Alaska is a US state, probably the coldest state in the US,
bordering the Bering Sea to the west, the Arctic Ocean to the
north, Canada to the east and the Pacific Ocean to the south. It
is located in the extreme northwest of North America, in the
Western region of the country, Pacific division. It is bordered
to the north by the Arctic Ocean, to the east by Canada, to the
south by the Pacific Ocean and to the west by the Bering Sea
With 1,717,856 km², it is the largest state in the country and the seventh largest subnational entity in the world, behind the Sakha Republic (Russia), Western Australia, Krasnoyarsk Krai (Russia), Greenland (Denmark), Nunavut (Canada) and Queensland (Australia); with 733,391 inhabitants, according to the 2020 United States census, the fourth least populated - ahead of North Dakota, Vermont and Wyoming, the least populated - and with 0.41 inhabitants / km², the least densely populated. It was the penultimate state to be admitted to the Union, on January 3, 1959, as the 49th state, only before Hawaii. It is the second state with the highest ratio of public employees to population, behind Wyoming, which operates many public hospitals.
Alaska probably receives its name from the Aleutian word alyeska or alaxsxaq, which means "large land", or more literally, "the object against which the action of the sea is directed". The flag of Alaska represents, on a blue background, the stars that form the constellation of the Big Dipper and, in the upper right corner, the North Star.
On March 30, 1867, the United States purchased Alaska from the Russian Empire for $7,200,000.22 The United States tried, during the first decades of the 20th century, to improve communications (especially to connect Alaska with the rest of the United States). United by railroad), and promote the colonization of the Matanuska Valley. However, World War II and naval battles in the Aleutian Islands with Japan changed the course of U.S. policy in Alaskan affairs. Thus, in 1942, a communication road (the Alaska Highway) was built in months to guarantee the defense of the Territory of Alaska, while new military bases (for example, radar bases) were established and civilian settlements were promoted. The end of the world war and the beginning of the Cold War accelerated the need to integrate this territory into the Union. In 1959, Alaska was finally accepted as the 49th state of the United States of America.
The discovery of oil fields has allowed enormous economic growth in Alaska in recent decades, despite geographic isolation and harsh living conditions. The greatest milestone in its development has been the construction, beginning in 1974, of the Trans-Alaska Pipeline, a 1,269 km pipeline that links Prudhoe Bay with the port of Valdez. But oil has also been the origin of certain disasters, such as the accident that occurred in 1989 when the Exxon Valdez supertanker ran aground in the waters of Alaska and caused an oil spill that has been described as one of the greatest ecological disasters in history, the disaster of the Exxon Valdez.
Alaska's capital, Juneau, is located in the extreme southeast and is
one of Alaska's largest cities with around 30,000 inhabitants.
With approximately 290,000 inhabitants, Anchorage is the largest city in the state and the most important industrial center.
The second largest city in the country is Fairbanks with approx. 31,000 inhabitants and is located in the upstate of the state.
Utqiaġvik , formerly Barrow, is the northernmost city in Alaska and thus in the United States
Denali National Park is located in Healy, Alaska in USA. This national park covers an area of 6,075,107 acres.
Gates of the Arctic National Park is located near Fairbanks, Alaska in USA. The natural reserve covers an area of 8,472,506 acres.
Glacier Bay National Park is situated near Juneau, Alaska in United States. This massive nature reserve covers an area of 3,283,246 acres.
Katmai National Park protects area around eponymous stratovolcano Katmai. It is an active volcano that reaches an elevation of 2,000 meters
Kenai Fjords National Park is situated at Kenai Peninsula Borough in Alaska, United States. It covers an area of 699,983 acres.
Kobuk Valley National Park is located near Fairbanks, Alaska in USA. The natural park covers an area of 1,669,813 acres.
Lake Clark National Park is situated near Anchorage, Alaska in USA. This natural park covers an area of 4,030,025 acres.
Wrangell – St. Elias National Park is located in Copper Center, Alaska in USA. This natural reserve covers an area of 13,175,901 acres.
The word Alaska derives from "Alyeska" which comes from the Aleutians
and means something like "big, wide country". During the Ice Age, when
sea levels were low due to glaciers that had grown, there was a land
bridge to Asia across the Bering Strait. The first people who came to
America over this bridge formed the later indigenous population.
In 1783, the Russian geographer Grigory Ivanovich Shelikhov became the first person of the "old world" to colonize Alaska. Before that, fur hunters had landed in the Aleutians. Since the area was too unprofitable and difficult to reach for the Tsarist Empire, Alaska was sold to the United States in 1867 for US$ 7.2 million ($4.74/km²). Later, oil was to be found here.
In 1959 Alaska became the 49th state of the United States of America.
The main language spoken is English, but old dialects and earlier ways of speaking are preferred to the local language.
International airports are located in Anchorage and Fairbanks. US airlines also fly to some smaller towns, and almost every settlement has its own airstrip on which small propeller planes can land.
Entry by land is via Canada only, either via the Alaska Highway or (summer only) the Top of the World Highway. However, some places are not connected to the road network (e.g. the capital Juneau) and can only be reached by ship or plane.
Alaska is accessible via the Alaska Marine Highway System (car ferry) from the continental 48 states to the south.
The Alaska railroad covers the route from Seward (on the coast) via the largest city of Anchorage to Fairbanks.
Many places in northern Alaska can only be reached by "bush plane".
Alaska is one of only two states that make up the United States,
along with Hawaii, that does not border another state in the country and
also the only non-contiguous United States state on mainland North
America. It is also the largest state, with a total area of 1,717,854
km². Another of the landmarks of the American enclave is Mount Denali,
the highest peak in all of North America, at 6,194 meters above sea
level. Its capital, Juneau, although located on the mainland of the
North American subcontinent, is inaccessible by land, since no road
connects Juneau with the rest of the American highway system.
The state is surrounded by the Yukon Territory and British Columbia, Canada to the east; the Gulf of Alaska and the Pacific Ocean to the south; the Bering Sea, its corresponding strait and the Chukchi Sea to the west; and the Beaufort Sea and the Arctic Ocean to the north. Alaska is divided into three major regions: the Pacific Mountains, the Interior, and the Northern Arctic. The Pacific Mountains occupy the entire southern coast, while in the interior region the Yukon River extends along with its tributaries on vast plateaus. The northern arctic zone, for its part, is occupied by the Brooks range.
The coordinates on which the city of Anchorage is located, 61.2 degrees North (Latitude) and 149.9 degrees West (Longitude), have made it the most important air cargo operations center in the world.
Two of the most important points of Alaska geography are the Aleutian Islands and Denali National Park. The Aleutian Islands became infamous for being the scene of the Battle of the Aleutian Islands itself that took place during World War II. The archipelago has an area of around 37,800 km²; Most of it belongs to Alaska and the extreme west is the Russian zone. In this archipelago, where the island of Unalaska stands out, about 16,000 inhabitants live, most of them aboriginal Eskimos. Denali National Park is one of the most important wilderness areas on the continent, covering an area of 24,585 km². In it you can find all kinds of specimens of the state's flora and fauna, such as Alaskan sheep, caribou, elk, grizzly bears and wolves.
