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The Alaska Portal

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Alaska (IPA: /əˈlæs.kə/, Russian: Аляска (Alyaska) is an exclave and a state of the United States of America located west of Canada in the extreme northwest portion of North America. A state of superlatives, it has the largest area, the highest mountain and greatest difference in elevation, the most extensive wilderness, and the most lakes, shoreline, and wetlands of any state. Conversely, it has the lowest population density.

The Secretary of the Interior purchased from the Czar of Russia its interest in the area that became Alaska on October 18, 1867, for $7,200,000 in gold bullion. The land went through several administrative changes before becoming an organized territory in 1912. Alaska became the 49th state of the United States on January 3, 1959.

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The History of Alaska dates back to the end of the Upper Paleolithic Period (around 12,000 BC), when Asiatic groups crossed the Bering Land Bridge into what is now western Alaska. At the time of European contact by the Russian explorers, the area was populated by Alaska Native groups. The name "Alaska" derives from the Aleut word alaxsxaq, meaning "mainland" (literally, "the object toward which the action of the sea is directed").

The first European contact with Alaska occurred in the 1741, when Vitus Bering led an expedition for the Russian Navy aboard the St. Peter. After his crew returned to Russia bearing sea otter pelts judged to be the finest fur in the world, small associations of fur traders began to sail from the shores of Siberia towards the Aleutian islands. The first permanent European settlement was founded in 1784, and the Russian-America Company carried out expanded colonization program during the early to mid-1800s. Despite these efforts, the Russians never fully colonized Alaska, and the colony was never very profitable. William H. Seward, the U.S. Secretary of State, engineered the Alaskan purchase in 1867 for $7.2 million.

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Ted Stephens is found guilty ... & Ted Stephens loses seat.

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Russian Orthodox church in present-day Sitka.
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