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When Did Alaska Become a State?

Considered as the largest state in the U.S. when it comes to area, Alaska is officially recognized the 49th state of the country. It is located at the northwestern region of the continent of North America. At the east of Alaska, travelers can find Canada, while at the west as well as south is the Pacific Ocean. More than half of the state’s population lives at the Anchorage, an urbanized metropolitan area. Below are some of the historical events that can help individuals who want to know when did Alaska become a state. Other important details related to the discovery and recognition of the place as a U.S. state are also discussed.

History of Alaska

When did Alaska become a state? Alaska was formally recognized by the U.S. as one of its states on the third day of January in 1959. To know more about the history of the place, it is best to look at the important events that happened in the state from the 1700s to the 1900s.

Russian explorer Vitus Bering is the first European who found the state. An expedition to Alaska that was led by Bering happened in 1741. Because of the expedition, the Russians found the place to be rich in sea otter pelts, which were considered as the finest fur at this time. After 43 years, the Russians established a community in Alaska and a colonization program was initiated by Russian-American Company. The program was implemented until the mid 1800s, however, trading between Russians and Americans did not succeed. The Russians lost interest in colonizing the state and because of this, U.S. Secretary of State William H. Seward initiated the purchase of Alaska for $7.2 million in 1867.

Miners resided in the area in the 1890s due to gold rushes. An increased in the number of immigrants in Alaska was observed during this time. In 1912, the place received official territorial status from the U.S. Congress. When the Second World War occurred, the area became an important military base. Many officials and members of the U.S. Army Air Corps and Navy submariners stayed at the place until the early 1950s.

Because of the continuing population growth in the area, the statehood of Alaska was proposed in the mid 1950s. In 1958, the proposal was approved and a year after, Alaska was proclaimed as the U.S. 49th state. Other important historical events in the state in the late 1900s are the Trans-Alaska Pipeline’s construction in 1977 and the oil boom in the late 1980s.

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