State Abbreviation: AK
Nickname: Last Frontier, Great Land, Land of the Midnight Sun
Origin of Name: The name Alaska is derived from the Aleut word "Alyeska," meaning "great land.
Motto: North To The Future
Alaska State Symbols
Alaska: State Seal
Bird: Willow Ptarmigan
Fish: Giant King Salmon
Fossil: Wooly Mammoth
Things to Know
Alaska lies at the extreme northwest of the North American continent and is the largest peninsula in the Western Hemisphere.Native Eskimo and Aleut tribes inhabited the Alaska area before it was discovered by Vitus Bering, a Dane exploring for the Russians, in 1741. Vitus Bering was the first to map the west coast of Alaska.
America bought Alaska from Russia on March 30, 1867. President Andrew Johnson's Secretary of State, William H. Seward, was responsible for negotiating the purchase of Alaska from Russia. The USA paid Russia $7.2 million for Alaska. A copy of the cancelled check can be viewed online.
When the agreement to purchase the Alaska territory from Russia was struck in 1867 by Secretary of State William H. Seward, there were many in the lower 48 states who were critical of the secrecy that had surrounded it and of the high price tag. Critics of Seward's agreement to purchase the Alaska territory from Russia referred to the plan as "Seward's Folly." They mocked his willingness to spend so much on "Seward's icebox" and Andrew Johnson's "polar bear garden."
United States Senators from Alaska.
Mount McKinley, in Denali National Park, at 20,320 feet (6,194 meters), is the highest peak in North America.
Gold was discovered in 1896 at Bonanza Creek, setting off the great Klondike Gold Rush.
An oil spill by an Exxon tanker in Prince William Sound in 1989 damaged pristine coastline and led to battles between environmentalists and the oil industry. The beautiful scenery, national parks, and wildlife are Alaska's main natural resources and tourist attractions.
Susan Butcher, 1954 - 2006, sled dog racer
Benny Benson, from Chignik Alaska, in 1926 designed the state flag at age 13. The blue field is for the sky and the Forget-Me-Not, the state flower. The North Star is for the future of the state of Alaska, the most northerly of the Union. The dipper is for the Great Bear - symbolizing strength.