Alaska Facts and History

Abbreviated as AK on, the Alaska, formerly the territory of the USA, became the 49th state of the Union with 3 January 1959 (see below). With an area of ​​1,518,717 km 2 (including inland waters), the Alaska is by far the largest state in the Union (more than double that of Texas), but the least populated: the last census (1950) will number 128,643 residents (including the military), of which 92,808 Whites, 14,089 Indians, 15,882 Eskimos and 3892 Aleuts. In 1958 the population was estimated at 212,000, of which about 45,000 were soldiers. The increase, very weak or nil between 1900 and 1930, subsequently showed an increasingly accelerated pace, especially in the decade from 1940 (72,524 residents) To 1950.

The legislative bodies of the new state are a Senate of 20 members and a House of Representatives of 40; there. he then sends two senators and a representative to Congress. The seat of government is Juneau with about 6000 inhabitants, but the most populous city is Anchorage (v.) With 30,000 inhabitants (including the suburbs); followed by Fairbanks (about 10,000 residents), Ketchikan (5,500 residents), Seward, Sitka, Nome.

Given the climate conditions, agriculture is of little importance: the land susceptible to cultivation (11%) is calculated at approximately 170,000 km 2 and grazing land at 80,000 km 2. In 1954 there were about 400 active farms, almost all of modest size. The zootechnical patrimony is also very modest; very widespread is the breeding of fur animals which await 25 farms (especially silver foxes). Over the last few years, reindeer breeding has grown considerably.

The forests and their products are of greater importance (a large plant for the production of wood pulp has been operating in Ketchikan since 1954); fishing, especially salmon, which has been declining for some years, and finally the resources of the subsoil. Gold production is actually rather on the decline; no new prospects have opened up for silver, copper and tin. On the other hand, some can be seen for oil: the Umiat field, discovered in 1951, was joined by those on the Swanson river and on the Kenai peninsula (1957); crude oil is sent to California refineries.

Communications have made great progress in recent years.

Indeed, rail traffic is modest (railway from Skagway to Whitehorse in Canada, 180km; and from Seward to Fairbanks with some branches) and is only for internal transport. Traffic with foreign countries is almost entirely maritime: the ports of my greatest movement are Anchorage and Ketchikan, whence regular lines, following a route open to navigation all year round, which winds through the channels of the Alexander archipelago, the connection with Seattle and other ports in the Pacific. The Alaska road, built during the war (1942) for strategic purposes, now open to normal communications, runs for 2445 km from Fairbanks to Dawson Creek in British Columbia, where it connects to the Canadian network; most of the route lies within the borders of Canada, but in the Alascan territory several branches reach the sea ports. The tourist movement from Canada and the USA is also on this path today

Air communications are also very extensive: Anchorage is the best equipped airport, but there are over 350 airplanes and over 70 hydroplane bases in the Alascan territory. The movement of passengers is therefore currently carried out by air; but the very large number of bases is also due to the strategic importance assumed by the Alaska, which with the Aleutian islands (see) constitutes an outpost towards northern Asia.

At the. in addition to the Aleutians, the islands of the Bering Sea belong, namely: the Pribilovs (S. Paolo, S. Giorgio and other minor ones) constituting a reserve for sea lions, reindeer and silver foxes; S. Matteo, uninhabited, used as an oasis for birds; S. Lorenzo, the largest, which is only 85 km from the Siberian coast, inhabited by Eskimo reindeer herders (airport), and finally the island called Little Diomede in the Bering Strait (the Great Diomede is Siberian).

History. – The rapid development of the territory of the Alaska a fundamental strategic functions for the defense of the North-Western Hemisphere, which emerged already during the Second World War following the Japanese occupation of the Aleutians, was accentuated to face a possible Soviet aggression against the USA and Canada. The military equipment of the Alaska and the prospects of economic development, connected to the same military equipment and even more to the discovery of oil fields, strengthened the attempts, constantly made by the Alascan exponents since 1916, to raise the territory to the rank of State of the North American Union.

From 1947 onwards, every American Congress had in its agenda a bill for the creation of the state of the Alaska, but the hostilities managed to make the project lapse each time with the expiry of the congressional legislatures: the elevation of the Alaska he State was displeased for fear of its financial passivity and hampered by the resistance of Southern parliamentarians, who feared the weakening of their blockade in Congress and the confrontation between their racism and the absence of racial discrimination in Alaska.

The Assembly of the Alaska, to accentuate the pressure on the Washington Congress, convened a Convention in 1955, which drafted a Constitution of the aspiring State, following the example of Tennessee; since then the representatives in the Congress were elected in Alaska, even if these elections had no validity. The creation of a kind of fait accompli finally won the congressional resistance: on May 28 and June 30, 1958 respectively the House of Representatives and the Senate approved the law that raised Alaska to the forty-ninth state. Subsequent consultations approved admission to the Confederation as a state, accepted state borders and approved a clause of the law that reserved large areas of the A to the Confederation. national defense is interesting.


According to, Juneau is the capital of the territory of Alaska, located in the south-eastern section, on the northern bank of the Gastineau Channel and dominated by Mount Juneau, in a picturesque position. Juneau was founded in 1880 following the discovery of important gold deposits, which made its fortune. It counted in 1900-1864 residents, Which rose to 4037 in 1930. The center has considerable mining importance and for merchant traffic: the port has important coal reserves and has frequent communications with the other coastal centers of Alaska: regular cabotage lines they operate between Juneau and Sitka, Skagway, and intermediate ports. Juneau is also connected with the other centers by means of submarine cables and wireless telegraphy. The government was transported from Sitka to Juneau in 1906.


City and port of Alaska, located at the western end of the peninsula that separates the two appendages in which the Cook Inlet, a deep inlet on the south coast, forks. Built in the middle of a wilderness as a workers’ camp, it developed thanks to its secure location to become the largest seaport in the state, connected by regular lines to Seattle. A little to the north, in Palmer is a hydroelectric plant created with the Eklutna dam. With the recent suburbs (Mountain View, Fairview, etc.) the town now has about 30,000 inhabitants; it is therefore the most populous in Alaska. A. is connected by rail to Seward and Fairbanks; a rolling road joins the Alaska Highway. Anchorage is also the most efficient airport in Alaska, used by the polar routes (Copenhagen-Tokyo).

Alaska Facts and History

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