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Alaska Essay Research Paper AlaskaThe purpose of

Alaska Essay, Research Paper


The purpose of this paper is to inform any reader of many facts of Alaska, including its history, geography, and what it is like now. Alaska has a very interesting history and it is still very fascinating today.


(World Book 2000) No one is exactly for sure how long people have been living in Alaska, but scientists believe that early people crossed over to Alaska by a land bridge from Russia, when the earth was still a large mass of land and not separated yet.

(Encarta 98 Encyclopedia) The earliest known people who lived in Alaska were the Inuits, Aleuts, and Indians. The Aleuts lived in the northwestern area. The Aleuts lived in the Aleutian Islands. Then finally, the Indians lived along the southern coastal regions of Alaska.

(Sefoff) The first white men to become interested and explore Alaska were the Russians. A man named Semen I. Deehenev led a group of Russians to Alaska by sailing across the Bering Strait, in 1648. After his exploration many Russians made expeditions to Alaska. A great fur trade had been started from all of the people coming to Alaska.

(Sefoff) The Russians tried to accomplish the development of many industries in Alaska, such as coal mining, whale hunting, and shipbuilding. But by the 1850 s the industries were beginning to fail to develop and Russia was becoming eager to sell the Alaskan Territory.

(http://www.dced.state.ak.us/tourism/student.htm) A former United States Secretary of State, William H. Seward made a deal with Russia to buy the Alaskan Territory for 7,200,000 dollars. That s only two cents per acre! On March 30, 1867 Seward signed the Treaty of Cession of Russian America, making Alaska a part of the United States. There were some Americans who disliked the purchase and called it such names as Sewards Folly, Sewards Icebox, and Iceburgia. American troop raised the flag in Sitka on October 18, 1867. America was the official owner of the Alaskan Territory.

(World Book 2000) Congress did not provide Alaska a government for seven-teen years, for that period Alaska was under military rule. The army was not very fond of having to be stationed in Alaska because it did not have very many attractions or fun things to do.

(World Book 2000) In February of 1879, in Sitka, Alaska, a fight broke out between some Natives and Americans. Many residents feared that a massacre might break out if nothing was done to prevent more fights. Therefor the residents called upon the United States Navy for their protection. But they got no reply and turned to the British, who in turn sent the warship H.M.S. Osprey in March. In June the United States Navy came and took control of Alaska.

(Encarta 98) In 1878 many companies took a look at the rich salmon filled oceans. They built many canaries and fisheries and hatcheries. But since the law had not been developed, there was no set fishing limit and the companies over fished the waters. They would take massive fishing nets and bring in huge amounts of fish out of the ocean. These catches severely depleted the oceans stock of fish.

In 1880, two men named Joseph Juneau and Richard T. Harris found large deposits of gold in the Gastineau Channel, in southeast Alaska. This gold discovery led to the founding of Alaska s capital, Juneau. Three other gold discoveries in 1846, 1848, and 1902 led to the founding of Klondike District of Canada, Nome, and Fairbanks. The gold discoveries brought thousands of people to these cities that hoped to strike it gold and get rich quick.

(Sefoff) World War II made Americans realize the strategic military importance of Alaska because it was right next to Asia. Thousands of people were sent to build and maintain military bases and installations. In 1942 the Japanese bombed Dutch Harbor in the Aleutian Islands. The government, also in 1942 built the Alaskan Highway to supply the military, mainly.

(World Book 2000) In March 27,1964, at 5:36p.m. one of the greatest earthquakes ever to hit North America struck south central Alaska. The earthquake measured about 8.4 on the Richter scale. In just a couple of minutes it had costed about $400million dollars in property damage. About 114 people died and the town of Valdez was completely destroyed. Most of the large office building in Central Anchorage were destroyed, Kodiaks seafood processing facilities were destroyed, and Seward looked devastated. Lyndan B. Johnson generously helped to reconstruct the damaged areas.

(Stefoff) In 1968 a great oil field was discovered in Prudhoe Bay on the Arctic Coastal Plain. This discovery had made the largest oil reserve in North America property of Atlantic Richfield company. This field has 450,000 acres that were leased to people that would mine their own oil and the Alaskan government made 900 million dollars.

(SIRS Researcher) In 1974 the construction of a pipeline to carry oil about 880 miles across the state from Prudhoe Bay to Valdez part. The pipeline was completed 1977 and its production costed its builder $8 billion . After the completion of the pipeline, many people and residents thought an oil spill was bound to happen because of the oil industry being too cheap to pay for the production of double hulled tankers. So, on the night of March 23, 1989 the captain had gone to his cabin to sleep and left someone unqualified to steer the ship. The ship had struck a reef in the early morning of March 24. The massive oil tanker had spilled about 10 million gallons of crude oil into Prince William Sound, making this the largest oil spill in the history of North America. The oil had polluted fishing water and beaches and destroyed most of the wildlife that lived on coastal regions of Alaska and its water bodies. About all of the cleanup was finished in 1992, costing over 2 billion dollars. Many scientists are still trying to restore an ecological balance again of the area. An Alaskan Sea life Center opened in 1998 in Seward, Alaska, built by the funding of the Exxon Case.


