Alaska is a U. S. state in the northwest extremity of North America, just across the Bering Strait from Asia. The Canadian province of British Columbia and territory of Yukon border the state to the east and southeast, its most extreme western part is Attu Island, it has a maritime border with Russia to the west across the Bering Strait. To the north are the Chukchi and Beaufort seas—southern parts of the Arctic Ocean; the Pacific Ocean lies to southwest. It is the largest U. S. state by the seventh largest subnational division in the world. In addition, it is the most sparsely populated of the 50 United States. Half of Alaska's residents live within the Anchorage metropolitan area. Alaska's economy is dominated by the fishing, natural gas, oil industries, resources which it has in abundance. Military bases and tourism are a significant part of the economy; the United States purchased Alaska from the Russian Empire on March 30, 1867, for 7.2 million U. S. dollars at two cents per acre. The area went through several administrative changes before becoming organized as a territory on May 11, 1912.
It was admitted as the 49th state of the U. S. on January 3, 1959. The name "Alaska" was introduced in the Russian colonial period when it was used to refer to the Alaska Peninsula, it was derived from an Aleut-language idiom. It means object to which the action of the sea is directed. Alaska is the northernmost and westernmost state in the United States and has the most easterly longitude in the United States because the Aleutian Islands extend into the Eastern Hemisphere. Alaska is the only non-contiguous U. S. state on continental North America. It is technically part of the continental U. S. but is sometimes not included in colloquial use. S. called "the Lower 48". The capital city, Juneau, is situated on the mainland of the North American continent but is not connected by road to the rest of the North American highway system; the state is bordered by Yukon and British Columbia in Canada, to the east, the Gulf of Alaska and the Pacific Ocean to the south and southwest, the Bering Sea, Bering Strait, Chukchi Sea to the west and the Arctic Ocean to the north.
Alaska's territorial waters touch Russia's territorial waters in the Bering Strait, as the Russian Big Diomede Island and Alaskan Little Diomede Island are only 3 miles apart. Alaska has a longer coastline than all the other U. S. states combined. Alaska is the largest state in the United States by total area at 663,268 square miles, over twice the size of Texas, the next largest state. Alaska is larger than all but 18 sovereign countries. Counting territorial waters, Alaska is larger than the combined area of the next three largest states: Texas and Montana, it is larger than the combined area of the 22 smallest U. S. states. There are no defined borders demarcating the various regions of Alaska, but there are six accepted regions: The most populous region of Alaska, containing Anchorage, the Matanuska-Susitna Valley and the Kenai Peninsula. Rural unpopulated areas south of the Alaska Range and west of the Wrangell Mountains fall within the definition of South Central, as do the Prince William Sound area and the communities of Cordova and Valdez.
Referred to as the Panhandle or Inside Passage, this is the region of Alaska closest to the rest of the United States. As such, this was where most of the initial non-indigenous settlement occurred in the years following the Alaska Purchase; the region is dominated by the Alexander Archipelago as well as the Tongass National Forest, the largest national forest in the United States. It contains the state capital Juneau, the former capital Sitka, Ketchikan, at one time Alaska's largest city; the Alaska Marine Highway provides a vital surface transportation link throughout the area, as only three communities enjoy direct connections to the contiguous North American road system. Designated in 1963; the Interior is the largest region of Alaska. Fairbanks is the only large city in the region. Denali National Park and Preserve is located here. Denali is the highest mountain in North America. Southwest Alaska is a sparsely inhabited region stretching some 500 miles inland from the Bering Sea. Most of the population lives along the coast.
