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Alaska is a state of the United States and encompasses North
America's northwest peninsula.
Alaska, with a total area of approximately 1,723,337 square miles, is the
largest state in the United States. It has 739,795 inhabitants (US Census,
2017), and was listed as the number 49 state in the United States on January 3,
1959. The capital is Juneau, and the largest city is Anchorage.
Alaska is also referred to as Land of the Midnight Sun, "The Land
of the Midnight Sun,"or The Last Frontier, "The Last
Alaska borders the Pacific Ocean in the south, the Bering Sea and the 90
kilometer wide Bering Strait in the west and the Arctic Ocean (Beaufort Sea) in
the north. The border with Canada to the east follows 141 ° west longitude from
the Beaufort Sea to Mount St. Elias, less than 100 kilometers from the Pacific
Coast, and then extends into irregular bends south as far as the Dixon
Strait. Southern and southeastern Alaska is a mountain country with rugged
formations carved by numerous fjords. North America's highest mountain
peak, Denali (between 1896 and 2015 called Mount McKinley), reaches 6194 meters
above sea level.
Alaska is located in an earthquake zone with frequent shaking, and has
many volcanoes. The coastal mountains continue to the southwest and west as the
long archipelago of the Aleutians. Behind the coastal mountains, the landscape
alternates between mountainous areas and wide river valleys. The largest river,
the Yukon, originates in Canada and flows west to the Bering Sea. Large areas
are protected, and the largest national park, Wrangell-St. Elias (53,320 square
miles) is also the largest in the United States.
Along the Arctic Ocean is an Arctic climate of up to 200 kilometers wide. The
interior of Alaska has a distinct inland climate with a short, hot summer and
long, cold winter, with temperatures down to −60 °C. The average for July can be
above 15 °C and for January below -35 °C. Here is the tele in the ground year
round. The south coast has a humid climate with an annual rainfall of over 2000
millimeters, relatively mild winters and cool summers. The Aleutians have an
extreme sea climate with small temperature variations and a lot of rain and fog.
The vegetation is characterized on the south coast by large coniferous
forests with sitkagran and hemlock as the dominant tree species. Grass
vegetation is rich and evergreen, and even on the Aleut, the cattle can graze
outside all year. In the north there is tundra vegetation with marsh, low and
dwarf birch, continuous forest areas missing.
Moose, thin-horned sausage and reindeer (caribou) are widely
distributed; Bison, deer and snow goats are also available. Of
predators, yawns, red foxes, mountain
foxes, wolves, prairie wolves, wolverines and many other marshmallows are widely
distributed. Black bears and brown bears (grizzly bears) are found throughout
much of Alaska. The Kodiak bear is found on some islands and on the Alaska
Peninsula, while polar bearsoccurs along the coast to the north. Bird life is
rich, with many cormorants, ducks, waders, seagulls and ales, among
others. Alaska has a large population of the United States national bird,
the white-tailed eagle.
The population has increased sharply since World War II. There were about
90,000 inhabitants in 1945, 129,000 in 1950, 300,000 in 1970 and 550,000 in
1990. In the summer season there is a considerable influx of fishermen and other
seasonal workers, many of them Norwegian. The population consists of about 67
percent white and about 15 percent are Inuit, Aleutian and other indigenous
The largest cities are Anchorage with 294,356 inhabitants, Fairbanks with
99,703 inhabitants and Juneau with 32,094 inhabitants (US Census,
2017). Anchorage has international airport and major military facilities.
Alaska sends two senators and one representative to Congress.
At Prudhoe Bay on Alaska's north coast, the pipeline that carries crude oil
begins throughout Alaska. The image is taken from the paper lexicon Store
Norwegian Lexicon, published 2005-2007.
Alaska's economy has become increasingly dependent on oil and gas
revenues. In the late 1960s, unusually rich discoveries were made on the
northern slope of the Brooks Range all the way north in the state. The
construction of the Trans-Alaska Pipeline from 1974 to 1977, which transports
the oil to the Valdez shipping port east of Anchorage, has made Alaska the third
largest oil producer in the US after Texas and North Dakota, with around 1.8
million barrels of oil produced in 2017.
