Alaska-- School-Age

Alaska

Alaska flag

State Abbreviation: AK

Capital: Juneau

Nickname: Last Frontier, Great Land, Land of the Midnight Sun

Origin of Name: The name Alaska is derived from the Aleut word "Alyeska," meaning "great land.

Motto: North To The Future

Insect: Four spot skimmer dragonfly

Land Mammal: Moose

Marine Mammal: Bowhead Whale

Mineral: Gold

Sport: Dog mushing

Tree: Sitka spruce

Things to Know

Alaska lies at the extreme northwest of the North American continent and is the largest peninsula in the Western Hemisphere.

Native Eskimo and Aleut tribes inhabited the Alaska area before it was discovered by Vitus Bering, a Dane exploring for the Russians, in 1741. Vitus Bering was the first to map the west coast of Alaska.

America bought Alaska from Russia on March 30, 1867. President Andrew Johnson's Secretary of State, William H. Seward, was responsible for negotiating the purchase of Alaska from Russia. The USA paid Russia $7.2 million for Alaska. A copy of the cancelled check can be viewed online.

When the agreement to purchase the Alaska territory from Russia was struck in 1867 by Secretary of State William H. Seward, there were many in the lower 48 states who were critical of the secrecy that had surrounded it and of the high price tag. Critics of Seward's agreement to purchase the Alaska territory from Russia referred to the plan as "Seward's Folly." They mocked his willingness to spend so much on "Seward's icebox" and Andrew Johnson's "polar bear garden."

United States Senators from Alaska.

Mount McKinley, in Denali National Park, at 20,320 feet (6,194 meters), is the highest peak in North America.

Gold was discovered in 1896 at Bonanza Creek, setting off the great Klondike Gold Rush.

Oil was discovered at Prudhoe Bay, Alaska in 1968. The oil fields at Prudhoe Bay are the largest in North America. The Trans-Alaska pipeline was built and completed in 1977 at a cost of $7.7 billion.

An oil spill by an Exxon tanker in Prince William Sound in 1989 damaged pristine coastline and led to battles between environmentalists and the oil industry. The beautiful scenery, national parks, and wildlife are Alaska's main natural resources and tourist attractions.

Major Rivers: Yukon River, Kuskokwim River, Colville River, Copper River

Famous Alaskans

Susan Butcher, 1954 - 2006, sled dog racer

Benny Benson, from Chignik Alaska, in 1926 designed the state flag at age 13. The blue field is for the sky and the Forget-Me-Not, the state flower. The North Star is for the future of the state of Alaska, the most northerly of the Union. The dipper is for the Great Bear - symbolizing strength.

Carl Ben Eielson, 1897 - 1929, pioneer pilot.

Joe Juneau, prospector

Jewel, singer and musician

Things to Do

Make A Binky Puppet Alaska's famous zoo polar bear.

Sites to See

Auroras-Paintings In The Sky
This site will show you what auroras look like from space and on Earth, explains how they are created, and show you where they can be found. Teacher's Page-Suggestions for using this site in the classroom

Klondike Gold Rush
History of the Klondike Gold Rush

Alaska State Quarter
Read about the Alaska State Quarter and print out the color page.

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