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the first European explorers discovered Alaska, three groups of natives
were found living there--Eskimos, Aleuts, and Indians.
The explorers were in search of a sea route between the Atlantic
and Pacific oceans.
1741, Russians discovered Alaska and found a vast amount of sea otters
around Kayak Island.
Whalers and fur traders arrived in the Aleutian Islands a few
In 1784, a trading post was established on Kodiak Island.
When furs became harder to acquire, few people from Russia
remained in Alaska because of the harsh cold.
fishing and mining companies wanted to explore Alaska.
In 1867, Russia sold Alaska to the United States for $7.2
million, less than two cents an acre.
Some salmon canneries and a few sawmills opened in 1878, but at
the time few Americans wanted to live there either.
1880, gold was discovered and the town Juneau established.
Thousands of miners rushed to Alaska.
In 1898, gold was also found in Nome and Fairbanks in 1902.
this time, the boundary between Alaska and Canada was unknown and
causing conflict between the two countries.
An international commission decided in favor of the United States
in 1903, and set the present boundary.
In 1912, the Alaskan Territory was created with Juneau as the
Coal and copper mines opened and Alaska grew quickly.
During the Great Depression, many mines and mills closed leaving people without work. The U.S. government moved families to farm in the Matanuska Valley and paid people to construct roads. This program was called The New Deal.
World War II started in 1941, when Japan attacked Pearl Harbor. In 1942, the Japanese captured the Aleutian Islands of Agattu, Attu, and Kiska. One year later the United States regained the islands. This was the only fighting on United States’ land during the war.
Because of this, the government built the Alaska Highway in 1942. It joined Alaska to Canada and the rest of the United States. Military bases were also built to protect the land and people that lived there.
In 1959, Alaska became the 49th state and Juneau remained the state capital. On March 28th, 1964, the biggest earthquake ever known to hit North America occurred around the Anchorage area. It killed 131 people and caused more than $400 million in property damage. It is known as the "Good Friday Earthquake".
In 1968, when oil was found in Prudhoe Bay, the Trans-Alaska Pipeline underwent construction. It carries oil 800 miles to Valdez in Alaska. Alaska is very wealthy in oil and natural resources.