The climate has different types, depending on the region. The western
coast has an oceanic climate, while the rest has a continental and
In Juneau, the capital, and in the southeastern half the climate is oceanic, while it is arctic in the northern half. In general, this area is the wettest and warmest, at the same time, in Alaska with mild temperatures in winter and high levels of precipitation throughout the year. The climate of Anchorage, Alaska's most populous city, and the central and southern part of the state is mild due to the proximity of the sea. Western Alaska's climate is determined by the Bering Sea and the Gulf of Alaska. In the southwest there is an oceanic subarctic climate and in the north it is a continental subarctic climate.
The weather in interior Alaska is truly extreme. Some of the warmest and coldest temperatures occur in the Fairbanks area. Summers can reach up to 30°C, while in winter temperatures plummet to -46°C. The record high and low temperatures recorded in Alaska were inland. The maximum temperature reached 38 ° C in Fort Yukon, on June 27, 1915. Curiously, this temperature is recorded as the lowest maximum temperature in the United States and took place in Pahala, Hawaii. On the other hand, the lowest minimum temperature Alaska occurred on January 23, 1971, at -62°C in Prospect Creek.
Gunter Weller, director of the Fairbank Center for Global Change Research and Arctic System Research, at the University of Alaska, said that average temperatures in Alaska have risen three degrees Celsius in 30 years, and approximately double that in winter. State authorities are warning of the more than likely effect that climate change will have on citizen security. An example of this is state highways, which run on permafrost, which is thawing rapidly. The trans-Alaska pipeline, which uses vertical supports, is seeing its stability significantly reduced.
For several years, Alaska has been experiencing a considerable rise
in temperatures, which have increased an average of 1.6 °C since the
1950s and 2.6 °C since 1901. The state's coastline is being affected
due to the rise in sea level. The Inuit of Shishmaref, the village on
Sarichef Island in northwest Alaska, have received $150 million in aid
to address coastal erosion and wave damage; Newtok's Yupiks will be
relocated to a hillside. The premature thaw is disrupting the way of
life of indigenous people and threatening several animal species, such
as the polar bear. In the medium term, the northern shipping route,
which links the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, could be ice-free for five
months a year.
Permafrost is shrinking rapidly, causing the formation of swamps and deformation of transportation infrastructure. Melting glaciers cause torrents that damage roads and bridges. Part of the taiga forests are being destroyed by the proliferation of wood-devouring insects (16,000 km2 between 1990 and 2006); fires have also become more frequent. However, global warming could allow the development of new agricultural land.
In 2019, several rivers saw winter ice break up at the earliest date on record.
According to an October 1998 report by the U.S. Bureau of Land
Management, approximately 65 percent of Alaska is owned and managed by
the federal government as public lands, including a multitude of
national forests, national parks, and national wildlife refuges. Of
these, the Office of Land Management manages 35 million hectares (87
million acres), that is, 23.8% of the state. The Arctic National
Wildlife Refuge is managed by the United States Fish and Wildlife
Service. It is the largest wildlife refuge in the world, at 16 million
acres (6.5 million hectares).
Of the rest of the surface, the state of Alaska owns 41 million hectares, which correspond to it under the Alaska State Law. A part of this area is occasionally transferred to the organized boroughs presented above, by virtue of the legal provisions relating to newly created boroughs. Other smaller portions are reserved for rural subdivisions and other housing-related opportunities. They are not very popular due to their location, often remote and roadless. The University of Alaska, as a land-grant university, also owns considerable acreage that it manages independently.
Another 44 million acres (18 million hectares) are owned by 12 regional and dozens of local Native corporations, created under the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA) of 1971. Doyon Regional Native Corporation, Limited is often promoted as the Alaska's largest private landowner in advertisements and other communications.
The ANCSA provisions allowing corporations' land to be sold on the open market beginning in 1991 were repealed before they could come into force. In practice, corporations own the title (including subsoil in many cases, a privilege denied to individuals in Alaska), but cannot sell the land. However, individual native allotments can and are sold on the open market.
Various private interests own the rest of the land, which represents approximately 1% of the State. Alaska is, by a wide margin, the state with the lowest percentage of private land ownership when native corporation properties are excluded.
Alaska's coastline is rugged and steep: the coastal ranges plunge
into the ocean. Alaska's coastline is bordered by the Bering Sea, the
Chukchi Sea, the Arctic Ocean, and the Pacific Ocean. This coastline,
about 50,000 km long, presents a great variety of landscapes, from
beaches in the north to majestic cliffs and fjords. The transgression of
Flanders raised the water level and formed impressive fjords. Among them
is the Lynn Channel, which at 150 km long is the longest fjord in North
Navigation is made difficult by the presence of permanent obstacles (islands, reefs) or temporary obstacles (icebergs). The fact that the coast is very indented has allowed the installation of several ports.
Alaska has a large number of islands (1,800 in total), especially in the south (Alexander Archipelago) and in the west (Aleutian Islands), which explains the length of its coastline. The two largest islands are Kodiak Island (the second largest in the United States after Hawaii Island) and Prince of Wales Island. The Aleutian archipelago extends for several hundred kilometers.
The Inside Passage is used for navigation: it is 860 km long and has 70 large glaciers between the 55th and 61st parallels, the mainland and the Alexander Archipelago.
In 2015, Barack Obama's administration authorized oil multinational Shell to drill in the Chukchi Sea off Alaska. In 2020, Donald Trump's administration permitted oil and gas drilling in the National Wildlife Refuge. of the Arctic, which was the largest protected natural area in the United States.
The number of lakes is very high. Ninety-four are larger than 26
square kilometers, the largest being Lake Illiamna (3,000 km²), Lake
Becharof (1,200 km²), Lake Teshekpuk (800 km²) and Lake Naknek (630
km²). In comparison, Lake Geneva is 580 km². The number of rivers is
estimated at more than 10 thousand.
Of these rivers, the Yukon is the most famous. It winds 2,000 km from the Canadian border to the Bering Sea, still carrying the nuggets of the gold rush: a legendary and historic route. Its main tributaries are also among the longest rivers, such as the Porcupine (890 km), the Koyukuk (890 km), the Kuskokwim (870 km) or the Tanana (850 km). Most are navigable. The name Alaska comes from a word in the Aleut language that means the great land; However, the immense river system and countless lakes make it an aquatic world where the seaplane is king.
Alaska is a major seismic zone. Two of the three strongest
earthquakes ever recorded in the United States occurred in this state:
Prince William Sound in 1964 (magnitude 9.2);
on the Andreanof Islands in 1957 (magnitude 9.1).
The Alaska Peninsula, also known as the Aleutian Chain, extended north of the Pacific Ocean by the Aleutian Arc, has 80 volcanoes, 41 of them active. In this northern segment of the Pacific Ring of Fire, the main volcanic edifices are, from west to east: Mount Pavlof (2,518 meters above sea level), Mount Augustine (1,227 meters), Mount Redoubt (3,108 meters) and Mount Spurr (3,374 meters).
