Alaska History - the history of Alaska
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Vacation 2 USA   >   Alaska   >   History
Vacation 2 USA   >   History   >   Alaska History


Alaska History

Alaska was first populated by humans who came across from Asia via the Bering Land Bridge. It was via this route that most, if not all, of the pre-Columbian population reached the Americas. The Native American population included Inupiaq, Inuit and Yupik Eskimos, and Aleuts.

The first Europeans to reach Alaska came from Russia. Alaska became a Russian colony in 1744, although the first Russian settlement was founded only in 1784. Spanish ships also explored the coast and made some settlements during the 18th century. The names of some Spanish settlements such as Cordova and Valdez survive to this today.

Following the British North America Act of 1867, which created the unified dominion of Canada, U.S. Secretary of State William Seward urged, and the U.S. Senate approved, a treaty purchasing Alaska from Imperial Russia for US$7,200,000. The U.S. took possession of the territory, and raised the American flag on October 18th, 1867, which is still commemorated as "Alaska day". After the purchase, the area was initially called the Department of Alaska. Between 1884 and 1912, it was called the District of Alaska. Alaska was granted territorial status in 1912.

During World War II, three of the outer Aleutian Islands (Attu, Agattu and Kiska) were occupied by Japanese troops. This was the only area within the current borders of the United States to have been occupied by enemy forces during the war.

On January 3rd, 1959, Alaska became a US state. On March 27th, 1964, a major earthquake, known as the "Good Friday Earthquake" or "Great Alaska Earthquake", hit Alaska killing 131 people, and causing tsunamis which destroyed several towns and villages.

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Alaska: A History

By Claus M. Naske

Naske Claus M
Paperback (520 pages)

Alaska: A History
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  • Alaska A History
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The largest by far of the fifty states, Alaska is also the state of greatest mystery and diversity. And, as Claus-M. Naske and Herman E. Slotnick show in this comprehensive survey, the history of Alaska’s peoples and the development of its economy have matched the diversity of its land- and seascapes.

Alaska: A History begins by examining the region’s geography and the Native peoples who inhabited it for thousands of years before the first Europeans arrived. The Russians claimed northern North America by right of discovery in 1741. During their occupation of “Russian America” the region was little more than an outpost for fur hunters and traders. When the czar sold the territory to the United States in 1867, nobody knew what to do with “Seward’s Folly.”
Mainland America paid little attention to the new acquisition until a rush of gold seekers flooded into the Yukon Territory. In 1906 Congress granted Alaska Territory a voteless delegate and in 1912 gave it a territorial legislature. Not until 1959, however, was Alaska’s long-sought goal of statehood realized. During World War II, Alaska’s place along the great circle route from the United States to Asia firmly established its military importance, which was underscored during the Cold War. The developing military garrison brought federal money and many new residents. Then the discovery of huge oil and natural-gas deposits gave a measure of economic security to the state.
Alaska: A History provides a full chronological survey of the region’s and state’s history, including the precedent-setting Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act of 1971, which compensated Native Americans for their losses; the effect of the oil industry and the trans-Alaska pipeline on the economy; the Exxon Valdez oil spill; and Alaska politics through the early 2000s.

Alaska's History: The People, Land, and Events of the North Country (Alaska Pocket Guide)

By Harry Ritter

Harry Ritter
Paperback (144 pages)

Alaska s History: The People, Land, and Events of the North Country (Alaska Pocket Guide)
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  • Alaska s History The People Land and Events of the North Country
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A lively, take-along account of Alaska's sweeping history made vivid with historical photos and entertaining essays. Topics covered include Native lifestyles before contact with the Europeans; Alexander Baranov and the Russian fur trade; John Muir's visit to Glacier Bay in 1879; the Klondike gold rush stampede; pioneer climbs on Mount McKinley; the exploits of early Alaska Bush pilots; big game hunting in the North Country; Alaska's fisheries, where salmon is king; and today's Native traditions.

A history book that's fun to read, Alaska's History sets forth the Last Frontier's glorious past and challenging present.

History of Alaska

By Hubert Howe Bancroft

CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
Paperback (408 pages)

History of Alaska
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Hubert Howe Bancroft was one of the foremost historians on the history of the American Southwest and Mexico, and in addition to writing comprehensive works on the history of various American states in the region, he also wrote the comprehensive History of Alaska, a comprehensive account of the history of Alaska and its society, from aboriginal inhabitants until the 19th century.

Alaska: Saga of a Bold Land

By Walter R. Borneman

Walter R Borneman
Released: 2004-01-20
Paperback (640 pages)

Alaska: Saga of a Bold Land
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  • Alaska Saga of a Bold Land
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The history of Alaska is filled with stories of new land and new riches -- and ever present are new people with competing views over how the valuable resources should be used: Russians exploiting a fur empire; explorers checking rival advances; prospectors stampeding to the clarion call of "Gold!"; soldiers battling out a decisive chapter in world war; oil wildcatters looking for a different kind of mineral wealth; and always at the core of these disputes is the question of how the land is to be used and by whom.

While some want Alaska to remain static, others are in the vanguard of change. Alaska: Saga of a Bold Land shows that there are no easy answers on either side and that Alaska will always be crossing the next frontier.

