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 residents (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 Frontier Land.”
- Abbreviationfinder.org: Do you know what is the nickname of Alaska? Check this webpage to find the most frequently used initials and abbreviation for the state name of Alaska.
- Countryaah: Alphabetical list of all airports in Alaska. Categorized by size and sorted by city. Also includes three-letter abbreviations for each airport of Alaska.
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 bears occurs 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 residents 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 people.
The largest cities are Anchorage with 294,356 residents, Fairbanks with 99,703 residents and Juneau with 32,094 residents (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 resources.
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 strategic importance.