Alaska Becomes a State in 1959

Alaska Becomes a State in 1959

   Alaska is known for its great snowy forest, stunning Northern Lights, and abundant snowfall. The state is the United States’ frozen kingdom, but it was never supposed to be like this. Alaska was once a distant and forgotten territory that did not meet the requirements for statehood. Its journey to become a state would be an arduous one. 

   Russian trappers found Alaska in 1741, only ever using the territory to build a few small towns and cities inhabiting the coastal areas. It took 43 years after the land discovery to establish the first Russian colony on Kodiak Island, Alaska, in 1784.

   The United States was looking to expand its holding and decided to purchase the Alaskan territory in 1867 for $7.2 million, or around the bargain price of two cents an acre. However, it would not be until the discovery of gold in 1898 that there would be a population boom. Many people, trying to create their fortune, moved to Alaska seeking wealth. 

   Despite the population boom in the ’90s, the territory still did not meet the population requirements to be considered a state and was viewed more as an independent territory. Another factor that caused the likelihood of statehood to diminish was the Japanese invasion of the Aleutian Islands during World War II. Many people moved out of Alaska in hopes to avoid the potential capture. A combined force of both Canadian and American forces was able to push the Japanese off the Islands in December. 

   The national view of Alaska was less than optimal. It was viewed as nothing but a frozen and barren wasteland. There was no pull for anyone to go to Alaska. However, the discovery of oil changed everything. It went from one of the poorest territories to one of the most wealthy. There was another population boom, and the national view of the land changed entirely. Americans began to view it as a valuable asset to the Union. Over time, Alaska would inch closer and closer to statehood. It had to meet several requirements in population size and density, along with overall support to join. Alaska would finally become a state on the 3rd of January, 1959, when President Eisenhower signed a proclamation making Alaska the 49th state in the Union. 

   Today, Alaska has a population of 710,000 people, which is the 3rd smallest in the country. However, Alaska is one of the richest because of the exportation of crude oils and natural gases. After its dreary start as a territory, Alaska and its inhabitants pushed through many challenges to become an official member of the Union. 


Alaska admitted into Union – HISTORY

When Did Alaska Become a State? – WorldAtlas