The long chain of Aleutian Islands, which extends the Aleutian chain, is a witness to the tectonic convergence that marks this subduction zone, the boundary between the Pacific and North American plates. This alignment extends the American mountain ranges toward the Asian side of the Belt. The Aleutian Trench borders Alaska's continental shelf to the south and extends south of the Aleutian Arc; It reaches a maximum depth of 10,498 meters.
The volcanic edifices of this Aleutian chain generally present a "pointed" conical morphology reminiscent of the archetypes of Andean volcanoes, such as the volcano of Mount Shishaldin (summit altitude: 2,857 meters). Its eruptive dynamics are dominated by more or less cataclysmic explosions. In 1912, a violent explosive eruption "decapitated" Mount Katmai, causing it to lose 600 meters of altitude. Several tons of sulfur oxide were projected into the atmosphere, more than 15 kilometers high, and disrupted the monsoon in Asia. The Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes was covered in ash over an area of 100 square kilometers.
There are about 100,000 glaciers in all of Alaska. They cover more
than 70,000 square kilometers (4% of the total area) and are found
mainly in the south of the country, where snowfall is much greater than
in the north. Some are located in the middle of mountain ranges, others
flow into the sea. The largest glacier is the Bering, 160 km long and
5,850 km² in surface. The most impressive is the group of glaciers that
form the "Glacier Bay": in a 100 km long fjord there are a dozen
glaciers that pour their icebergs into the bay. Some of the glaciers
extend across the plain, such as the Malaspina glacier and its 2,200 km²
During the so-called Little Ice Age, Alaska's glaciers expanded considerably. Now the total area and volume of Alaska's glaciers continue to decline, as they have done since the 18th century.
Of the 153 1:250,000 scale topographic maps covering the State of Alaska, 63 sheets show glaciers. Although the number of existing glaciers has never been systematically counted and is therefore unknown, the total is likely higher, probably exceeding 100,000.
Only about 600 glaciers (about 1%) have been officially named by the US Board on Geographic Names (BGN). There are about 60 active and ancient tidewater glaciers in Alaska. In the glacial ranges of southeastern Alaska and western Canada, 205 glaciers (75% in Alaska) have a history of upwelling.
In the same region, at least 53 current and 7 ancient large lakes have produced jökulhlaups (floods caused by glaciers). Ice-covered volcanoes on the Alaska mainland and in the Aleutian Islands have the potential to produce jökulhlaups caused by subglacial volcanic and geothermal activity. Due to the extent of the area covered by glaciers and the lack of large-scale maps of glaciated areas, satellite images and other satellite remote sensing data are the only practical means of monitoring regional changes in area and volume. of Alaska's glaciers in response to short- and long-term changes in the State's maritime and continental climates.
The fauna is protected in parks and natural reserves. There are eight
major national parks: Denali National Park and Preserve, Gates of the
Arctic National Park and Preserve, Katmai National Park and Preserve,
Kenai Fjords National Park, Kobuk Valley National Park, Glacier Bay
National Park, Lake Clark National Park and Preserve and Wrangell-St.
Elias National Park, which has also been on the World Heritage List
Specialists estimate that there are about a thousand animal species in Alaska, including 115 mammals and 400 birds. The emblematic animals of the State for photographic or hunting safaris are the so-called "Big Five" by tourist authorities: this category includes the brown bear and also the Kodiak bear that lives on Kodiak Island, next to Alaska, the caribou, the elk (150,000 head, population increasing), the wolf (from 7,000 to 9,000) and the Dall sheep.
Many other mammals, adapted to the difficult natural conditions, also live in Alaska: lynx, wolverine, red fox, lemmings, beaver, musk ox (exterminated in the 19th century, reintroduced in 1930 on the island of Nunivak: 34 animals were released , and now there are 600 on the island, and 2,400 in all of Alaska), arctic hare, Rocky Mountain goat, marten, otter. Some of these mammals hibernate or migrate during the winter. Polar bears hunt in the north of the region: a quarter of the world's 20,000 to 25,000 polar bears live in Alaska. Only 35,000 to 45,000 brown bears remain, of which 3,000 are concentrated in the Kodiak Archipelago. Finally, the black bear, much smaller, is also more numerous, with about 110,000 specimens in Alaskan territory.
The caribou population has gone from almost 500,000 at the beginning of the century to 188,000 in 2021, below the breeding threshold, mainly due to global warming and hunting.
Birds: ptarmigans (a type of ptarmigan), owls, golden eagles, snow geese, Bewick's swans, sandhill cranes, bald eagles (80% of bald eagles in the United States live in Alaska).
Fish: Rainbow trout and northern pike. Salmon is food for brown bears, especially red salmon, the tastiest. But there are many other varieties, such as sockeye salmon, pink salmon, coho salmon, dog salmon, and king salmon.
The killer whale is undoubtedly the most emblematic of Alaska's marine mammals. It lives throughout the state, from the Bering Sea to the southeast, and there are about 750 individuals. The humpback whale spends the winter in the tropical waters of Hawaii and Mexico and returns to Alaska in the summer (650 individuals). The gray whale also reaches the Bering Sea. Walruses live mainly around the Bering Sea, where there are about 20,000 individuals. There are also seals, sea lions, baby sea lions, fur seals and sea otters.
Despite the harsh winter climate, Alaska's flora is very diverse. There are almost 1,500 species of plants, flowers, trees and ferns. The north and northwest are covered by tundra. The temperate rainforest covers the natural areas of the southern coast through which the Alaska Current flows. The interior, marked by continental conditions, is the domain of the boreal forest or taiga. Finally, the vegetation depends on the altitude. .
Alaska is not divided into counties (counties) like the other states, but into 19 boroughs, which are similar to the counties in the other states, the counties in Germany and the districts in Austria, as well as the so-called unorganized boroughs. This district, in turn, is divided into census areas without public administration. Their borders, in turn, were not set by the state of Alaska, but by the US Census Bureau. In 1961, the entire state of Alaska was assigned to the Unorganized Borough. Only gradually did the boroughs that exist today develop in the desire for local self-government.
A continental boreal climate prevails in the interior of Alaska, a
subpolar climate in the west and a polar tundra climate in the north.
The winters here are long, dark and very cold. In the short summer,
however, it can get quite warm, on the north coast the temperatures then
rise above 0 °C. Even on the peaks of the mountains north of the Rocky
Mountains (up to 3000 m) much of the snow melts in summer. Except for
the summer months, there is little precipitation (100–300 mm), mostly in
the form of snow. It is more moderate and rainy on the south and west
coast. Here, even in winter, the temperatures rarely fall below −10 °C,
and the summers are only moderately warm. But it is very humid, there
are sometimes 300 rainy days per year. In southern Alaska, the glaciers
sometimes reach the sea.
Alaska's previous heat record was measured on June 27, 1915 at 37.8 °C in Fort Yukon, the lowest temperature was on January 23, 1971 -62 °C at Prospect Creek.
