Jun 8, 2009

Alaska

Home of Polar Bears, gold, oil, Eskimos, and Sarah Palin.

  • Outsiders first discovered Alaska in 1741 when danish explorer Vitus Jonassen Bering sighted it on a voyage from Siberia.
  • In spring, the melting dome of an igloo is replaced with a covering of animal skins to form a between-season dwelling called a 'qarmaq'.
  • Alaska has about 640,000 residents.
  • The word 'igloo' comes from the inuit 'iglu', meaning 'house'.
  • Russian whalers and fur traders on Kodiak Island established the first settlement in Alaska in 1784.
  • In 1867 United States Secretary of State William H. Seward offered Russia $7,200,000, or two cents per acre, for Alaska. Remember Sewards Folly from Geography lessons? On October 18, 1867 Alaska officially became the property of the United States.
  • Joe Juneau's 1880 discovery of gold ushered in the gold rush era.
  • In 1943 Japan invaded the Aleutian Islands, which started the One Thousand Mile War.
  • The Alaska Highway was originally built as a military supply road during World War II.
  • Alaska officially became the 49th state on January 3, 1959.
  • Alaska accounts for 25% of the oil produced in the United States.
  • Alaska is the United State's largest state and is over twice the size of Texas (ouch). Measuring from north to south the state is approximately 1,400 miles long and measuring from east to west it is 2,700 miles wide. It covers 570,374 square miles.
  • The state of Rhode Island could fit into Alaska 425 times.
  • The Trans-Alaska Pipeline moves up to 88,000 barrels of oil per hour on its 800 mile journey to Valdez.
  • Dog mushing is the official state sport.