia, eventually landing on Avacha Island. There Bering died of scurvy during the winter. The sea between Russia and newly discovered Alaska was called the Bering Strait by the Russians. The Russians established a number of settlements in what came to be known as Russian America (or Russian Alaska).

United States Purchase

Alaska was purchased by the United States from Russia on March 30, 1867, at the instigation of Secretary of State William Seward. The United States paid only $ 7,200,072 for the area, because Russia thought the country was worth little. The Alaska purchase was not very popular in the United States and was sometimes referred to as Seward’s Folly.

The formal transfer of sovereignty took place on October 18, 1867, a date that has since been celebrated as Alaska Day. Until 1884, the future state was called the Department of Alaska and then, until 1912, the District of Alaska. In 1912, the area formally became a territory of the United States and 47 years later, on January 3, 1959, it was admitted to the Union as the 49th state.

The time since the purchase has shown how little was actually paid for the area. Gold, coal, petroleum, and other natural resources now mined in Alaska have made the state prosperous. In addition, the location of the area was extremely strategic with regard to both the Pacific War and the Cold War. If the Alaska purchase had not happened, the Soviet Union would have had a beachhead in North America.

World War II to the Present

During World War II, some islands in the Aleutian Islands were taken by Japanese forces as a diversion from the upcoming Battle of Midway. Attu, Agattu, and Kiska became the only part of the present-day United States to be occupied by enemy forces during the war.

On Good Friday in 1964, Alaska was struck by the Good Friday earthquake, one of the most powerful earthquakes ever recorded. The quake, which measured 9.2 on the Richter scale, killed 131 people, mostly from the tsunami that caused the quake.

The Alaska Permanent Fund was established in 1976 to allow the residents of Alaska to share in the proceeds of mining resources. This gave the state more income.

At the beginning of the 21st century, Alaska was still one of the least populous states in the United States with a population density of only 0.42 per km².

Geography

The state of Alaska covers 1,717,854 km², of which 1,481,347 km² is land and 204,425 km² is water. It is by far the largest of the fifty states. Alaska is more than twice the size of Texas, the next largest state in the US. Alaska is mostly in the Alaska Time Zone while some of the Aleutian Islands are in the Hawaii-Aleutian Time Zone. Northern Alaska extends above the Arctic Circle.

Alaska borders Canada to the east and none of the other US states. The south of the state lies on the Pacific Ocean, the west on the Bering Sea and the north on the Arctic Ocean. Alaska has many islands, such as the Aleutian Islands, Kodiak Island, Saint Lawrence Island and the islands of the Alexander Archipelago. The southern narrow strip of land extending south is called the Alaska Panhandle.

Alaska is simultaneously the northernmost and westernmost state of the United States. Unlike the rest of the United States, some Aleutian Islands are located in the Eastern Hemisphere.

Much of the state is dominated by several mountain ranges. The Denali is the highest mountain in North America at 6,194 m . The main river is the Yukon, which flows from the Canadian territory of the same name to the Bering Sea.

Alaska has many protected natural areas such as national parks and other protected ecosystems. More than 65% of Alaska is in the hands of the federal government, mostly as a nature reserve.

The capital Juneau is the only state capital of the United States that can only be reached by plane or ship. There are no roads from Juneau to the rest of the state or to Canada.

Demographics

According to TRACKAAH, Alaska had a population of 626,932 with approximately 67% of the population living in urban areas. This equates to 0.44 per km², making it the least populated state in America. Nearly 16% of the population is of Native American or Eskimo descent, the highest percentage of any state. By mid-2009 the population had grown to 698,473, of which 47.9% are women. The main cities are Anchorage (294,826 inhabitants (2017)), the capital Juneau (30,988 inhabitants (2008)) and the university city of Fairbanks (36,132 inhabitants (2008)).

The 2018 census put the population at 737,231.

Politics

Federal level

The state of Alaska is mostly Republican. Only once did it choose Democratic candidate Lyndon B. Johnson in 1964 in presidential elections. The 114th United States Congress (2015) has a Republican senator for the state of Alaska. Sarah Palin served as governor of Alaska from December 2006 to July 2009 and she was Republican presidential candidate John McCain ‘s running mate in the 2008 presidential election.

State level

The executive branch of the state is headed by a governor, who is directly elected by the voters in the state.

In the 2018 gubernatorial election, Republican Mike Dunleavy was elected governor of the state of Alaska. He defeated in the election incumbent Governor Bill Walker, an independent politician. Dunleavy was sworn in on December 3, 2018. Dunleavy’s running mate in the election was fellow Republican Kevin Meyer, who went on to become Lieutenant Governor of Alaska.

The legislature consists of the Alaska House of Representatives with 40 members and the Alaska Senate with 20 members.

Administrative division

According to COUNTRYAAH, Alaska is divided into sixteen boroughs. Many of these boroughs are large and at the same time sparsely populated. In addition, most of the state falls under the Unorganized borough which is not a borough. It covers 837,700 km² (about 20 times the Netherlands), making it larger than any of the other 49 states of the United States.

List of boroughs and census areas in Alaska

The US state of Alaska is not divided into counties, like 48 of the other 50 states (Louisiana is divided into parishes) but into 16 boroughs. The function of the borough is comparable to that of the county in the other states.

However, there are areas that are not assigned to a borough. That total area is called an unorganized borough. The United States Census Bureau, along with the state, has divided the unorganized borough into 11 census areas (approximately corresponding in size and scope to the electoral districts). The census areas do not have their own public services, such as police and education. These are provided by the state. Because the census areas do not have their own government, they do not have a capital.

In Anchorage, Juneau, Sitka, and Yakutat, the borough’s area coincides with that of the borough.

Borough Inhabitants
July 1, 2007
County Seat Residents
July 1, 2007
Aleutians East Borough 2666 Sand Point 893
Anchorage Municipality 279.671 Anchorage 279.671
Bristol Bay Borough 996 To
Denali Borough 1838 Healy
Fairbanks North Star Borough 97.484 Fairbanks 34.540
Haines Borough 2285 Haines
Juneau City and Borough 30.690 Juneau 30.690
Kenai Peninsula Borough 53.097 Soldotna 4289
Ketchikan Gateway Borough 13.227 Ketchikan 7368
Kodiak Island Borough 12.997 Codes 6182
Lake and Peninsula Borough 1538 King Salmon
Matanuska-Susitna Borough 82.669 Palmer 7804
North Slope Borough 6561 Barrow 3982
Northwest Arctic Borough 7453 Kotzebue 3152
Sitka City and Borough 8874 Sitka 8874
Yakutat City and Borough 689 Yakutat

Map of Alaska’s census areas

Census area Inhabitants
July 1, 2007
Aleutians West Census Area 4824
Bethel Census Area 17.199
Dillingham Census Area 4996
Census Area Name 9315
Prince of Wales-Outer Ketchikan Census Area 5544
Skagway-Hoonah-Angoon Census Area 3059
Southeast Fairbanks Census Area 6840
Valdez-Cordova Census Area 9496
Wade Hampton Census Area 7623
Wrangell-Petersburg Census Area 6009
Yukon-Koyukuk Census Area 5838

Flag of Alaska