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General background about this state

Alaska Flag     Alaska Great Seal



Alaska is a U.S. state situated in the northwest extremity of the North American continent. Bordering the state to the east is Yukon, a Canadian territory, and the Canadian province of British Columbia, the Arctic Ocean to the north, and the Pacific Ocean to the west and south, with Russia further west across the Bering Strait.

  • NICKNAME: The Last Frontier
  • POPULATION: 735,132 (2013 est.)
  • CAPITAL: Juneau
  • STATE BIRD: Willow Ptarmigan
  • STATE FLOWER: Forget Me Not
  • AREA: 663,268 sq. mi.
  • TIME ZONE: East of 169 30' Alaska: UTC -9/-8 - West of 169 30' Aleutian: UTC -10/-9
  • ENTERED UNION: Jan. 3rd, 1959
  • ALTITUDE: High, 20,320 ft. Mount McKinley (Denali)
  • CLIMATE: On the Alaska panhandle, relatively mild, with heavy rain; elsewhere, extremely cold winters inland, with cool summers, light rain.


Partly because of its forbidding size (it would almost touch all 4 boundaries if superimposed upon the rest of the continental United States) Alaska remains a largely untapped  frontier region. Most of its northern frozen tundra, fog-enshrouded volcanic islands and moist panhandle are still public lands. Salmon, timber and gold are important resources of income. But all 3 are overshadowed by the size of federal expenditures on the areas defense.

A high percentage of Alaska's residence are in military uniform, in military posts scattered across the state-and for good reason. In the age of jet planes and intercontinental missiles, Fairbanks lies closer to Moscow than any other major American city. Only the Bering Straight, sometimes solid with ice during the winter, separates Alaska from Soviet Siberia.

Augustine Volcano erupting on January 12, 2006
Alaska's Augustine Volcano erupting on 1/12/06

Alaska is a land of promise. the last truly undeveloped region of the U.S. Here lie, still awaiting exploitation, rich petroleum reserves, as well as extensive gold and coal deposits. The land's promise, moreover, is not far from reality, for a great asset of the nation's second youngest state is its people and their pride. "When I grow up", children are often heard to say, "I'm going to do something-for Alaska".



  • Alaska was first populated 7,000 years ago by people from Asia who migrated across an Ice-Age land bridge.
  • Barrow, the northernmost U.S. city, has 69 days of continuous darkness in winter and 84 days of continuous daylight in summer.
  • Little Diomede Island is only 2.5 miles (4km) from Russian territory.
  • Alaska has the northernmost, westernmost, and easternmost points in the United States.
  • The distance from southeast Alaska to the tip of the Aleutian chain roughly equals the distance from Miami to Los Angeles.
  • The most powerful earthquake ever recorded in North America struck Anchorage in 1964. It was 80 times more powerful than the 1906 San Francisco quake and measured 9.2 on the Richter scale.


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