Alaska was first explored by the Russian Seme Dezhnec, in 1648, and by Mikhail Gvodzev, in 1730. However, it was the expedition of the Danish sailor, Vitus Bering, in search of the northwest passage that bears his name, the one that made known the existence of this subcontinent in Europe. Since then, the Spaniards, French, British and Russians organized expeditions to learn about Alaska’s resources. Among those who have explored Alaska and its seas, James Cook, Joseph Billings, Jean Francois of Laperouse, and the Spanish expeditions of Alejandro Malaspina and Juan Francisco de la Bodega y Quadra. The Russians who aimed at the expansion of Siberia, they ended up taking possession of the territory where they established a governor in 1790, Alexander Baranov, who was in charge of organizing economic exploitation, based mainly on the fur trade. Therefore, in 1799 Russia created a state-owned enterprise, the Russian American Company. North American companies, however, began to show a growing interest in Alaska, forged ties with the Russians, planned the construction of a telegraph line in 1860 to link this territory with Russia and the United States, and organized scientific expeditions. The interest of the United States in this territory culminated in 1867 with the acquisition of Alaska for 7.2 million dollars, when Russia’s failure in the Crimean War convinced the Tsar to accept this offer. Undersecretary Seward devised the operation because of Alaska’s strategic importance and resources. In 1880 gold was discovered in the Yukón, this caused the arrival of large masses of miners who settled in Juneau, Nome and Fairbanks. The Klondike gold rush, the name of the largest deposit, lasted until the beginning of the 20th century. arrival of large masses of miners who settled in Juneau, Nome and Fairbanks. The Klondike gold rush, the name of the largest deposit, lasted until the beginning of the 20th century. arrival of large masses of miners who settled in Juneau, Nome and Fairbanks. The Klondike gold rush, the name of the largest deposit, lasted until the beginning of the 20th century.
- See ejiaxing.org for Alaska state facts, including geography, climate, flora and fauna as well as major cities.
During the American period, Alaska was administered primarily by the army, and by the navy, but the arrival of settlers forced the system of its administration to change. In 1884 the president of the United States appointed a governor, and in 1906 he allowed his residents to vote for a representative in the United States Congress. In 1912 the city Juneau was named capital and it was determined that Alaska became a territory, dependent on the United States, but with its own government and congress.
The United States during the first decades of the 20th century improved communications, (mainly to connect Alaska with the rest of the United States by rail), and promoted the colonization of the Matanuska Valley. However, it was World War II and the Aleutian naval battles with Japan that changed course in US policy towards Alaska. Thus, in 1942, a road was built, (Alcan Highway), to ensure the defense of the territory of Alaska, new military bases and civilian settlements were established. The end of the Second World War and the beginning of the Cold War accelerated the need to integrate this territory into the Union. In 1959, the discovery of important oil fields has allowed Alaska’s enormous economic growth over the last few decades, despite its geographic isolation and harsh living conditions. The cornerstone of its development was the construction in 1974 of the Trans Alaskan Pipeline, a 1,269 km oil pipeline linking Prudhoe Bay with the port of Valdez. But oil has also been the source of disasters, such as the 1989 crash when the supertanker Exxon Valdez ran aground in Alaskan waters and caused an oil spill that has been qualified as one of the greatest ecological disasters in history.
Alaska: what to see
Alaska has more wilderness and unexplored beauty than any other state in the United States. Many gasp in amazement when they see a huge block of ice the size of a building fall from a glacier, a bear or a caribou in one of the many state parks or an orca feeding in the waters off the south coast. -Oriental. It is the ultimate destination for those who like wild and untouched territories. The grandiose beauty of the places, the endless landscapes, the solitude, the wild aspect of nature, today attract new tourists to Alaska.
- See itypemba.com to learn specific information about Anchorage Alaska geography.
Glacer bay offers the fascinating spectacle of huge rivers of ice pouring gigantic icebergs into the sea. The major attraction of Katmai National Park and Preserve, the ash-submerged landscape has retained a lunar aspect. Between Anchorage and Fairbanks, Denali national park covers the highest part of the Alaska range, where the 6,000-meter-high mountains dominate valleys populated by grizzlies, moose, wolves, mouflons and reindeer. Finally, the Wrangell-St. Elias, created to safeguard Arctic fauna and flora.
- See Countryaah.com for a full list of counties in Alaska.
Wildlife parks aren’t Alaska’s only subject of interest. In Juneau, the capital located between the sea and the mountains, you can visit the abandoned gold mine that gave rise to the city and the old Russian church, and the State Museum, which offers a collection of local crafts and artefacts of the ‘Alaska. Skagway carefully maintains the look it had at the time of the gold rush, with its wooden sidewalks, its saloons, its false facades, its inhabitants who organize period costume shows to entertain tourists. Ketchikan, at the southern tip of the Panhandle, has rich collections of Indian totem poles. In Sitka, on an island of the Alexander archipelago, the Orthodox cathedral built in 1848 and burned down in 1966 has been rebuilt identical, like the fort that stands next to the Russian cemetery. In Anchorage, dog sled rides draw crowds in February, and in Fairbanks the Northern Lights are so beautiful that the University of Alaska, which specializes in the study of Arctic problems, is set up there. Finally north of the polar circle, the Eskimo village of Kotzebue allows visitors to learn about the life of the northernmost Americans.
Folklore curiosities and places to visit in Alaskan cities.
The state has interesting museums, such as the Sheldom Jackson, in Sitka, with exhibits on native history and culture, or the Baranof Museum, in Kodiak, dedicated to Russian American society. Archaeological sites include the Ketchikan Totem Heritage Center. In Anchorage there is the Museum of History and Art and the Alaska Zoo.
Cruising along the Gulf of Alaska is one of the fastest growing sectors in the tourism industry. Sport fishing or adventure travel has become very popular in Alaska. Millions of visitors come each year to see the state’s national parks. Denali Park, one of the most famous, is the home of Mount McKinley, the highest peak in North America. Another popular tourist destination is Glacier Bay National Monument.
There are numerous music and theater festivals in Alaska.These festivals promote the representation of local stories and traditions, such as the opera called Cry of the Wild Man, the Russian-born dances of Sitka, or the music of the violinists of the Yukon Valley.
Other types of festivals and traditions are also popular such as dog sled races which take place between Fairbanks and Whitehorse, Canada, and between Nome and Anchorage, the Indio-Eskimo Olympics, or the Russian Kodiak Festival.