Alaska lies on the northwestern edge of Canada. But is Alaska in Canada? Is it in the USA, or is it a different country altogether? It is a common question and a surprising answer until you understand the history.
Alaska is not in Canada but a part of the United States. The area was sold to the United States from Russia for $7.2 million in 1867. Alaska remained almost unchanged until 1912, when it was designated administrative territory. Finally, Alaska was proclaimed as a state of the USA in 1959.
When you look at Alaska’s geography, it is unsurprising that its sovereignty confuses people. Read on to discover how Alaska became part of the USA and why Russia refused to sell to Canada.
Is Alaska In Canada?
You could be forgiven for thinking that Alaska is part of Canada. It is located on the northwestern edge of Canada and has land borders with the Canadian province of British Columbia and the Canadian territory of Yukon.
Alaska is a state of the USA, despite being separated from the rest of the country by more than 4500km. It is one of just two non-contiguous (not connected) US states, the other being Hawaii.
How Did Alaska Become Part Of The USA?
Alaska became part of the USA when it was purchased from Russia in 1867. Few people know that Alaska was once part of Russia, but it isn’t surprising when you realize that the Bering Strait separates the two by just 88km.
Alaska was populated only by Native Alaskans until the 1740s when Russia colonized it. After that, Alaska was known as Russian America and remained part of Russia until it was offered for sale to the USA. At the time, the USA was distracted by its civil war, but the deal was eventually made for USD 7.2 million.
Why Didn’t Canada Buy Alaska?
Alaska’s only land border is with Canada, and the obvious question is, why didn’t Canada buy Alaska? The quick answer is that Canada didn’t buy Alaska because Russia didn’t offer it to them.
There were two reasons for this:
- At the time, Canada still hadn’t been formed as a country; it was still a colony of Great Britain.
- Russia saw the British as rivals and didn’t want to sell to them.
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Why Did Russia Sell Alaska?
There are a few reasons why Russia decided to sell Alaska to the United States.
Firstly, Russia faced many financial difficulties and lacked the resources to support major settlements or a military presence along America’s Pacific coast.
Secondly, Russia was also concerned about its ability to defend Alaska against threats from other powers such as Britain or the United States.
Finally, many Russians felt that Alaska was not part of their country and would be better off under American control.
Overall, the sale of Alaska was a way for Russia to raise money and rid itself of a territory it considered of little value.
What Was Alaska Before It Was A State Of The USA?
After purchasing Alaska in 1867, the USA ignored the region for several decades. The region’s population grew in the early 20th century when the gold rush drew thousands of settlers.
The region was incorporated as a territory in 1912, and its population grew as immigrants came from Norway and Sweden to work in fishing and logging.
The USA officially proclaimed Alaska its 49th state on January 3rd, 1959.
Was Alaska A Good Purchase For The USA?
Alaska was an excellent purchase for the USA, mainly because of its rich natural resources.
Alaska was part of the gold rush in the early 20th century and still mines gold today. However, the most significant discovery was of oil in 1968.
The Trans-Alaska pipeline was completed in 1977, leading to an oil boom in the region. Today around 85% of the state budget is funded by the oil and gas industry.
Other natural resources include lumbar, coal, copper, lead, coal, zinc, and silver. Alaska still mines all of these today.
Alaska’s Strategic Importance
Alaska’s geographical location allows bases easy access to the Arctic and Indo-Pacific regions. The region played essential roles in World War II and the Cold War.
As recently as 2021, the US announced it was increasing its military presence in Alaska due to increased threats from China and Russia.
FAQ – Is Alaska In Canada?
Was Alaska ever part of Canada?
Alaska hasn’t ever been part of Canada. Historically the region was inhabited by Native Alaskans; it then fell under Russian rule in the 1740s before being sold to the USA in 1867.
What languages are spoken in Alaska?
English was the first official language of Alaska; more than 85% speak English as their first language. However, the language act was subsequently amended to add 20 native Alaskan languages, which co-exist with English as an official language.
What is the population of Alaska in 2022?
The population of Alaska in 2022 is around 730,000. According to the United States 2021 census, approximately 65% of the Alaskan people are white, and 15% are American Indian or Alaskan Native. The capital of Anchorage is the largest population centre, with almost 300,000 residents, and Fairbanks is the second largest community, with just over 30,000 people.
What is the largest US state?
Alaska is the largest of the US states of the USA by size, with an area of more than 1.7 million square kilometres. It is bigger than the combined areas of the following three largest US states (Texas, California and Montana). Yet, despite its size, Alaska has a population of only 3/4 of a million, the 4th lowest in the country.
What was the Good Friday earthquake?
On Good Friday in 1964, a massive earthquake struck Alaska. The 9.2-magnitude quake was the most powerful ever recorded in North America, and it caused widespread damage across the state. In addition, tsunamis triggered by the earthquake caused devastation along the Alaska coastline. In all, more than 130 people were killed by the earthquake and its aftermath.
Can you drive from Alaska to America?
You can drive from Alaska to America, but you must pass through Canada, so be sure to take your passport. The distance from Anchorage to Seattle (the closest US city) is around 3600km and will take approximately 42 hours. The good news is that the journey will take you through some of the most beautiful scenery in the world.