Alaska!: Learn about Alaska's beauty, history, gold rush, Alcan Highway, hunting, fishing, tides and Iditarod. (Erickson's Outdoor Adventures)

By Bob Erickson

Bob Erickson
Paperback (248 pages)

Alaska!: Learn about Alaska s beauty, history, gold rush, Alcan Highway, hunting, fishing, tides and Iditarod. (Erickson s Outdoor Adventures)
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Connect with the Author: Website: E-mail: Facebook: From the back cover: On my many trips to Alaska over the past twenty-five years, I looked for books this great state. I found none that gave me the kind of experience of Alaska I sought. So I wrote just the sort of book that gives the reader that broader Alaska experience. One can read about the adventures available in Alaska, the humor of the people, the inventiveness and color of the individuals who gravitate to the state, and the huge, dramatic backdrop of the mountains and glaciers and ocean that define the state as well. From the author: I have an interesting birth date, 3-3-33, and, maybe partially because of that, I’ve led an interesting life. My wife Evie and I have been married fifty-four years and have a son in Arkansas and a daughter in Alaska, where she has lived for thirty-one years. Each of our children have two sons, both just as interested in the outdoors as we are We’ve shared many adventures together. This book includes many of the experiences we’ve encountered in Alaska over the years. We hope to make others’ visit to this fine state more enjoyable and share with our readers the beauty of Alaska. This is my fourth book centered on my love of nature. Published by: Erickson’s Outdoor Adventures P.O. Box 7333 St. Cloud, Minnesota 56302 e-mail:

Alaska: A Visual Tour of America's Great Land

By Bob Devine

Devine Bob
Released: 2014-06-24
Hardcover (352 pages)

Alaska: A Visual Tour of America s Great Land
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  • Alaska A Visual Tour of America s Great Land
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An amazing tour through its history, culture and landscape, Alaska's stunning imagery and informative text makes it the perfect book for those who dream of visiting the 49th state and those who want to celebrate its singular beauty and expansive history.From the lush rainforests of the Inside Passage, to the desolate beauty of the far north, Alaska's natural wonders never cease to enthrall and amaze. Join National Geographic on this spectacular visual journey through seven distinct geographic regions of this amazing state, bringing each region alive through brisk historical narrative and lavish color photography, art, and maps. Whether to learn, to visit, or simply to dream--National Geographic's Alaska provides readers with an incomparable tour.

Alaska: A Novel

By James A. Michener

James A Michener
Released: 2002-11-12
Paperback (1152 pages)

Alaska: A Novel
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  • Alaska
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In this sweeping epic of the northernmost American frontier, James A. Michener guides us through Alaska’s fierce terrain and history, from the long-forgotten past to the bustling present. As his characters struggle for survival, Michener weaves together the exciting high points of Alaska’s story: its brutal origins; the American acquisition; the gold rush; the tremendous growth and exploitation of the salmon industry; the arduous construction of the Alcan Highway, undertaken to defend the territory during World War II. A spellbinding portrait of a human community fighting to establish its place in the world, Alaska traces a bold and majestic saga of the enduring spirit of a land and its people.
Praise for Alaska
“Few will escape the allure of the land and people [Michener] describes. . . . Alaska takes the reader on a journey through one of the bleakest, richest, most foreboding, and highly inviting territories in our Republic, if not the world. . . . The characters that Michener creates are bigger than life.”Los Angeles Times Book Review
“Always the master of exhaustive historical research, Michener tracks the settling of Alaska [in] vividly detailed scenes and well-developed characters.”Boston Herald
“Michener is still, sentence for sentence, writing’s fastest attention grabber.”The New York Times

Thousand-Mile War: World War II in Alaska and the Aleutians (Classic Reprint Series)

By Brian Garfield

University of Alaska Press
Paperback (456 pages)

Thousand-Mile War: World War II in Alaska and the Aleutians (Classic Reprint Series)
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The Thousand-Mile War, a powerful story of the battles of the United States and Japan on the bitter rim of the North Pacific, has been acclaimed as one of the great accounts of World War II. Brian Garfield, a novelist and screenwriter whose works have sold some 20 million copies, was searching for a new subject when he came upon the story of this "forgotten war" in Alaska. He found the history of the brave men who had served in the Aleutians so compelling and so little known that he wrote the first full-length history of the Aleutian campaign, and the book remains a favorite among Alaskans.
The war in the Aleutians was fought in some of the worst climatic conditions on earth for men, ships, and airplanes. The sea was rough, the islands craggy and unwelcoming, and enemy number one was always the weather--the savage wind, fog, and rain of the Aleutian chain. The fog seemed to reach even into the minds of the military commanders on both sides, as they directed men into situations that so often had tragic results. Frustrating, befuddling, and still the subject of debate, the Aleutian campaign nevertheless marked an important turn of the war in favor of the United States.
Now, half a century after the war ended, more of the fog has been lifted. In the updated University of Alaska Press edition, Garfield supplements his original account, which was drawn from statistics, personal interviews, letters, and diaries, with more recently declassified photographs and many more illustrations.

Alaska: A History of the 49th State

By Claus-M Naske

Brand: University of Oklahoma Press
Hardcover (384 pages)

Alaska: A History of the 49th State
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Book by Claus-M Naske, Herman E. Slotnick

One Man's Wilderness: An Alaskan Odyssey

By Sam Keith

Alaska Northwest Books
Paperback (224 pages)

One Man s Wilderness: An Alaskan Odyssey
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This best-selling memoir from Richard Proenneke's journals and with firsthand knowledge of his subject and the setting, Sam Keith has woven a tribute to a man who carved his masterpiece out of the beyond.  To live in a pristine land unchanged by man . . . to roam a wilderness through which few other humans has passed . . . to choose an idyllic site, cut trees by hand, and build a log cabin. . . to be self-sufficient craftsman, making what is needed from materials be not at odds with the world, but content with one's own thoughts, dreams and company.   Thousands have had such dreams, but Richard Proenneke lived them. This book is a moving account of the day-to-day explorations and activities Dick carried out alone....alone in the wilderness...and the constant chain of nature's events that kept him company.

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