Fun Facts – Alaska Day

About Alaska Day

  • Alaska Day is celebrated on 18th October every year.
  • It is a legal holiday in the US State of Alaska and a parade is held in Sitka, Alaska whilst the people have a day off paid holiday.
  • Alaska Day commemorates the anniversary of the transfer of Alaska from being part of Russia to being a part of the USA in 1867.
  • America purchased Alaska from Russia on 30th March 1867 for $7.2million, just 2 cents per acre! This purchase date is celebrated on Sewards Day on the last Monday in March each year. It took until October for the official transfer to happen.
  • On 18th October 1867, 250 US soldiers witnessed the Russian flag being lowered and the US flag being raised. This is re-enacted in Sitka each year.
  • The Russians sold Alaska to America because they were in financial difficulty at that time. Because Alaska was so difficult to defend, Russia was worried that Great Britain (who were aggressively taking over much of Canada at that time) would take the territory easily in a future conflict, with no compensation paid to Russia. They asked both the US and Great Britain whether they would like to purchase Alaska – perhaps hoping they could instigate a bidding war. Unfortunately for Russia, Great Britain was not interested and so America was able to purchase the land cheaply.

Did you know…

  • Alaska used to be part of Russia. Now it is the 49th State of America.
  • Alaska is not physically connected to the rest of the USA – it’s separated by Canada.
  • Alaska didn’t become a State of the modern day USA until 1959. Before this it was classed as a territory.
  • Alaska is the largest State in America by land mass – twice the size of Texas.
  • Despite being so large, not so many people live in Alaska. It is the least densely populated State in America.
  • Alaska has a longer coastline than all the other American States combined.
  • Juneau is the State Capital of Alaska. It used to be Sitka.
  • Alaska has more than 3 million lakes!
  • The weather in Alaska is generally pretty cold with plenty of snow and ice but in the South of the State the summers can get up to temperatures of 26°C/80°F. The coldest day on record in Alaska was recorded at -62°C/-79.8°F!
  • Because Alaska is so close to the North Pole, its daylight hours are extreme. In the summer, some towns in Alaska do not see any night at all. It’s daylight all day every day. The same towns, when winter arrives, see no daylight at all. It’s dark all day every day.
  • Alaska’s native people are collectively called Eskimos or Alaska Natives. Eskimos also live in Canada and Greenland but are named Inuit in these countries. The Eskimos used to build Igloos for temporary shelter out of ice.
  • Of the 20 highest peaks in America, 17 of them are in Alaska including the highest peak in America, Mount McKinley, which is 20,320 ft.
  • Alaska has over 100,000 glaciers. The largest one is 850 square miles

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