Alaska is one of the regions of the world where global warming is making itself felt. According to Berkeley Earth, from 1970 to 2005, the average temperature in Alaska rose by about 2 °C. Due to climate change, the number of fires in boreal forest areas has increased and reached levels not seen in the past 10,000 years, according to one study. For example, several wildfires were recorded in Alaska in 2019.
Alaska was the first part of the Americas to be settled by humans.
Coming from Siberia, the first nomads arrived in the area around 36,000
years ago, according to a current hypothesis, via the then still
existing Beringia, a land bridge between Asia and North America. Until
about 18,000 BC Genetic contacts to Siberia are said to have existed.
Around this time, the American population finally split off from the
Asian one. According to the study, all of today's North and South
American Indians are said to have descended from these settlers. Other
waves of immigration - as many older studies postulate - there should
not have been (with the exception of the oldest ancestors of the Inuit).
Sea levels did not rise until the end of the Ice Age, and around 10,000
years ago the two continents were separated by what is now the Bering
Strait. These first people in the region formed the indigenous tribes of
today, thousands of years before European settlement. In what is now
southeastern Alaska, as well as parts of British Columbia and the Yukon,
the Tlingit settled and developed a matrilineal form of society. The
Haida also lived in south-eastern Alaska and are known today above all
for their (craft) art. The Tsimshian people relocated to Annette Island
from British Columbia when US President Grover Cleveland and Congress
gave them permission to do so in 1887. There they founded the settlement
of Metlakatla. These three peoples, along with other Northwest Coast
Aboriginal peoples, suffered from various outbreaks of smallpox in the
late 18th century through the 1950s; The eruptions in the 1830s and
1860s were particularly devastating, with numerous deaths.
The Aleuts are still home to the Aleut people today, although they were among the first people to be exploited by the Russians. Western and southwestern Alaska are home to the Yupik; the closely related Alutiiq live in central Alaska. Best known for their reliance on caribou, the Gwich'in people lived in north-central Alaska, in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. The North Slope and Little Diomede Island are inhabited by various Inuit peoples.
Contacts with the Eurasian landmass can already be determined before
the arrival of the first European explorers on Venetian glass beads,
which probably came to Alaska from Siberia between 1400 and 1480. The
first European to sight Alaska was possibly the Russian explorer Semyon
Dezhnev, who circumnavigated the Chukchi Peninsula with Fedot Popov and
Gerasim Ankudinov in 1648, disproving the thesis that America and Asia
are connected. In 1728 and 1729 the Dane Vitus Bering, who was sailing
on behalf of the Russian tsar, failed in his attempts to reach Alaska.
It was not until 1732 that Mikhail Gwozdew set foot on the mainland at
Cape Prince of Wales as part of Afanassi Shestakov's expedition. Alaska
was not entered again until 1741 as part of the second Kamchatka
Expedition. Russian Alexei Chirikov, captain of the St. Paul, the second
ship of Bering's expedition, sighted land near Prince of Wales Island on
July 25 this year. The next day Bering reached the coast about 600 km
further north - the ships had previously been separated in a storm. On
the way back, the St. Peter, Bering's ship, had to land on the island
later named after him, where he died on December 19, 1741. The rest of
the crew arrived on September 6, 1742 in the port of departure, today's
Petropavlovsk on Kamchatka. The observations of the botanist and
zoologist Georg Wilhelm Steller, who described some American animal and
plant species for the first time, including the Steller's manatee, which
was named after him and had already been exterminated in 1768, were also
of importance during this expedition.
From 1745 the Russians explored their future colony of Russian America in search of sea otters and their valuable furs. Because of the great distances and the adverse climate, these ventures were extremely risky. In 1783, Grigory Shelikhov landed on the island of Kodiak with two ships. He opened fire on the unwilling Koniag Eskimo, killing or wounding hundreds. He founded the first permanent settlement of Alaskan colonists at what is now Three Saints Bay. In 1792 the settlement was moved to the site of today's Kodiak town, which became the main trading center for furs, including those from the mainland.
Russia's expansion was soon opposed by Spain and Great Britain. Spain laid claim to the entire Pacific coast of America under the Treaty of Tordesillas in 1494. To substantiate this claim, sent King Charles III. between 1774 and 1791 several expeditions to explore it. One of two ships of the second expedition reached Alaska in 1775 under Juan Francisco de la Bodega y Quadra. In 1791 the Italian Alessandro Malaspina, who was in the service of Spain and who was looking for the Northwest Passage on behalf of the crown, also succeeded in doing this; the Malaspina glacier is named after him. A Spanish foundation is the village of Valdez. The differing views of the Spanish and British led to the Nootka Sound Crisis in 1790. In the course of the Latin American struggle for independence that began in 1810, Spain's interests shifted. The border between Russian America, Great Britain and the USA was specified in treaties in 1824 and 1825 respectively.
As early as 1778, the Briton James Cook roughly mapped the course of the Pacific coast from California to the Bering Strait and found the Cook Inlet named after him. George Vancouver continued these ventures in 1791–1795. Over the next few years, British and American fur hunters and fur traders increasingly pushed their way to Alaska by ship. The British Hudson's Bay Company did not maintain trading posts in Fort Yukon, on the Stikine River and in Wrangell until the 1830s, some of which came about through leases with the Russians. Later, however, these were abandoned in favor of the new foundations located further south, especially in present-day British Columbia.
Until 1798, Alexander Baranow explored the coastal areas south of Kodiak and founded a settlement about 10 km north of today's Sitka in 1799 in order to clarify Russia's exclusive claim.
The three largest remaining fur animal companies, including the Shelikhov-Golikov Society, which was co-founded by Shelikhov, merged in 1799 with the co-initiation of Shelikhov's son-in-law, Nikolai Resanov, to form the Russian-American Company (RAK), which Tsar Paul I did for twenty years Fur trade monopoly in Alaska.
Rezanov planned to take possession of the entire Pacific coast of North America for Russia. He reached San Francisco Bay in 1805, but his early death the following year and the caution of the Russian Tsar thwarted those plans. In 1812, the deputy Ivan Kuskov established the trading post Fort Ross in California on Baranov's instructions, not so much out of a claim to power as a necessary supply base. It was sold in 1841.
Russian America was becoming increasingly important to the Tsarist Empire, too important for the colony to be run by just a fur trader like Baranov. In 1818 Baranow was replaced, the Russian government took over control with Russian naval officers and initially installed Ludwig von Hagemeister as governor. One of the governors of the colony, which existed until 1867, was Ferdinand von Wrangel.
Alaska was the only overseas colony for the rising world power
Russia, but it was hardly profitable and difficult to administer. Since
the passage through the Arctic Ocean was too dangerous, the only route
from the then Russian capital of Saint Petersburg led across the country
across the east across the Chukchi Sea and took more than half a year.
