Alaska

Alaska

Alaska - "Alyeska" - "Big land" - that is how the aborigines of Alaska call their land. This is due to the wideness and the untouched wilderness. Ice-blue glaciers, wild rivers and imposing water falls, forests, fjords and endless Tundra - that is the landscape of Alaska. The fauna has such a great variety like the country itself. There are 8 national parks in the upcountry, reindeers are running through the Tundra and elks through the Taiga and brown bears are fishing salmon in the rivers.

Alaska is the largest state in the United States and is surrounded by Canada in the east, the Gulf of Alaska and the Pacific Ocean in the south, Bering Sea, Bering Strait and Chukchi Sea in the west and the Arctic Ocean in the North. As of 2007, Alaska remains the least densely populated state.

On March 30, 1867, the U.S. Senate purchased Alaska from the Russian Empire for approx. 7.2 million $. Alaska became an organized territory on May 11, 1912 and was announced as the 49th state of the U.S. in January 1959.

The first people moved across the Bering Land Bridge into northwestern Alaska more than 20.000 years ago while the first Europeans arrived about 260 years ago. Alaska's history and culture are marked by different branches: fishing, gold, oil booms, timber etc. And with each boom, different people settled down.

In 1964 several villages and more than 100 people were killed by a massive earthquake, which was the second most powerful earthquake in the history of the world. Luckily, the epicentre was in an area which was mostly unpopulated - otherwise many more would have been killed.

Only 15 percent of the state's population are natives (originally from Alaska) and they maintain many of their traditions like whaling, subsistence hunting and fishing. There are many small villages where the people still live in a traditional way and where native heritage history and culture can be found.

Thousands of people move to and from Alaska each year, and the sports which can be done in Alaska are not as hard as many people think. In a lot of ways, Alaska is like the rest of the nation - just farther north and harder to get to.

Find out more information about Alaska: www.travelalaska.com

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