The Cook and Inlet oil and gas fields form the basis for
a petrochemical industry in and around Anchorage. The gold, which created the
gold rush of the 1890s, has declined in importance, but gold and silver are
still the most valuable minerals. Coals of varying quality are found throughout
Alaska, with the most important deposits near Fairbanks. Other important
minerals are sand, gravel, lead, zinc and mercury, while iron ore clays in the
southeast are under development.
The rivers and the adjacent marine areas are fishy and form the basis for a
rich fishery and a large fish processing industry. Salmon, halibut, herring, cod
and shellfish are frozen or canned. Alaska is the largest fish producer in the
United States. The seal tribe in the Pribylov Islands is federal property, and
the authorities control the taxation of the harness.
The forests provide a raw material basis for a growing wood processing
industry. The largest agricultural area is located north of Anchorage in the
Matanuskadalen. Eggs, dairy products, potatoes, lettuce and cabbage are grown
for local consumption. Large grassy areas near the Gulf of Alaska are beneficial
for animal husbandry.
Transport and Communications
90 percent of all goods to and from Alaska are shipped by sea to Seattle and
other Pacific Coast cities. When it comes to passenger transport, however, it is
the aircraft that is the main means of transport, and dozens of US airlines have
routes in the state. Anchorage is located on the route across the North Pole to
Europe and Japan. In 2015, Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport (TSAIA)
was the world's fourth busiest airport for freight transport, only bypassed
by Hong Kong, Memphis and Shanghai.
There are two railways, from Seward to Fairbanks and from Skagway
to Whitehorse in Canada. Road connection with the rest of the US by the Alaskan
road and ferry ("Marine Highway") between Prince Rupert in British Columbia and
Juneau, Haines and Skagway. A year-round coastal route runs between southeast
Alaska and Seattle. Many of the rivers in the north are navigable, but neither
Yukon nor Kuskokwim are any major traffic arteries.
Alaska was originally inhabited by Aleutians, Inuit and other American
Indigenous peoples. The Tlingit people lived along the coast in the south and
southeast, the Aleut people on the Aleut and Alaska Peninsula, and the Eskimos
along the coast of the Bering Sea and the North Sea.
Around the year 1700, Russians in eastern Siberia knew that there was a large
mainland east of Siberia. Vitus Bering, a Danish naval officer in Russian
service, found the Bering Strait in 1728 and sent people ashore in Alaska in
1741. A lively trade in otter skins began. In 1748, the Russians founded
a colony near Kodiak. Here was the headquarters of the Russian-American company,
which Tsar Paul 1 had organized, before it was moved to Sitka in 1799. This
company had a commercial monopoly.
At the beginning of the 19th century, Russian, British and American leather
traders fought for their rights, and in 1824 the Russians gave all parties equal
rights. But the otter was almost extinct, and Russia's problems became great
after the Crimean War in 1853–1856, so the Russian authorities lost much of
their interest in the area.
In 1867, despite the reluctance of the American people, the United
States purchased Alaska for $ 7.2 million. Initially, Alaska was provisionally
ruled, but in 1906 a non-voting delegate was elected to Congress. In 1912 the
Territory of Alaska was organized. In 1946, the population voted for state
status, and in 1959 Alaska became the 49th state of the United States.
From 1861 gold discoveries were made in Alaska. In 1896, the great gold rush
started at Klondike, where over 100,000 people must have
participated. Eventually, the eyes were opened to the area's rich natural
In 1977, the 1,300-kilometer Trans-Alaska Pipeline System (TAPS) pipeline
was completed, and oil production has since been a very strong element of
Alaska's economy and business. The environmental disaster with the oil
tanker Exxon Valdez in Prince William Strait happened in 1989.
After Japanese attacks on islands off Alaska during World War II, Americans
began to build large airports, and during the Cold War Alaska had great military