Over time, as a result of hunting, fur-bearing animals, particularly sea otters, have become increasingly rare and territory has become increasingly difficult for Russia to maintain. In addition, the local Indians, especially the Tlingit, made the Russians difficult. In order to replenish the state treasury after the lost Crimean War, Tsar Alexander II agreed to a contract that his ambassador to the USA, Eduard von Stoeckl, signed with US Secretary of State William H. Seward in Washington on March 30, 1867. After that, the Tsarist Empire sold Alaska to the United States (Alaska Purchase) for $7.2 million (about $140 million today).
This purchase was one of the cheapest land purchases in history, priced at just $4.74 per square mile. The purchase was nonetheless very controversial in the USA. The Senate approved the purchase agreement with 37 yes and 2 no votes, but mockers called the acquired land Seward's ice box ( " Seward's freezer " ) or "Johnson's polar bear enclosure". On October 18, 1867, Alaska officially became American; in Sitka the Russian flag was lowered and the US flag was raised. With the adoption of the Gregorian calendar, this official surrender day of Russian America to the United States has two dates, October 6 (Julian calendar) and October 18 (Gregorian calendar), which remains a public holiday to this day ("Alaska Day") and celebrated primarily in the ancient capital of Sitka.
1867-1877 Alaska was administered by the United States Army, 1877-1879 by the Treasury Department and 1879-1884 by the Navy. Until 1884 the name of the area was Department of Alaska. Triggered by the Klondike Gold Rush of 1898, the border with Canada was precisely fixed in 1903. Alaska had its own government as the District of Alaska from 1884 to 1912 and a seat in the United States Congress as the Territory of Alaska from 1912 to 1959. On January 3, 1959, the Alaska Statehood Act made Alaska the 49th state of the United States of America.
In 1968 huge oil fields were discovered on the Arctic Ocean coast
near Prudhoe Bay. This led to the construction of the Trans-Alaska
Pipeline from Prudhoe Bay to Valdez in 1974–1977. In 1989 there was a
serious accident with an oil tanker (Exxon Valdez disaster). The ship
ran aground with a simple hull, and the spilled oil contaminated
Alaska's sensitive ecosystem. As a consequence, the Americans changed
their regulations and only allowed safer double-hulled tankers to enter
It is estimated that the oil field discovered in 1968 will be exhausted around 2020 - however, another huge oil field was discovered a few years ago further north.
According to the United States Census Bureau, Alaska's estimated
population was 731,449 as of July 1, 2012, a 3% increase from the 2010
census, ranking it 47th. among the 50 states of the United States. Due
to the large territorial extension of this state, the largest in the
country, the population density is extremely low, since it reaches only
0.4 inhabitants/km², compared to 31 inhabitants/km². km² of the United
States. To get an idea of what this means, if the island of Manhattan
had the density of Alaska, only 24 people would live there.
The 2019 American Community Survey estimated 733,391 people comprised of 60.2% non-Hispanic white (64.5% white only), 3.6% black or African American, 15.7% American Indian or Alaska Native, 6.6 % Asian, 1.4% Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islander, 7.9% two or more races, and 7.5% Hispanic or Latino of any race.
At the state level:
20 indigenous languages: In April 2014, the Alaska House of Representatives unanimously approved (38 votes in favor, none against) a law that recognizes 20 indigenous languages as official languages at the state level. The 20 indigenous languages that were recognized as official languages at the statewide level belong to two large families: Eskimo-Aleut and Na-Dené. 5.2% of Alaskans speak at least one of these languages.
According to a survey carried out from 2005 to 2007, 84.7% of inhabitants over 5 years old speak only English at home; about 3.5%, Spanish; 2.2%, another Indo-European language; and 4.3%, an Asian language. 5.3% speak other languages.
According to figures published by the Association of Religion Data
Archives (ARDA) in 2000, out of a total population of 626,932
inhabitants, 411,709 people did not belong to any of the 188 religions
cataloged by the association, almost two thirds of the population.
Among the people who declared themselves members of a religion, 78,070
were evangelical Protestants; 37,156 Protestants, traditional; 54,359
Catholics; 21,256, Orthodox Christians; and 24,382, of other religions.
According to other unspecified sources:
Christianity - 69%
Protestantism - 47%
Evangelical Protestants - 26%
Historical Protestants - 19%
Black Protestants - 2%
Catholicism - 14%
Orthodox - 13%
Latter-day Saints - 4%
Jehovah's Witnesses - 0.5%
Other Christians - <0.5%
Judaism - <0.5%
Buddhism - <0.5%
Islam - 1%
Brahminists - <0.5%
Other world religions - <0.5%
Other beliefs - 2%
No religion - 27%
A particularity of religion in Alaska is the presence of the Orthodox Church. The Orthodox Church entered Alaska when it was a Russian colony, after having been discovered by Russian navigators in 1741. A Russian company was founded very soon for the trade and export of fine furs, so abundant throughout the region. The Russians settled mainly in the Aleutian chain and on Kodiak Island. Chief Cherikov, a devout man, apparently, asked Empress Catherine II for missionaries to take care of the Russian settlers first and then attend to the evangelization of the natives, especially Aleut Indians and Eskimos from the north of the peninsula. The Holy Synod of the Russian Church approved the proposal and sent the first missionary expedition under the command of Archimandrite Joasaf Bolotov, ten men in total: several priests, two deacons and two monks. They arrived in Kodiak on September 24, 1794. By 1860, seven years before the sale of Alaska by Russia to the United States, the Orthodox in Alaska reached approximately 12,000 faithful.
Public education in Alaska was practically neglected after its
purchase by the United States until, in 1877, the first elementary
school was created. In 1878, the first institution of higher education,
Sheldon Jackson College, was established in Sitka. Later, other
educational centers were created, such as the School of Agriculture and
the College of Mines, in Fairbanks (1923). This institution was the
nucleus of the future University of Alaska, founded in 1935; Since then,
it has focused on science and engineering studies, and today it is one
of the few specialized research centers in the Arctic Ocean.
The Alaska Department of Education and Early Development administers many school districts in Alaska. Additionally, the state operates one boarding school, Mt. Edgecumbe High School in Sitka, and partially funds other boarding schools, such as the Nenana Student Living Center in Nenana and The Galena Interior Learning Academy in Galena.
There are more than a dozen colleges and universities in Alaska. Accredited universities in Alaska include the University of Alaska Anchorage, the University of Alaska Fairbanks, the University of Alaska Southeast, and the University of Alaska Pacific. Alaska is the only state that does not have college athletics programs members of the Division I of the NCAA, although both Alaska-Fairbanks and Alaska-Anchorage are members of Division I men's ice hockey.
The Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development operates AVTEC, the Alaska Institute of Technology. The Seward and Anchorage campuses offer training programs from one week to 11 months in areas as diverse as Information Technology, Welding, Nursing and Mechanics.
Alaska has had "brain drain" problems. Many of its young people, including most of its highest achievers, leave the state after graduating from high school and do not return. As of 2013, Alaska had no law school or medical school. The University of Alaska has attempted to combat this by offering four-year partial scholarships to the top 10% of Alaska high school graduates through the Alaska Scholars program.
Starting in 1998, schools in rural Alaska must have at least 10 students to maintain state funding, and campuses that don't meet that number close. This was due to the loss of oil revenues that previously supported smaller rural schools. In 2015, there was a proposal to raise that minimum to 25, but state lawmakers mostly disagreed.
