Alaska, the largest state in the United States, is also the 4th least populated state in the U.S. But, even with its small population the large state has a rich and interesting history. Alaska has always been populated by Alaska natives but has also been occupied and colonized by European counties and Russia until it was finally purchased by the United States.
There are around 26 different tribes and cultures of Alaskan Natives. Each one of these tribes has its own unique set of customs and history. Each one of these tribes has a different language that is specific to their culture. The Alaskan Natives had learned to develop and thrive off of the sometimes-difficult terrain of Alaska. They named the land alaxsxaq or Alyeska meaning mainland and great land. The Alaskan natives were the only occupiers of the island until the Russians fur traders arrived in the mid-eighteenth century. The Aleut people, from the Aleutian Islands, traded with the Russians mostly for furs. During the Awa’uq Massacre several hundred tribe members at Refuge Rock.
Spain also settled in Nootka Sound in expeditions to Alaska to claim territory over the region. However, Spain withdrew from the North Pacific and transferred all of its claimed territory to the United States. After the transfer the Russian American Company was formed. The charter lasted for 20 years. It was on March 39, 1867 that the U.S. purchased Alaska from Russia for 7.2 million dollars. The state was finally organized into a territory on May 11, 1912. The state became the 49th state of the United States on Jan. 3rd 1959.
Alaska was one of the main territories for the gold rush between the 1890s and early 1910s. The gold rush brought many settlers to Alaska. During this time Norway and Sweden immigrants also notably settled into the southeastern region and began fishing and logging companies.
During World War II, the islands were invaded by Japanese soldiers and were occupied between 1942-43. The U.S. leased areas of Alaska including Fairbanks to ferry Soviet planes and pilots to assist the in fighting the German invasions. These Soviet bases allowed for the growth and population of a few Alaskan cities.
Alaska has since been a landmark for nature and fishing in the United Sates that has a lot to offers its residents as well as tourists. A trip to Alaska is a trip to American and Alaskan native history a like. There are many museums located throughout Alaska that display Alaskan history. On Kodiak Island the Alaskan natives are remembered at the Alutiiq Museum.