Alaska Overview

untamed alaskaAlaska ‘s modern history begins around the year 1741, when Vitus Bering and his Russian compatriots made an exploration of Alaska , across the Bering Strait , moving through the Aleutians , Kodiak Island , and ending in the Inside Passage . These intrepid explorers then established a government in Sitka. The Russians maintained control of these areas until March 30, 1867, when they began work on a treaty with the United States for ownership of the Alaska provinces, which was finalized on October 18 of that same year. What followed in the years after were the incredible gold rush days, when gold-seeking adventurers flocked into the state in astounding amounts, striking in Juneau, the Klondike, Skagway and Fairbanks. Alaska entered into official statehood on January 3, 1959. 

Alaska is the largest state in the U.S., with a total of 570,373 square miles. You could fit the state of Texas almost two and a half times into Alaska, Florida ten times, or Rhode Island five hundred times! The entire expanse of Alaska accounts for roughly twenty percent of the total American surface area. On a world map, Alaska covers fifty-seven degrees; thirty-four minutes of longitude between fifty-two and fifty-four degrees latitude. That is an amazing amount of land! 

Alaska’s geography is an impressive amalgamation of soaring mountains, icy-blue fjords, crystal clear lakes, lush forests, and pristine coastlines, meshed together in perfect symmetry. From the rushing rivers of the Inside Passage to the bubbling Manley Hot Springs, every conceivable type of rugged outdoors setting can be found here. 

Alaska is not only one of America’s most scenic and beautiful places; it is one of the most productive as well. Alaska enjoys a thriving economy, supported by an industrious population. Alaska’s industry includes oil production, commercial and private fishing, mining, tourism, and other endeavors. 

Alaska is usually broken down into its five different regions. The following is a short listing of major cities and sites of interest to be found in each:

  • Interior Alaska: Fairbanks, Fort Yukon, Denali National Park
  • Southcentral: Anchorage, Seward, Kenai Fjords and Peninsula
  • Southeast: Juneau, Ketchikan, Misty Fjords Monument and Tongass National Forest
  • Western: Kodiak, Wales, Lake Clark, Katmai National Park
  • Northern: Prudhoe Bay, Barrow, Gates of the Arctic National Park, Kobuk Valley