Mining and the oil industry are the state's largest source of wealth. The sectors in Alaska that employ the most people are, in this order, the public sector (whether local, state or federal), services, commerce, and transportation and public works. The industrial and mining sectors (especially the latter) suffered an appreciable decline during 1999 in terms of labor hiring. In terms of gross domestic product (GDP), this state experienced a very low growth of 0.9% annually (1995-96), the lowest in the entire country.
Most of the agricultural activity is located in the Matanuska Valley or on the Kenai Peninsula. The main crops are potatoes, carrots, lettuce and cabbage. The Delta Junction area has a considerable number of barley and hay farms, which were developed through a state program led by Jay Hammond during his second term as governor.
Livestock farming is reduced to reindeer and caribou herding on the Seward Peninsula, plus subsistence hunting of elk and Dall sheep. It has a strong timber industry.
Mineral resources are abundant: gold, silver, zinc, iron, copper and other minerals are extracted from the Yukon Valley. Alaska has large deposits of bituminous, subituminous coal, coal and lignite. It also has rich natural gas deposits on the North Slope and extensive potential for hydroelectric, wind and geothermal energy generation.
Fishing activity is important in Alaska, since the Bering Sea and the North Pacific produce salmon, cod, haddock and king crab.
Alaska has vast energy resources, although its oil reserves have been
largely depleted. The main oil and gas reserves were in the Alaska North
Slope (ANS) and Cook Inlet basins, but according to the Energy
Information Administration, in February 2014 Alaska had fallen to fourth
place in the country in crude oil production after Texas, North Dakota
Prudhoe Bay on Alaska's North Slope remains the second highest-yielding oil field in the United States, with typical production of about 400,000 barrels per day (64,000 m3/d), although in early 2014 the Bakken formation of North Dakota produced more than 900,000 barrels per day (140,000 m3/d). Prudhoe Bay was the largest conventional oil field ever discovered in North America, but it was much smaller than the huge Canadian Athabasca oil sands field, which in 2014 produced around 1,500,000 barrels per day (240,000 m3/d) of unconventional oil, and had hundreds of years of producible reserves at that rate.
The Trans-Alaska Pipeline can transport and pump up to 2.1 million barrels (330,000 m3) of crude oil per day, more than any other pipeline in the United States. In addition, there are significant coal deposits in the bituminous, subbituminous and lignite coal basins of Alaska. The United States Geological Survey estimates that there are 85.4 trillion cubic feet (2,420 cubic kilometers) of undiscovered technically recoverable gas from natural gas hydrates on Alaska's North Slope. Alaska also offers one of the largest hydropower potentials. of the country thanks to its numerous rivers. There are also large stretches of coastline with wind and geothermal potential.
Alaska's economy relies heavily on increasingly expensive diesel fuel for heating, transportation, electricity and lighting. Although wind and hydropower are abundant and underdeveloped, proposals for state-wide energy systems (e.g. with special low-cost electrical interconnections) were considered uneconomical (at the time of reporting, 2001) due to low fuel prices (less than 50¢/gal), long distances, and sparse population. Today, the cost of a gallon of gasoline in urban Alaska is typically thirty to sixty cents higher than the national average; Prices in rural areas are usually significantly higher, but vary greatly depending on transportation costs, seasonal peaks in usage, nearby oil development infrastructure, and many other factors.
The Alaska Permanent Fund is a constitutionally authorized allocation
of oil revenues, established by voters in 1976 to manage a surplus of
state oil revenues, largely in anticipation of the then-newly
constructed Trans-Alaska Pipeline System. . The fund was originally
proposed by Governor Keith Miller on the eve of the sale of the Prudhoe
Bay lease in 1969, out of fear that the legislature would spend the
entire proceeds of the sale (which amounted to $900 million) in one fell
swoop. time. He was later defended by Governor Jay Hammond and Kenai
State Representative Hugh Malone. It has been an attractive political
prospect ever since, diverting revenue that would normally be deposited
into the general fund.
The Alaska Constitution was written to discourage the dedication of state funds to a specific purpose. The Permanent Fund has become the rare exception to this, mainly due to the political climate of distrust that existed at the time of its creation. From its initial capital of $734,000, the fund has grown to $50 billion as a result of oil royalties and capital investment programs. Most, if not all, of the capital is conservatively invested outside from Alaska. This has led to frequent calls from Alaska politicians for the Fund to make investments within Alaska, although such a stance has never gained traction.
Beginning in 1982, dividends from the fund's annual growth have been paid each year to eligible Alaskans, starting with the initial $1,000 in 1982 (equivalent to three years of payments, since the distribution of payments was delayed for a lawsuit over the distribution plan) to $3,269 in 2008 (which included a one-time "Resource Rebate" of $1,200). Each year, the state legislature withdraws 8% of profits, returns 3% to the principal to protect it from inflation, and distributes the remaining 5% to all eligible Alaskans. To be eligible to receive Permanent Fund dividends, you must have lived in the state for a minimum of 12 months, maintain a constant residence, with absences permitted, and not be subject to court rulings or criminal convictions that fall within the the various disqualification classifications or may subject the payment amount to civil seizure.
The Permanent Fund is often considered one of the leading examples of basic income policy in the world.
Alaska offers an excellent tourist offer, given its terrain, its coasts and the numerous rivers that cross it. This wealth is being affected by the greenhouse effect and the extraction of oil and minerals.
Like the rest of the US states, Alaska is governed as a republican
entity, with three basic branches: an executive branch consisting of the
governor of Alaska and his appointees who direct the executive
departments; a legislative branch consisting of the Alaska House of
Representatives and Senate; and a judicial branch consisting of the
Alaska Supreme Court and lower courts.
Approximately 16,000 people work in the state of Alaska.
The Alaska Legislature is made up of a 40-member House of Representatives and a 20-member Senate. Senators have four-year terms and House members have two terms. The Governor of Alaska serves a four-year term. The lieutenant governor runs separately from the governor in the primary, but in the general election, the gubernatorial candidate and the lieutenant governor candidate run together on the same ticket.
Alaska's court system has four levels: the Alaska Supreme Court, the Alaska Court of Appeals, the superior courts, and the district courts. Superior and district courts are trial courts. Superior courts are courts of general jurisdiction, while district courts only hear certain types of cases, including misdemeanor criminal cases and civil cases valued up to $100,000.
The Supreme Court and the Court of Appeals are courts of appeal. The Court of Appeals is required to hear appeals from certain decisions of lower courts, including those relating to criminal proceedings, juvenile delinquency, and habeas corpus. The Supreme Court hears civil appeals and may, at its discretion, , hear about criminal appeals.
Although in its early years of statehood Alaska was a Democratic
state, since the early 1970s it has been characterized as leaning
Republican. Local political communities have often worked on issues
related to land use development, fishing, tourism and individual rights.
Alaska Natives, although organized in and around their communities, have
been active in Native corporations. They have been granted ownership of
large areas of land, which require administration.
