Alaska was the 49th state admitted into the United States. Purchased in 1867 from Russia, Alaska became the largest state in the Union on January 3, 1959. Texas had been the largest state since 1845, but Alaska is nearly three times as large as Texas. It may be the largest by area, but it is the least densely populated of all the United States. There is less than one person per square mile of land in Alaska. With the northern part still very remote, Alaska remains a wilderness unexplored.
Russia was the first to come to Alaska in 1741. Others came from Europe, but Russia was the dominate settler. Russia did not attempt to settle many citizens in Alaska; by 1867 William H. Seward, Secretary of State for the US under President Andrew Johnson, negotiated with Russia to purchase Alaska for $7.2 million. This purchase became known as Seward's Folly at first, but has become a landmark of good deals today. Even at today's dollar, the Alaskan purchase was a valuable deal for the United States. Several things benefiting the United States have come from Alaska. In the late 1800s to early 1900s, a gold rush was centered in Alaska, making several people rich. After World War II, when the Japanese invaded the Aleutian Islands of Alaska, the US Military put an important military base at Unalaska, Alaska. The Trans-Alaskan Pipeline was built in the mid 1970s, shortly after the '73 oil crisis that affected the United States. This pipeline supplies roughly 700,000 barrels of oil per day. Of all the financial rewards received from the Alaskan purchase, the Trans-Alaskan Pipeline has brought more financial help to Alaska than all other combined.
As of 2010, the US Census shows the Alaska has a population of 710,231. This is an increase over the 2000 Census. Alaska's population has grown every Census since 1930. The first Census as a state, Alaska had a population of 226,167. Most of the people speak English, though there are a few foreign languages as well as a few native languages. Over 60% of the population is White with over 14% American Indian or Native Alaskan. The Economy of Alaska depends largely on natural energy. The state government derives most of its revenue from the energy sector. Alaska also has other important industries. Fishing is important to the state. They do fish commercially and for sport.
Written by Lyndsey Morgan