Q. Brittany, Cat, Chris G. and Mike all asked similar questions, so I’ll answer you all at once. They would like to know things like when was it discovered, when was the American acquisition, who did we buy it from, and why didn’t Canada want it?
A. The most recent migration of peoples from Siberia, coming across the land bridge that existed between Russia and Alaska at that time, was about 6,000 yrs ago. Which doesn’t sound very ‘recent’ eh? More recently, it went something like this:
1725 Peter the Great sent Vitus Bering to explore the North Pacific.
1741 On a later expedition, from the decks of two separate ships, Vitus Bering and Alexei Chirikov sight Alaska. A man named
Georg Steller came ashore, becoming the first European to set foot on Alaskan soil.
1743 The Russians begin hunting sea otters and continue until the species is almost decimated.
1772 – 1798 Russia establishes several settlements and outposts and continues harvesting of Alaska’s fur and other treasures.
1799 – Alexander Baranov establishes a trade post known today as Old Sitka and enters into an agreement with the Americans
called the Russian-American Trade Agreement. They prohibited other nations trading in Alaskan waters allowing only
During early 1800’s, the Russian exploration of the territory continued. Americans became more prominent in developing the country.
1845 A missionary school opened at Sitka offering the study of Aleut, Tlingit and Eskimo languages, medicine and Latin.
1867 Under President Andrew Johnson, the United States buys Alaska from Russia for $7.2 million. The U. S. Army is given
jurisdiction over what was then called the Department of Alaska.
Gold was discovered near Sitka in 1872; and the Klondike Gold Rush began in 1897 – 1900. 1906 was the peak year for gold production.
1912 Brought territorial status for Alaska.
1914 President Woodrow Wilson authorized construction of the Alaska Railroad. In 1923 President Warren Harding drove the
spike commemorating the completion of the railroad.
In 1916 the first bill was introduced into congress proposing Alaska statehood.
1940 Brought big buildup of the military with the establishment of Fort Richardson and Elmendorf Air Force Base.
A statehood act was finally passed by congress and we officially became a state on January 3, 1959, I am thinking that Dwight David Eisenhower was president then.
As to why Canada didn’t want Alaska, I don’t know for sure, but I’m betting that it wasn’t even considered – on either side. The Americans were partners with the Russians from the ‘git-go’ in fur trading, exploration, etc. so it would be natural to make the sale between those two.
Hope this answers your questions guys. If not, write again and I’ll try and ferret out more info for you. -BJ