Alaska was previously the only state in which possession of an ounce or less of marijuana in one's home was completely legal under state law, although federal law remains in effect.
The state has an independence movement in favor of a vote on secession from the United States, with the Alaska Independence Party.
Six Republicans and four Democrats have been governors of Alaska. Additionally, Republican Governor Wally Hickel was elected to a second term in 1990 after leaving the Republican Party and briefly joining the Alaska Independence Party ticket long enough to be re-elected. He officially rejoined the Republican Party in 1994.
Alaska's voter initiative legalizing marijuana took effect on February 24, 2015, placing Alaska alongside Colorado and Washington as the first three states in the United States where recreational marijuana is legal. The new law means that those over 21 years of age can consume small amounts of cannabis.83 The first legal marijuana store opened in Valdez in October 2016.
To fund state government operations, Alaska relies primarily on oil
revenues and federal grants. It is one of five states with no sales tax,
one of seven states with no personal income tax, and, along with New
Hampshire, one of two states with neither tax. The Division Prosecutor
of the Department of Finance periodically reports on the state's sources
of income. The department also publishes an annual summary of its
operations, including new state laws that directly affect the tax
division. In 2014, the Tax Foundation ranked Alaska as the state with
the fourth most "business-friendly" tax policy, behind only Wyoming,
South Dakota and Nevada.
Although Alaska has no state sales tax, 89 municipalities collect a local sales tax, ranging from 1.0 to 7.5%, typically 3 to 5%. Other local taxes collected are raw fish taxes, hotel, motel and bed and breakfast taxes, profits taxes, liquor and tobacco taxes, gambling taxes (pull tabs) , tire taxes and fuel transfer taxes. A portion of the revenue collected from certain state taxes and license fees (such as petroleum, aviation fuel, and telephone cooperative) is shared with Alaska municipalities.
The drop in oil prices following the fracking boom in the early 2010s has decimated the treasury of the state of Alaska, which has historically received about 85% of its revenue from taxes and fees imposed on oil companies. and gas. The state government has had to drastically reduce its budget, taking its budget deficit from more than $2 billion in 2016 to less than $500 million in 2018. In 2020, the Alaska state government budget It was 4.8 billion dollars, while the expected public revenues were only 4.5 billion.
The state of Alaska, in the United States, is not divided into
counties like the other states (with the exception of Louisiana, which
is divided into parishes), but is divided into “organized boroughs.”
Most of the most populated cities in Alaska are part of one of the
nineteen organized boroughs. These organized boroughs ("districts")
function similarly to counties in other states. However, unlike what
happens in other states, organized boroughs do not cover the entire
surface of the state of Alaska, so the remaining area of the state is
called an unorganized borough.
The United States Census Bureau, in cooperation with the state of Alaska, divided the large portion called the unorganized borough into a total of ten census tracts, each of which corresponded to an electoral district. However, these census areas were defined solely for the purposes of statistical analysis and do not have their own administrative representation. The Census Bureau treats organized boroughs and census tracts equivalent to the county level of other states.
Some areas of the unorganized borough receive certain public services directly from the Alaska state government, usually related to law enforcement and education funding.
In Alaska there are six organized consolidated city-boroughs, similar to the consolidated city-counties of the other states. They are the borough-cities of Juneau, Haines, Sitka, Yakutat, Wrangell and the state's largest city, Anchorage. Although in the latter case its legal name is the Municipality of Anchorage, because state law has given it consideration as a city. Fairbanks has a separate district (the Fairbanks North Star District) and a municipality (the City of Fairbanks).
Far North (Alaska)
Subregions of the Far North (in alphabetical order) are: Western Arctic (Alaska); Brooks Range; Arctic Coast (Alaska).
Inside Passage (Alaska)
Inside Passage subregions (in alphabetical order) are: Glacier Bay Area (Alaska); Southern (Alaska); Northern (Alaska).
subregions of the South Central Region (in alphabetical order) are: Anchorage Area (Alaska); Prince William Strait (Alaska); Kenai Peninsula; Copper River Valley (Alaska); Mat-Su Valley (Alaska).
Subregions of the Interior region (in alphabetical order) are: Fairbanks Area (Alaska); Denali National Park Area (Alaska); Alaska and Taylor Highways (Alaska); Interior Northeast (Alaska); Interior West (Alaska).
Subregions of the Southwest Region (in alphabetical order) are: Kodiak Archipelago (Alaska); Bristol Bay (Alaska); Yukon-Kuskokuin Delta (Alaska); Aleutian Islands; Pribilof Islands; Alaska Peninsula.
Alaska has few road connections compared to the rest of the US. The
state's highway system, which covers a relatively small area of the
state, links central population centers and the Alaska Highway, the main
exit route from the state across Canada. The state capital, Juneau, is
not accessible by road, and can only be reached by ferry or plane; This
has sparked debate for decades about moving the capital to a road
network city, or building a road connection from Haines. Western Alaska
lacks a highway system connecting communities to the rest of Alaska.
Alaska's interstate highways total 1,082 miles (1,741 km). A unique feature of the Alaska Highway system is the Anton Anderson Memorial Tunnel, an active Alaska Railroad tunnel recently upgraded to provide a paved road link from the isolated Prince William Sound community of Whittier to the Seward Highway. about 50 miles (80 km) southeast of Anchorage, in Portage. At 4.0 km, the tunnel was the longest in North America until 2007. The tunnel is the longest combination road and rail in North America.
Built around 1915, the Alaska Railroad (ARR) played a key role in the
development of Alaska throughout the 20th century. It links the shipping
routes of the North Pacific with the interior of Alaska through tracks
that leave from Seward and pass through Anchorage, Eklutna, Wasilla,
Talkeetna, Denali and Fairbanks, with branches to Whittier, Palmer and
the North Pole. The cities, towns, villages and region served by the
ARR's tracks are known throughout the state as "The Railbelt." In recent
years, the increasingly improved paved highway system has begun to
eclipse the importance of railroads in Alaska's economy.
The railroad played a vital role in the development of Alaska, transporting goods to Alaska and natural resources south, such as coal from the Usibelli Mine near Healy to Seward, and gravel from the Matanuska Valley to Anchorage. It is well known for its tourist passenger service in summer.
The Alaska Railroad was one of the last North American railroads to use cabooses in regular service and still uses them on some gravel trains. It continues to offer one of the last routes with a stop on the country's flag. A stretch of about 60 miles (100 km) of track along an area north of Talkeetna remains inaccessible by road; The railway provides the only transportation to the rural houses and cabins in the area. Until the construction of the Parks Highway in the 1970s, the railroad was the only land access to most of the region along its entire route.
In northern southeastern Alaska, the White Pass and Yukon Route also partially traverses the state from Skagway north to Canada (British Columbia and Yukon Territory), crossing the border at the summit of White Pass. Today, this line is used primarily by tourists, who often arrive by cruise ship to Skagway. He appeared in 1983 in the BBC television series Great Little Railways.
