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Alaska




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CountryUnited States
Admitted to the UnionJanuary 3, 1959 (49th)
Largest cityAnchorage
Government
 • GovernorBill Walker (I)
 • Upper house{{{Upperhouse}}}
 • Lower house{{{Lowerhouse}}}
U.S. senatorsLisa Murkowski (R)
Mark Begich (D)
U.S. House delegationList
Population
 • Total670,035[1]
 • Density1.2/sq mi (0.45/km2)
 • Median household income
$54,627
 • Income rank
6th
Language
 • Spoken languageEnglish 85.7%, Native North American 5.2%, Spanish 2.9%
Latitude51°20'N to 71°50'N
Longitude130°W to 173°E

Alaska (Listeni/əˈlæskə/) is a state in the United States. It is in the Northwest corner of the continent of North America. Alaska does not touch any other US state. It has borders with Canada, the Arctic Ocean, the Pacific Ocean, and the Bering Strait.

Alaska is the biggest state in the United States. It is the 4th least populated state (there are 3 other states with fewer people living there.) It has the lowest population density of all the states. About half of the population of Alaska lives in the Anchorage metropolitan area. 722,718 people live in Alaska.[2]

The United States bought Alaska from Russia on March 30, 1867. This was called the Alaska Purchase. It cost $7.2 million. Today, that would be $120 million. The price was about $0.02 per acre ($4.74/km2). Alaska became an organized (or incorporated) territory on May 11, 1912. It became the 49th state on January 3, 1959.[3]

The name Alaska comes from the Aleut word alaxsaq. This means "the mainland" or "the object towards which the action of the sea is directed."[4] The land is also called Alyeska, which is another Aleut word that means "the great land." The Russian name was Аляска.

Geography

Map showing how big Alaska is compared to the other states

The capital city is Juneau, but the biggest city is Anchorage. Alaska is the biggest state in the United States, but it almost has the least people. Alaska has almost 20% of all the land in the U.S., but only about 0.2% of the people. It is not connected to any other states by American land, but it is connected to Canada.

Alaska has many glaciers, some of which are can be seen from passing cruise ships. Some are coastal, and others are not by the ocean. It is a popular tourist destination, as there is a very rich culture along with beautiful scenery. There are many wild animals in Alaska. Some of them are the brown bear, the moose, and the wolf.

There are some important industries in Alaska, like oil, fishing, mining, and forestry. Oil is the biggest industry in Alaska. Most of the oil is very far north in the Alaskan arctic. A very long pipeline starts at the northern coast of Alaska and runs to the southern coast. It is over 800 miles long. There were many gold rushes in Alaska.

State symbols

  • State Motto: North to the Future
  • Nicknames: "The Last Frontier" or "Land of the Midnight Sun" or "Seward's Icebox"
  • State bird: Willow Ptarmigan, decided by the Territorial Legislature in 1955. It is a small (15–17 inches) Arctic grouse that lives among willows and on open tundra and muskeg. Feathers are brown in summer, changing to white in winter. The Willow Ptarmigan is common in much of Alaska.
  • State dog: Alaskan Malamute, since 2010.[5]
  • State fish: King Salmon, since 1962.
  • State flower: wild/native Forget-me-not, decided by the Territorial Legislature in 1917.[6] It is a perennial that is found throughout Alaska, from Hyder to the Arctic Coast, and west to the Aleutians.
  • State fossil: Woolly Mammoth, since 1986.
  • State gem: Jade, since 1968.
  • State insect: Four-spot skimmer dragonfly, since 1995.
  • State land mammal: Moose, since 1998.
  • State marine mammal: Bowhead Whale, since 1983.
  • State mineral: Gold, since 1968.
  • State song: "Alaska's Flag"
  • State sport: Dog Mushing, since 1972.
  • State tree: Sitka Spruce, since 1962.

References

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