Kodiak Island is located in Southwest. The massive Yukon–Kuskokwim Delta, one of the largest river deltas in the world, is here. Portions of the Alaska Peninsula are considered part of Southwest, with the remaining portions included with the Aleutian Islands; the North Slope is tundra peppered with small villages. The area is known for its massive reserves of crude oil, contains both the National Petroleum Reserve–Alaska and the Prudhoe Bay Oil Field; the city of Utqiagvik known as Barrow, is the northernmost city in the United States and is located here. The Northwest Arctic area, anchored by Kotzebue and containing the Kobuk River valley, is regarded as being part of this region. However, the respective Inupiat of the No
The Aleutian Islands called the Aleut Islands or Aleutic Islands and known before 1867 as the Catherine Archipelago, are a chain of 14 large volcanic islands and 55 smaller ones belonging to both the U. S. state of Alaska and the Russian federal subject of Kamchatka Krai. They form part of the Aleutian Arc in the Northern Pacific Ocean, occupying an area of 6,821 sq mi and extending about 1,200 mi westward from the Alaska Peninsula toward the Kamchatka Peninsula in Russia, mark a dividing line between the Bering Sea to the north and the Pacific Ocean to the south. Crossing longitude 180°, at which point east and west longitude end, the archipelago contains both the westernmost part of the United States by longitude and the easternmost by longitude; the westernmost U. S. island in real terms, however, is Attu Island. While nearly all the archipelago is part of Alaska and is considered as being in the "Alaskan Bush", at the extreme western end, the small, geologically related Commander Islands belong to Russia.
The islands, with their 57 volcanoes, form the northernmost part of the Pacific Ring of Fire. Physiographically, they are a distinct section of the larger Pacific Border province, which in turn is part of the larger Pacific Mountain System physiographic division; these Islands are most known for the battles and skirmishes that occurred there during the Aleutian Islands Campaign of World War II. It was one of only two attacks on the United States during that war. Motion between the Kula Plate and the North American Plate along the margin of the Bering Shelf ended in the early Eocene; the Aleutian Basin, the ocean floor north of the Aleutian arc, is the remainder of the Kula Plate that got trapped when volcanism and subduction jumped south to its current location at c. 56 Ma. The Aleutian island arc formed in the Early Eocene when the subduction of the Pacific Plate under the North American Plate began; the arc is made of separate blocks. The basement underlying the islands is made of three stratigraphic units: an Eocene layer of volcanic rock, an Oligocene—Miocene layer of marine sedimentary rock, a Pliocene—Quaternary layer of sedimentary and igneous rock.
The islands, known before 1867 as the Catherine Archipelago, comprise five groups the Fox Islands Islands of Four Mountains Andreanof Islands Rat Islands, Near IslandsAll five are located between 51° and 55° N latitude and 172° E and 163° W longitude. The largest islands in the Aleutians are Attu, Unalaska and Unimak in the Fox Islands; the largest of those is Unimak Island, with an area of 1,571.41 mi2, followed by Unalaska Island, the only other Aleutian Island with an area over 1,000 square miles. The axis of the archipelago near the mainland of Alaska has a southwest trend, but at Tanaga Island its direction changes to the northwest; this change of direction corresponds to a curve in the line of volcanic fissures that have contributed their products to the building of the islands. Such curved chains are repeated about the Pacific Ocean in the Kuril Islands, the Japanese chain, in the Philippines. All these island arcs are at the edge of the Pacific Plate and experience much seismic activity, but are still habitable.
The general elevation is least in the western. The island chain is a western continuation of the Aleutian Range on the mainland; the great majority of the islands bear evident marks of volcanic origin, there are numerous volcanic cones on the north side of the chain, some of them active. The coasts are rocky and surf-worn, the approaches are exceedingly dangerous, the land rising from the coasts to steep, bold mountains; these volcanic islands reach heights of 6,200 feet. Makushin Volcano located on Unalaska Island, is not quite visible from within the town of Unalaska, though the steam rising from its cone is visible on a clear day. Residents of Unalaska need only to climb one of the smaller hills in the area, such as Pyramid Peak or Mt. Newhall, to get a good look at the snow-covered cone; the volcanic Bogoslof and Fire Islands, which rose from the sea in 1796 and 1883 lie about 30 miles west of Unalaska Bay. In 1906, a new volcanic cone rose between the islets of Bogoslof and Grewingk, near Unalaska, followed by another in 1907.
These cones were nearly demolished by an explosive eruption on September 1, 1907. Newly found information in 2017, the volcanic cone erupted sending ash and ice particles 30,000 feet in the air; the Aleutians seen from space The climate of the islands is oceanic, with moderate and uniform temperatures and heavy rainfall. Fogs are constant. Summer weather is much cooler than Southeast Alaska, but the winter temperature of the islands and of the Alaska Panhandle is nearly the same. According to the Köppen climate classification system, the area southwest of 53.5°N 167.0°W / 53.5.
