Fact # 3 Alaska

The United States purchased Alaska from Russia in 1867 for 7.2 million -that’s less than two cents an acre

National Geographic 5,000 facts (About Everything!)3

This is the 3rd fact about Alaska in the book, 5,000 facts National Geographic, that I picked up when I was out walking Charley Waffle. I’m slowly plowing through all facts to see if they’ve changed much since 2015, 7 years ago. I figure the rate I’m going I’ve got a few years to go. By then I could probably start the whole process again!

Today, on March 30th, 1867 the U.S. bought Alaska for 2 cents an acre, 7.2 million, or $125 million in today’s money. U.S. acquired a huge piece of land that is almost 1/5 of its size, or 2 states of Texas, or 373 million acres. Alaska at that time was called “Russian-American.”

Alaska was inhabited by 2 tribes, the Yupik & Inupiat until Russia gained control of the land from 1732-1867. Although it was briefly profitable for them at first due to the Sea Otter trade, in which the otters were almost wiped out, they started having troubles maintaining the land, and, being economically devastated from the Crimean War, they offered it to the United States. They thought it would off set Russia’s rival in the Pacific, which was Great Britain. They also didn’t want to sell it to Canada, which wasn’t it’s own country then, because it was controlled by its rival, England.

It was known as the “Seward’s Folly” after the U.S. secretary of state, William H Seward. There were disagreements on purchasing the land for many thought it was a frozen wasteland. It is also called Andrew Jackson’s “polar Bear Garden.”

Alaska was basically ignored by the United States for a few decades until the Gold Rush in 1896.

And did the indigenous people have any say in any of this? Not really.

At one point, when Russia did have control they had extended as far as Fort Ross, which is 90 miles from San Francisco! Wow.

That is one of the reasons why United States bought Alaska, for otherwise Russia would be too close for comfort. Even if they didn’t settle there it could have been used as an arms base or nuclear plant site.

Alaska has provided the United States with gold, oil and other natural resources, and in return there is no sales tax in Alaska.

Onward to my next fact about Alaska……








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