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Alaska

Alaska is the most northern state in the United States. The name Alaska is derived from the Aleut alaxsxaq, meaning "the mainland" and from the word alyeska meaning "great land." The state borders two Canadian provinces, the Yukon Territory and British Columbia. About 3 miles of water separate the Alaskan islands from the Russian islands.

Population

Alaska is 48 in population among the 50 states at 683,478. More than 50% of Alaskan residents live in the Anchorage metropolitan areas. It is the lease densely populated state with approximately 1 person per square mile. The northern and western regions of Alaska are primarily populated by Alaska Natives.

Brief History

Alaska was first colonized by Russian fur traders, however, the colony was never very profitable. In 1867, the United States Secretary of State, William H. Seward, negotiated the purchase of Alaska. The gold rush of the 1890s brought thousands of miners to Alaska. Alaska became a state on January 3, 1959. In 1968, oil was discovered and the Trans-Alaska Pipeline was completed in 1977 to lead to an oil boom. 11 million gallons of crude oil was spilled over 1,100 miles when the Exxon Valdez hit a reef in the Prince William Sound. Oil drilling in the Artic National Wildlife Refuge still continues to be a source of contentious debate today between modern developers and conservationists.

State Flag and State Seal

Alaska's state flag shows the Big Dipper and the North Star on a blue background. The Big Dibber, Polaris, is a symbol of strength and the North Star represents Alaska's northern location. The blue background symbolizes the sky, sea, lakes and wildflowers of Alaska.

The seal of Alaska displays symbols representing the Northern Lights, mining, rail and marine transportation, forests and wildlife, and Alaskan agriculture. Around the outside of the seal are the words "The Seal of the State of Alaska."

Alaska Facts

Here are some quick facts on Alaska. If you have any additional facts that you would like to see listed here, feel free to contact us.

 Capital City: Juneau
 Population: 683,478 (Est. 2007)
 Motto: North to the Future
 Nickname: The Last Frontier • Land of the Midnight Sun
 Statehood: January 3, 1959 (49)
 State Bird: Willow Ptarmigan
 State Tree: Sitka Spruce
 State Flower: Forget-Me-Not
 Land Area: 663,268 sq.mi., largest state
 State Song: Alaska's Flag
 Origin of State's Name: From the Aleut word Alyeska, meaning "The Great Land"
 Largest Cities: Anchorage, Fairbanks, Juneau, Sitka, Wasilla

Alaska Weather

Alaska is colder than the other 49 states as it is the most northern state. The Pacific Ocean and the geography of the area play a major role in determining how cold and how much precipitation areas in Alaska get. Alaska has recorded a record low of -80 °F and a record high of 100 °F.

Northern Alaska reaches north of the Arctic Circle with long and very cold winters and short and cool summers. As you may not expect, northern Alaska typically averages less than 10 inches of snow per year.

Western Alaska’s weather is impacted by the Bering Sea and Gulf of Alaska. The climate of this area can vary greatly with parts of the Seward Peninsula receiving less than 10 inches of precipitation. Other areas in this region can receive up to 100 inches of precipitation annually.

The southern panhandle of Alaska is typically the warmest and the wettest with temperatures being milder in the winter and high precipitation during the year. Juneau receives over 50 inches of precipitation and records daily temperatures above the freezing mark during the winter months.

South central Alaska, which contains Anchorage, typically receives more snow but less rain than the southern panhandle. This is mainly due to the area’s location in respect to the coast.

The weather of Alaska’s interior is extreme with summer temperatures in the 90s °F and winter temperatures falling below -60 °F. The area around Fairbanks has recorded some of the coldest and hottest temperatures in Alaska. This area typically gets less than 10 inches of precipitation but whatever snow falls in the winter tends to stay until spring.

Typical High and Low Temperatures For Various Alaska Cities

City Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Anchorage 22/9 26/12 34/18 44/29 55/39 62/47 65/52 63/49 55/41 40/28 28/16 24/11
Barrow -8/-20 -10/-22 -7/-20 6/-7 25/15 40/30 46/34 44/34 35/28 19/10 5/-6 -5/-16
Fairbanks 0/-19 8/-16 25/-3 44/20 61/37 71/48 73/52 66/46 54/35 31/16 11/-7 3/-15
Juneau 31/21 34/24 40/28 48/33 56/40 62/46 64/49 63/48 56/44 47/38 38/29 33/24
Nome 13/-2 14/-2 18/1 27/12 43/31 54/41 59/47 56/45 49/37 34/23 23/11 16/1
Valdez 27/17 30/20 36/24 44/31 53/39 59/45 62/48 61/46 53/41 43/33 33/24 29/20
Temperatures listed are in Fahrenheit
Source: US Travel Weather

Alaska Attractions

There are currently no attractions listed. If you would like to list an attraction such as an amusement park, museum, zoo, state park, etc you will soon be able to submit your information here.

User Submitted Articles for Alaska

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Additional Resources

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