|Nickname(s)||The Last Frontier, Land of the Midnight Sun, Seward’s Icebox|
|Area||663,268 sq. mi (1,717,856 sq. km)|
|Highest Point||Denali, 20,310 ft (6,190.5 m)|
|Neighboring States||NA (not a part of contiguous US)|
|Number of Counties/ County equivalent||19 Boroughs, 10 Census Areas|
|Date of Entering the Union||January 3, 1959|
|State Anthem||Alaska’s Flag|
|Governor||Mike Dunleavy (Republican)|
|Lieutenant Governor||Kevin Meyer (Republican)|
|U.S. Senators||Lisa Murkowski (Republican), Dan Sullivan (Republican)|
|U.S. House Delegation||1 (Don Young (Republican))|
|GDP (Millions of Dollars)||54734|
|Time Zones||UTC-09:00 (Alaska) Summer (DST):UTC-08:00 (ADT), UTC-10:00 (Hawaii-Aleutian) Summer (DST): UTC-09:00 (HADT)|
Where is Alaska?
Alaska is located in the extreme northwest of the US West Coast or Pacific Coast, just across Asia’s Bering Strait. While Canada’s British Columbia province is located to the east, the territory of Yukon is situated to the southeast. Attu Island is the farthest western part of the state. Chukchi and Beaufort seas (Arctic Ocean’s southern parts) are to the north of this state. The Pacific Ocean is located to the south and southwest direction of this state.
What is the Geography of Alaska?
Alaska is spread across a total area of 665,384 sq. mi (1,723,337 sq. km), out of which 570,641 sq. mi (1,477,953 sq. km) is land area and 94,743 sq. mi (245,383 sq. km) is water area. Over 14.2% of the total area is composed of water areas. In terms of the area,
Alaska is the largest state in the United States and also the 7th largest sub-national division in the world. Around 34,000 miles (55,000 km) of tidal shoreline is present in this state. It doesn’t share its border with another state.
There are six main regions here. They are South Central Alaska (southern coastal region), Southeast Alaska (includes tidewater glaciers and extensive forests), Alaska Interior (characterized by large braided rivers), Southwest Alaska (coastal area bordered by both the Bering Sea and the Pacific Ocean), North Slope (mostly covered by tundra), and Aleutian Islands (includes 14 large volcanic islands and 55 smaller islands).
Some of the principal mountains in this state are Denali, Mount Bona, Mount Foraker, Mount Saint Elias, Mount Blackburn, etc. Major rivers are Yukon River, Kuskokwim River, Porcupine River, and Tanana River.
What is the Climate of Alaska?
There are two types of climatic conditions found in Alaska: the mid-latitude oceanic climate in the south and subarctic oceanic climate in the north. The climatic conditions change drastically as per region and season.
May-to-September is the summer season in this state. May is the driest month of the year, even in the Inside Passage’s temperate rainforest. The average daytime temperature revolves around 70 °F (21 °C) in July and can sometimes also reach 90 °F (32 °C). Generally, the temperature in coastal areas, as well as higher elevations, hardly goes above 65 °F (18 °C). The temperature starts cooling throughout this state during August-September. Cold winter season begins in October and continues till March. While the south-central part gets snow blankets, the temperature in the coastal regions rarely falls below 20 °F (-7 °C) and it remains more or less temperate.
During winter, the temperature can reach below -20 °F (-29 °C), and snow can be seen as early as October. During spring and fall, the days remain warm and nights get cold.
What is the Economy of Alaska?
The total Gross Domestic Product for this state was US$54,734.1 million in 2018, a significant increase from US$49,585.9 million in 2009. This state had a positive balance of trade amounting to US$2,936,911,371, thanks to the total export value of US$4,840,480,086 and total import value of US$1,903,568,715.
The major items exported by this state are seafood, ores, oil and mineral fuels, animal feeds, wood, aircraft, industrial/electrical machinery, etc. The items imported by the state are oil and mineral fuels, industrial/electrical machinery, ores, iron and steel articles, precision instruments, aircraft, motor vehicles and parts, organic chemicals, etc.
Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development’s November 15, 2019 press release shows that the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 6.2% in October 2019. Over 10.9% of the population in Alaska lived in poverty in 2018.
What is the Transportation System of Alaska?
Alaska has a comparatively fewer transportation system than the other states and union territories of the USA. The main roadway out of this state to Canada is the Alaska Highway. Other main highways are Dalton Highway, Denali Highway, Glenn Highway, Haines Highway, Parks Highway, Richardson Highway (north and south segments), Seward Highway, Steese Highway and Sterling Highway (south and north segments). Alaska has a highly developed airway system, and the most important airports are Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport, Fairbanks International Airport and Juneau International Airport. Alaska Railroad starts from Seward and continues till the North Pole. Alaska Marine Highway serves the cities in the Alaska Peninsula, Southcentral Alaska, and Southeast Alaska.
Why is Alaska called the “The Last Frontier”, “Land of the Midnight Sun”, “Seward’s Folly”, or “Seward’s Ice Box”?
The Last Frontier
Alaska got its nickname “The Last Frontier” because of its vast distance away from the other 48 states of the USA to its south. The immense rugged landscape and brutal climate of the 49th state to the union, its vast size (1,420 miles or 2,285 km from north to south and 2,500 miles or 4,023 km from east to west), significant isolation, and mostly unexplored areas are the reasons why this state is called “The Last Frontier”.
Land of the Midnight Sun
Alaska is also called the “Land of the Midnight Sun” because the sun doesn’t completely go below the horizon during summer. Even at midnight, the sun remains visible. In certain parts of this state, daylight remains for round the clock (24-hours). The sun doesn’t set in Barrow for as long as 84 days in a year.
Seward’s Folly or Seward’s Ice Box
US Secretary of State William H. Seward negotiated and convinced the US Congress to release the US$7.2 million fund for buying the Alaska territory, and signed the treaty with Russia for the purchase of Alaska. When he was convincing the US Congress for the final Congressional approval for the purchase, there was a long-drawn, bitter battle for the approval of money.
On March 30, 1867, an agreement was reached, and on October 18, 1867, the Imperial Russian Flag was lowered in Sitka, and the United States’ Stars and Stripes were raised. The final payment of US$7,200,000 was made in the form of a check (issued on August 1, 1868), payable to the then Russian Minister to the USA, Edouard de Stoeckl.
The critics of Seward’s agreement has called it by various satirical and derisive names such as “Seward’s Folly”, “Seward’s Ice Box”, “Icebergia”, “Walrussia”, “Polaria” and even “Johnson’s Polar Bear Garden” (mocking the then US President Andrew Johnson’s decision of giving the go-ahead). That’s how Alaska is also called “Seward’s Folly” and “Seward’s Ice Box”.
What are the Popular Tourist Attractions in Alaska?
Denali National Park, Glacier Bay National Park, Tracy Arm Fjord, Prince William Sound, Kenai Fjords National Park, Alaska Highway, University of Alaska Museum of the North, Mendenhall Glacier, Chugach State Park, Anchorage Museum at Rasmuson Center, Alaska SeaLife Center, Sitka National Historic Park/Totem Park, Alaska Inside Passage, Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park, Dalton Highway, Alaska Native Heritage Center, Wrangell-St. Elias National Park & Preserve, Iditarod National Historic Trail, Seward, Alaska Railroad, etc.