Anchorage is a unified home rule municipality in the U. S. state of Alaska. With an estimated 298,192 residents in 2016, it is Alaska's most populous city and contains more than 40 percent of the state's total population. All together, the Anchorage metropolitan area, which combines Anchorage with the neighboring Matanuska-Susitna Borough, had a population of 401,635 in 2016, which accounts for more than half of the state's population. At 1,706 square miles of land area, the city is the fourth largest city by land in the United States and larger than the smallest state, Rhode Island, at 1,212 square miles. Anchorage is in the south-central portion of Alaska, at the terminus of the Cook Inlet, on a peninsula formed by the Knik Arm to the north and the Turnagain Arm to the south; the city limits span 1,961.1 square miles which encompass the urban core, a joint military base, several outlying communities and all of Chugach State Park. Due to its location equidistant from New York City and Tokyo, Anchorage lies within 9 1⁄2 hours by air of nearly 90% of the industrialized world.
For this reason, the Anchorage International Airport is a common refueling stop for many international cargo flights and home to a major FedEx hub, which the company calls a "critical part" of its global network of services. Anchorage has won the All-America City Award four times: in 1956, 1965, 1984–85, 2002, by the National Civic League, it has been named by Kiplinger as the most tax-friendly city in the United States. Russian presence in south-central Alaska was well-established in the 19th century. In 1867, U. S. Secretary of State William H. Seward brokered a deal to purchase Alaska from Imperial Russia for $7.2 million, or about two cents an acre. His political rivals lampooned the deal as "Seward's folly," "Seward's icebox," and "Walrussia." In 1888, gold was discovered along Turnagain Arm. Alaska became an organized incorporated United States territory in 1912. Anchorage, unlike every other large town in Alaska south of the Brooks Range, was neither a fishing nor mining camp; the area surrounding Anchorage lacks significant economic metal minerals.
A number of Dena'ina settlements existed along Knik Arm for years. By 1911 the families of J. D. "Bud" Whitney and Jim St. Clair lived at the mouth of Ship Creek and were joined there by a young forest ranger, Jack Brown, his bride, Nellie, in 1912; the city grew from its happenstance choice as the site, in 1914, under the direction of Frederick Mears, of a railroad-construction port for the Alaska Engineering Commission. The area near the mouth of Ship Creek, where the railroad headquarters was located became a tent city. A townsite was mapped out on higher ground to the south of the tent city noted in the years since for its order and rigidity compared with other Alaska town sites. In 1915, territorial governor John Franklin Alexander Strong encouraged residents to change the city's name to one that had "more significance and local associations". In the summer of that year, residents held a vote to change the city's name. However, the territorial government declined to change the city's name.
Anchorage was incorporated on November 23, 1920. Construction of the Alaska Railroad continued until its completion in 1923; the city's economy in the 1920s and 1930s centered on the railroad. Col. Otto F. Ohlson, the Swedish-born general manager of the railroad for nearly two decades, became a symbol of residents' contempt due to the firm control he maintained over the railroad's affairs, which by extension became control over economic and other aspects of life in Alaska. Between the 1930s and the 1950s, the city experienced massive growth as air transportation and the military became important. Aviation operations in Anchorage commenced along the firebreak south of town, which residents used as a golf course. An increase in air traffic led to clearing of a site directly east of town site boundaries starting in 1929. However, Merrill Field still sees a significant amount of general aviation traffic. Elmendorf Air Force Base and Fort Richardson were constructed in the 1940s, served as the city's primary economic engine until the 1968 Prudhoe Bay discovery shifted the thrust of the economy toward the oil industry.
