Alaska, admired for its vast beautiful, and untouched landscape and rich wild life, is predominantly a destination for nature lovers.
It has been inhabited far longer than nywhere else in the Americas; it was here, across the broad plains of the 'land bridge' that is now submerged' below the Bering Sea, that humans first reached the 'New World', most likely aro und 14,000 years ago.
Their descendants2 now belong to Native American tribes like the Aleut, Athabascan, Inuit (Eski mos) and Tlingi1. Over the centuries these people have developed more than 100 words for various forms of snow and ice. And we know at least one of them: nanuk.
Alaska is definitely a state of superlatives: Point Barrow is the northernmost3
point in the US; the westernmost point in the US is Cape Wrangle in the Aleutian Islands (if you thought that the western most point would be in Hawaii, it's not, take a look at the globe!), the lowest temperature - minus 62 degrees Celsius
- was measured at Prospect Creek in January 1971. The highest peak in North America, Denali (formerly cali ed Mount McKinley), 6,193m high is also in Alaska. By the way, 16 of the highest peaks in the US are in Alaska. Kodiak Island is home to the largest brown bears on earth.
There are no roads in much of Alaska and 1 in 68 people are pilots. Did you know that Juneau is the only state capital that cannot be
reached by road? And finally, with more than one million km2, Alaska is the largest US state. Its area forms almost one fifth of the USA. No wonder that its name, coming from an Athabascan word, Alayeska, means the Great Land.
In 1867, Alaska was bought from Russia for "only" 7.2 million dollars. Soon it turned out to be a good deal. In 1880 gold was discovered at Juneau and subsequently at many other places in Alaska: Skagway, Nome, Fairbanks, etc. Many stories and adventures of the 1890s' gold rush4 were depicted in the famous novels The Cali of the Wild and White Fang by Jack London.
In 1959, continuing its long and picturesque history, Alaska became the 49th state of the USA.
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