(SIRS Researcher) Alaska is the largest state in area of the United States. It occupies almost one fifth of the rest of America , according to the 1900 U.S. Census Alaska ranks 49th among the population size of all the states. Wyoming is the only state with a smaller population.

(World Book 2000) The capital of Alaska is Juneau. The largest city in Alaska in terms of population is Anchorage and in terms of area it is Sitka. In 1959 when Alaska entered the Union it was the first new state in 47 years. Alaska is about 800 miles away from the rest of the United States. The part of Alaska that is closest to Russia is only 51 miles from it.

(Encarta 98) About one third of Alaska is above the Arctic Circle. The highest point is Point Barrow which is only 1,300 miles from the North Pole.

(Encarta 98) Alaska has a very wide range of temperature, some as low as 80 degrees Fahrenheit below zero to as high as 100 degrees Fahrenheit. The climate and soil as far north as the Arctic Circle is nice enough for farmers to grow crops and raise livestock. The crops that are grown are barley, some potatoes, and various other crops. In the summer, crops grow very fast because the sun shines approximately 20 hours a day in Alaska. At Point Barrow from May 10, to August 2, the sun will never set.

(Gardy) The name Alaska comes from a word that the Aleutian people used. The word means Great Land or Mainland . Today Alaska is called The Last Frontier because it ha snot all been fully settled by people.

(Gardy) The Inuit people still hunt and fish along the Arctic Coast in the north and west just as their ancestors. Inuits are also called Eskimos. But even the villages of theirs that are extremely small have air strips where some planes can land for access to that village. The pilots of these planes are called bushwhackers.

(World Book 2000) About 1/3 of Alaska s people were born in Alaska the people from other states are from the armed forces posted in Alaska. The part of the population of Alaska that are native, there are 76,000. About 44,000 of the Natives are Inuits, 31,000 are Indians, and 10,000 of the Inuits are Aleuts. Aleuts live on the Aleutian Islands and Alaskan Peninsula. The Indian tribes Tlingit and Haida live in the southeastern parts of Alaska. Athabaskan Indians are living mainly in the south-central areas of Alaska.

(SIRS Researcher) most of the white percentage of Alaska lives in or near by Anchorage, the largest city; Fairbanks and in the south-eastern cities of Alaska. The only metropolitan area of Alaska is Anchorage.

(World Book 2000) the state library of Alaska lies in Juneau. It contains a historical section and state archives and records management services section. At the University of Alaska Fairbanks, the University Alaska Anchorage and the University of Alaska Southeast (in Juneau) academic libraries are located.

(World Book 2000) the Alaskan State Museum is located in Juneau, it has exhibits of Indian and Inuit artifacts. It also displays animal exhibits and displays dealing with minerals of the state. The University of Alaska Fairbanks has exhibits about history and wildlife, they also have displays dealing with Alaskan art. The other cities that have Museums include the following: Anchorage, Bethel, Haines, Haner, Kenai, Ketchikan, Kodiak, Kotzebue, and Wasilla.

(Gardy) Alaska s large wilderness attracts many people who love to be in the outdoors. The Alaskan peaks that rank very high in height of most mountains in North America attract many expert mountain climbers. Fishermen come to catch record size salmon, trout and halibut. Tourists come to see the exquisite mountain scenery and old historic coastal towns. Some other activities take part in are white water kayaking, bird watching, and tours of the world famous Aurora Borealis. Another very famous winter activity is the Iditrod Trail Sled Dog Race. Teams of dogs and mushers race from downtown Anchorage to Nome every March. The course is about 1,200 miles long and usually takes about 12 days for the racers finish.

(SIRS Researcher) most of the main and important cities of Alaska are on the southern coast. All of them are much smaller than the other main cities nearly all the other states. Anchorage with a population 226,338 is the largest city. It also serves as the main center of commerce. Fairbanks has the second largest population 30,843. Juneau s population is 26,751; is the capital and largest city in the Alaskan panhandle. Ketchikan s population is 8,263. It is one of the largest salmon fishing parts of the world. Sitka s population 8,588. It was the Russian capital, and now is a major fishery city.

In conclusion, Alaska is a very interesting state some parts are very wild and untamed with wild animals and roaring rivers, while some parts may not be densely populated but still very busy with people going all about doing there job, may it be fisherman, miner, sailor, or business man. I would like to go to Alaska someday because it would be a great place to camp fish and just live in.