These two railways are not connected to each other or to any other railways. The closest link to the North American rail network is the northwest terminus of the Canadian National Railway at Prince Rupert, British Columbia, several hundred kilometers to the southeast.
In 2000, the US Congress authorized $6 million to study the feasibility of a rail link between Alaska, Canada and the lower 48 states. In 2021, the Alaska-Alberta Railway Development Corporation had been declared in suspension of payments.
Some private companies offer float service between Whittier and Seattle.
Many cities, towns and villages in the state do not have road or
highway access or transportation; The only modes of access involve
travel by air, river or sea.
Alaska's developed state ferry system (known as the Alaska Marine Highway) serves cities in the Southeast, the Gulf Coast, and the Alaska Peninsula. Ferries transport both vehicles and passengers.
The system also operates ferry service from Bellingham, Washington, and Prince Rupert, British Columbia, Canada, across the Inside Passage to Skagway. The Interisland Ferry Authority also serves as an important maritime link for many communities in the southeast region of Prince of Wales Island and works in concert with the Alaska Maritime Highway.
In recent years, cruise lines have created a summer tourism market that primarily connects the Pacific Northwest with Southeast Alaska and, to a lesser extent, cities on the Gulf Coast of Alaska. The population of Ketchikan, for example, fluctuates dramatically many days: up to four large cruise ships can dock there at the same time.
Cities that are not connected by road, sea or river can only be
reached by air, on foot, by dog sled or by snowmobile, which explains
the great development of Alaska's air services. Anchorage and, to a
lesser extent, Fairbanks are served by many major airlines. Due to
limited road access, air remains the most efficient means of
transportation into and out of the state. Recently, Anchorage completed
extensive remodeling and construction at Ted Stevens Anchorage
International Airport to help accommodate the tourism boom (in
2012-2013, Alaska welcomed nearly two million visitors).
Making scheduled flights commercially viable to most of the state's towns and cities is difficult, so they are heavily subsidized by the federal government through the Essential Air Service program. Alaska Airlines is the only major airline to offer travel within the state with aircraft service (sometimes combined cargo and passenger Boeing 737-400) from Anchorage and Fairbanks to regional centers such as Bethel, Nome, Kotzebue, Dillingham, Kodiak and other larger communities, as well as to major communities in the Southeast and the Alaska Peninsula.
A Bombardier Dash 8, operated by Era Alaska, on approach to Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport.
Most of the remaining commercial flight supply comes from small regional commuter airlines such as Ravn Alaska, PenAir and Frontier Flying Service. Smaller cities and towns have to rely on scheduled or charter flight services with aviation aircraft. general as the Cessna Caravan, the most popular in the state. Much of this service can be attributed to Alaska's bypass mail program, which subsidizes the delivery of bulk mail to rural Alaska communities. The program requires that 70% of that subsidy be allocated to carriers that offer passenger services to communities.
Many communities have small air taxi services. These operations have their origin in the demand for personalized transportation to remote areas. Perhaps the most typically Alaskan aircraft is the seaplane. The world's busiest seaplane base is Lake Hood, located next to Ted Stevens International Airport in Anchorage, where flights to remote towns without a landing strip carry passengers, cargo and many items from stores and warehouse clubs.
In 2006, Alaska had the highest number of pilots per capita of any US state. In 2020, there were 8,795 active pilot certificates in Alaska.109 Of these, there are 2,507 private pilots, 1,496 commercial, 2. airline transportation and 2,239 students. There are also 3,987 pilots with instrument flight ratings and 1,511 flight instructors.
Another form of transportation in Alaska is the dog sled. In modern
times (i.e. after the mid to late 1920s), dog sledding is more of a
sport than a true means of transportation. Several races are held
throughout the state, but the best known is the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog
Race, a 1,850 km course from Anchorage to Nome (although the distance
varies from year to year, the official distance is 1,688 km).
The race commemorates the famous Nome Serum Race of 1925, in which mushers and dogs like Togo and Balto brought much-needed medicine to the diphtheria-stricken community of Nome when all other means of transportation had failed. Mushers from around the world flock to Anchorage every March to compete for money, prizes and prestige. The "Whey Race" is another sled dog race that more closely follows the route of the famous 1925 relay, starting from the community of Nenana (southwest of Fairbanks) to Nome.
In areas not served by road or rail, the main means of transportation in summer is the all-terrain vehicle and in winter the snowmobile or "snow machine", as it is commonly called in Alaska.
Alaska has numerous libraries that raise important funds for local
research. Among them, the State Library, in Juneau, and the Rasmusson
Library, in Fairbanks, stand out. The state has interesting museums,
such as the Sheldom Jackson, in Sitka, with collections on native
history and culture, or the Baranof Museum, in Kodiak, dedicated to the
There are numerous music and theater festivals in Alaska, many of them organized by the Alaska Humanities Council. These festivals promote the representation of local stories and traditions, such as the play titled Cry of the Wild Man, the Russian dances of Sitka, or the music of the Yukon Valley fiddlers.
Other types of festivals and traditions are also popular, such as dog sled races (held between Fairbanks and Whitehorse, Canada; and between Nome and Anchorage), the Inuit-Indian Olympiad, or the Russian Festival of Kodiak.
Motto: Towards the North towards the future
Nicknames: "The Last Frontier", "Land of the Midnight Sun", "Ice Chest" and "Seward's Icebox"
Bird: common grouse, after the state legislature in 1955. It is a small bird (15-17 inches), which lives among willows and in open tundra and swamps. Its plumage is brown in the summer, changing to white in winter, and is common in much of Alaska.
Fish: king salmon, adopted in 1962.
Flower: Myosotis, approved by the territorial legislature in 1917. It is a perennial plant found in Alaska, from Hyder to the coast of the Arctic Ocean, and west of the Aleutian Islands.
Fossil: woolly mammoth, adopted in 1986.
Gem: nephrite, adopted in 1968.
Insect: Anisoptera, adopted in 1995.
Mammal: elk, adopted in 1998.
Marine mammal: Bowhead whale, adopted in 1983.
Minerals: gold, adopted in 1968.
Anthem: "Alaska Flag"
Sport: mushing, adopted in 1972.
Tree: Picea sitchensis, adopted in 1962.
Dog: Alaskan Malamute, adopted in 2010.
Being the state with the lowest population density, it does not have
professional teams in the major leagues.
The most practiced sports are winter sports, and there is a great tradition of dog sled racing (or mushing), being the most popular sport in Alaska, with multiple events, tournaments and competitions throughout the state.
In the city of Anchorage there are three baseball teams that participate in the Alaska Baseball League, but none of them are professional. Additionally, the city gains national attention on the first Saturday of each March, when the traditional Iditarod dog race begins with its ceremonial start in the city center. The city was even a candidate to host the 1992 and 1994 Winter Olympic Games, losing to Albertville (France) and Lillehammer (Norway), respectively.
The city of Fairbanks has the University of Alaska Fairbanks Nanooks university team, with several sections, such as the ice hockey section that participates in NCAA Division I.
Uniquely, the city of Palmer is home to the Alaska City FC soccer team that plays in the United Premier Soccer League.