(In Detail) (Full size)
State nickname: "The Last Frontier"

Other U.S. States
Capital Juneau
Largest City Anchorage
 - Total
 - Land
 - Water
 - % water
Ranked 1st
1,717,854 kmē
1,481,347 km2
236,507 km2
 - Total (2000)
 - Density
Ranked 48th
Admittance into Union
 - Order
 - Date

January 3, 1959
Time zone Alaska: UTC-9/-8
54°40'N to 71°50'N
130°W to 173°E
1,300 km
2380 km
6,194 meters
3,060 meters
0 meters
ISO 3166-2:US-AK

On January 3, 1959, Alaska was admitted to the United States as the 49th state. The population of the state is 626,932, as of 2000. The name "Alaska" is most likely derived from the Aleut word for "great country" or "mainland."

USS Alaska was named in honor of this state.

Table of contents
1 History
2 Law and Government
3 Geography
4 Economy
5 Important Cities and Towns
6 Education
7 External links


Alaska was probably first settled by peoples who came there across the Bering Land Bridge, including Inuit and a variety of Native American groups. Most if not all of the pre-Columbian population of the Americas took this route, but continued further south and east.

The first written accounts indicate that the first Europeans to reach Alaska came from Russia. Vitus Bering sailed east and saw Mt. St. Elias. The Russian-American Company hunted otters for their fur. The colony was never very profitable, because of the costs of transportation.

At the instigation of Secretary of State William Seward, the United States Senate approved the purchase of Alaska from Russia for $7,200,000 on April 9th, 1867, and the United States flag was raised on October 18th of that same year. The purchase was not popular in the continental United States, where Alaska became known as "Seward's Folly" or "Seward's Icebox". Currently, Alaska celebrates the purchase on Seward's Day, the last Monday of March, and the flag-raising on Alaska Day, the October 18.

President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed the Alaska Statehood Act into United States law on July 7, 1958 which paved the way for Alaska's admission into the Union.

The National Statuary Hall of the United States of America is part of the Capitol in Washington DC. Each state selected distinguished citizens and provided statues. Most states have two. Alaska has one. The statue is of E.L. (Bob) Bartlett (1904-1968) one of the original U. S. senatorss from Alaska. He was the territorial delegate to the US Congress from 1944 to 1958, and was elected as the first senior US senator in 1958 and re-elected in 1964. There are streets, buildings, and even the first state ferry, named for him.

The first woman elected to statewide office was Fran Ulmer, elected as Lieutenant Governor in 1994.

Law and Government

Main article: Law and Government of Alaska

See: List of Alaska Governors

The capital of Alaska is Juneau and the current Governor of Alaska is Frank H. Murkowski (Republican). Alaska's two U.S. senators are Lisa Murkowski (Republican) and Ted Stevens (Republican).


Alaska's largest city is Anchorage. The remote, uncrowded parts are called the Alaskan Bush.

Many acres of Alaska are managed by the federal government as National Forests, National parks, and National Wildlife Refuges. There are places in Alaska that are general public lands (BLM land) but they are arguably more spectacular than many national parks in the Lower 48. Probably, nearly every Alaska state park would be a national park in the lower 48. Many acres of Alaska are managed by corporations (mostly, ANCSA corporations, of which there are 13 regional ones and dozens of local ones).

Alaska is the largest state in the United States in terms of land area (615,230 sq mi). If you superimposed Alaska on the Lower 48, Alaska would touch Minnesota and Texas, as well as Georgia and California. One scheme for describing the state's geography is by labelling the regions: South Central Alaska along the coast where there are towns, citites, and petroleum industrial plants; the Alaska Interior where there are big rivers, such as the Yukon River and the Kuskowim River, as well as Arctic tundra lands and shorelines; and the Alaska Panhandle where there are towns, tidewater glaciers and extensive forests.

Alaska, with its numerous islands, has nearly 34,000 miles of coastline. The island chain extending west from the southern tip of Alaska is called the Aleutian Islands

Another important way of describing Alaska is by distinguishing the transportation options. Some of Alaska is connected by roads to the highways of Canada and the rest of the United States. These places are "on the road system". Along the Pacific Ocean, many places have freight and passenger service from ocean-going ships. Most places have air service (ranging from jets on tarmac to floatplanes on lakes).

The Last Frontier
State Bird:Willow Ptarmigan
State Capital:Juneau
State Flower:Forget Me Not
(Myosotis alpestris)
State Motto:"North To The Future"
State Song:"Alaska's Flag"
State Tree:Sitka Spruce

Boroughs and Census Areas

Alaska has no counties in the sense of counties as in the rest of the country. However, the state is divided into 27 census areas and boroughs. See the boroughs and census areas.


The state's 1999 total gross state product was $26 billion placing it 46th in the nation. Its Per Capita Income for 2000 was $30,064, 15th in the nation. Alaska's main agriculture output is seafood, although nursery stock, dairy products, vegetables, and livestock are produced and used internally. Manufacturing is limited, with most foodstuffs and general goods imported from elsewhere. Employment is primarily in governmental, natural resource extraction, shipping, and transport industries. There is also a small but growing service and tourism sector. Its industrial outputs are crude petroleum, natural gas, coal, gold, precious metals, zinc and other mining, seafood processing, timber and wood products, and tourism.

In 1976, the people of Alaska voted to amend Alaska's constitution, establishing the Alaska Permanent Fund, which invests a portion of the state's mineral revenue (include revenue from the Trans-Alaskan Pipeline System}, "to benefit all generations of Alaskans." In June of 2003, the fund's value was more than $24 billion.

Important Cities and Towns

(Please note that only incorporated cities of over 5,000 people are listed.)


Colleges and Universities

  • Alaska Bible College
  • Alaska Pacific University
  • Sheldon Jackson College
  • University of Alaska System
    • University of Alaska Anchorage
    • University of Alaska Fairbanks
    • University of Alaska Southeast

External links