Alaska State Information

Discovery of Alaska

In July 15, 1741 Vitus Bering, a Danish sea captain who worked for Russia and one of his assistant Alexai Chirikof sighted Alaska for the first time.

The Purchase

On March 30, 1867, the United States agreed to purchase Alaska from Russia for $7.2 million dollars at about two cents per acre.

Origin of the Name

The name “Alaska” was derived from an Aleut word Al-ay-ek-sa which means “Main Land” or “Great land”. Al-ay-ek-as literally means object towards which the action of sea is directed. The name Al-ay-ek-sa then got changed to Alaksa, Alashka, Alaiska and finally it got the present name, “The Alaska”.

Alaska’s Nick Names

Following are the nick names of Alaska:

  • The Last Frontier: Alaska is also known as “The Last Frontier” in account of its distance from the lower 48 states and also due to its rugged landscape and climate.
  • Land of Midnight Sun: Alaska is also known as “The Land of Midnight Sun” because in the Northern part of Alaska, the sun never goes completely below the horizon during the summer season and the sun is visible even during the night time. Thus these parts of Alaska receive 24hours of day light.
  • Seward’s folly or Seward’s icebox:  Alaska was also known as The Seward’s Folly or Seward’s icebox during the period of William Seward who was the secretary of United States who proposed the agreement to purchase Alaska territory from Russia.

Name for Residents

The residents of Alaska are known as “Alaskans”.

State Abbreviation / Postal Code

The Alaska’s abbreviation or the postal code is “AK”

Alaska’s Capital

Juneau is the capital of Alaska and it is situated in the southeast region of Alaska. Juneau was declared as Alaska’s capital on 1906. At present the Alaska’s capital is an office building in downtown Juneau which was originally built in 1931 as the Federal and Territorial building.

Alaska’s Flag

Alaska’s flag is having a dark blue field with eight golden colored stars emblazoned on it. Blue field of the flag represents the sea, the sky, the mountain lakes and Alaska’s wild flower (Forget me not). The eight gold stars emblazoned on the flag represent the Big Dipper and the North Star. The seven stars out of the eight forms part of the constellation Ursa Major or great bear, which symbolizes the strength and the North star represents the future state of Alaska. It was in 1959 that the Alaska adopted the flag for its official use. Alaska’s flag was designed by Benny Benson a 13-years old Alaska native from Chignik who resides at Jesse Lee Home for Children in Seward during a contest to create flag which was held in 1926.He was rewarded with a scholarship of 1,000 dollars and a watch for winning the contest.

Flag of Alaska
Flag of Alaska

State Motto:

“North to the Future” is the Alaska’s motto. This motto was created in 1967, by a Juneau newsman Richard Peter during the period of Alaska’s purchase. This motto aims in representing Alaska as a land of promise, by linking its geographic position with the bright future prospects of the north most state.

Alaska’s National Anthem

Alaska’s National Anthem is known as “Alaska’s Flag” and was written by Marie Drake. Its music composition was done by Elinor Dusunbury. “Alaska’s Flag” was adopted as the Alaska’s official song in 1955, 3rd February.

State Seal:
The state seal of Alaska was introduced in 1910. During his period Alaska was known as a territory and did not achieve its Statehood. The state seal has images which include mountains with rays above it, smelter, fish, seals, ship, train stand, tree, a farmer with his horse, and three shocks of wheat. The rays of light which arise above the mountain symbolizes the northern light, the smelter represents mining, the tree represents Alaska’s forest wealth, the fish and seals shows the importance of fishing and wildlife, the ship represents Alaska’s sea transportation, the train stand denotes the states railroads, the farmer with his horse and three shocks of wheat denotes Alaska’s agriculture.

Official Holidays of Alaska:

  • Seward’s day: Last Monday of march
  • Alaska dayOctober 18

Area:
The total area of Alaska measures about 656,425 square miles. Out of the total area, 570,374 square miles includes the total land area and 86,051 square mile includes the water area.

Bordering Water Bodies:
The Alaska is surrounded by water bodies. To the western side lies Bering Sea, to the southern side lies the Gulf of Alaska and Pacific Ocean and to the northern side lies the Arctic Ocean.

Number of Boroughs or Countries: 27 countries

Bordering Country: Canada

Total Population: 626,932 as per 2000 census report

Major Rivers: Yukon River, Copper River, Kushkokwim River, Colville River.

Major Lakes: Aleknagik Lake, Clark Lake, Iliamna Lake, Becharof Lake, Minchumina Lake.

Largest City: Anchorage

Major Industry: Petroleum or oil industry

State Mineral: Gold

State Soil: Estelle

State Gem: Jade

State Flower: Forget-me-not (genus Myosotis)

State Tree: Sitka spruce (Picea sitchenensis)

State Fish: Giant king Salmon ( Onchorhyncus tshawytscha)

State Bird: Willow ptarmigan (Lagopus lagopus)

State Insect: Four spot skimmer dragon fly

State Land mammal: Moose (Alces alces)

State Marine mammal: Bowhead whale (Balaena mysticetus)

State Fossil: Wooly mammoth

State Sport: Dog mushing


Alaska Travel Guide