The 2005 Base Realignment and Closure process led to the combining of the two bases to form Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson. On March 27, 1964, the magnitude 9.2 Good Friday earthquake hit Anchorage, killing 115 people and causing $116 million in damages. The earth-shaking event lasted nearly five minutes, it was the world's second-largest earthquake in recorded history. Rebuilding dominated the remainder of the 1960s. In 1968, ARCO discovered oil in Prudhoe Bay on the Alaska North Slope, the resulting oil boom spurred further growth in Anchorage. In 1975, the City of Anchorage and the Greater Anchorage Area Borough merged into the geographically larger Municipality of Anchorage The city continued to grow in the 1980s, capital projects and an aggressive beautification campaign took place. During this time Anchorage became known as the "Gree
The United States of America known as the United States or America, is a country composed of 50 states, a federal district, five major self-governing territories, various possessions. At 3.8 million square miles, the United States is the world's third or fourth largest country by total area and is smaller than the entire continent of Europe's 3.9 million square miles. With a population of over 327 million people, the U. S. is the third most populous country. The capital is Washington, D. C. and the largest city by population is New York City. Forty-eight states and the capital's federal district are contiguous in North America between Canada and Mexico; the State of Alaska is in the northwest corner of North America, bordered by Canada to the east and across the Bering Strait from Russia to the west. The State of Hawaii is an archipelago in the mid-Pacific Ocean; the U. S. territories are scattered about the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, stretching across nine official time zones. The diverse geography and wildlife of the United States make it one of the world's 17 megadiverse countries.
Paleo-Indians migrated from Siberia to the North American mainland at least 12,000 years ago. European colonization began in the 16th century; the United States emerged from the thirteen British colonies established along the East Coast. Numerous disputes between Great Britain and the colonies following the French and Indian War led to the American Revolution, which began in 1775, the subsequent Declaration of Independence in 1776; the war ended in 1783 with the United States becoming the first country to gain independence from a European power. The current constitution was adopted in 1788, with the first ten amendments, collectively named the Bill of Rights, being ratified in 1791 to guarantee many fundamental civil liberties; the United States embarked on a vigorous expansion across North America throughout the 19th century, acquiring new territories, displacing Native American tribes, admitting new states until it spanned the continent by 1848. During the second half of the 19th century, the Civil War led to the abolition of slavery.
By the end of the century, the United States had extended into the Pacific Ocean, its economy, driven in large part by the Industrial Revolution, began to soar. The Spanish–American War and World War I confirmed the country's status as a global military power; the United States emerged from World War II as a global superpower, the first country to develop nuclear weapons, the only country to use them in warfare, a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council. Sweeping civil rights legislation, notably the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and the Fair Housing Act of 1968, outlawed discrimination based on race or color. During the Cold War, the United States and the Soviet Union competed in the Space Race, culminating with the 1969 U. S. Moon landing; the end of the Cold War and the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 left the United States as the world's sole superpower. The United States is the world's oldest surviving federation, it is a representative democracy.
The United States is a founding member of the United Nations, World Bank, International Monetary Fund, Organization of American States, other international organizations. The United States is a developed country, with the world's largest economy by nominal GDP and second-largest economy by PPP, accounting for a quarter of global GDP; the U. S. economy is post-industrial, characterized by the dominance of services and knowledge-based activities, although the manufacturing sector remains the second-largest in the world. The United States is the world's largest importer and the second largest exporter of goods, by value. Although its population is only 4.3% of the world total, the U. S. holds 31% of the total wealth in the world, the largest share of global wealth concentrated in a single country. Despite wide income and wealth disparities, the United States continues to rank high in measures of socioeconomic performance, including average wage, human development, per capita GDP, worker productivity.
The United States is the foremost military power in the world, making up a third of global military spending, is a leading political and scientific force internationally. In 1507, the German cartographer Martin Waldseemüller produced a world map on which he named the lands of the Western Hemisphere America in honor of the Italian explorer and cartographer Amerigo Vespucci; the first documentary evidence of the phrase "United States of America" is from a letter dated January 2, 1776, written by Stephen Moylan, Esq. to George Washington's aide-de-camp and Muster-Master General of the Continental Army, Lt. Col. Joseph Reed. Moylan expressed his wish to go "with full and ample powers from the United States of America to Spain" to seek assistance in the revolutionary war effort; the first known publication of the phrase "United States of America" was in an anonymous essay in The Virginia Gazette newspaper in Williamsburg, Virginia, on April 6, 1776. The second draft of the Articles of Confederation, prepared by John Dickinson and completed by June 17, 1776, at the latest, declared "The name of this Confederation shall be the'United States of America'".
The final version of the Articles sent to the states for ratification in late 1777 contains the sentence "The Stile of this Confederacy shall be'The United States of America'". In June 1776, Thomas Jefferson wrote the phrase "UNITED STATES OF AMERICA" in all capitalized letters in the headline of his "original Rough draught" of the Declaration of Independence; this draft of the document did not surface unti