Brief History of Alaska

By | May 19, 2022

Population: 722.718 thousand people (2011)
Area: 1717854.0 sq. km

The word “Alaska” is of Aleutian origin. It means “whale abundance.” The largest US state is separated from the main territory of the country and occupies the entire territory of the vast Alaska Peninsula and nearby islands (Aleutian, Alexander Archipelago). It is washed by the waters of the Arctic and Pacific oceans. This region is characterized by harsh climatic conditions, natural diversity and extremely low population density.

Alaska has great rivers (Yukon), countless lakes (Iliamna, Teshekpuk and others), and many wetlands. The north is occupied by the tundra, turning into the vast expanses of the taiga. There are several large mountain ranges in Alaska – the Brooks Range, the Coast Range, the Kuskokuim crusts and the Alaska Range, which is crowned by the snowy peak of McKinley (6194 meters), the highest peak in North America. There is relatively high volcanic activity. The bowels are rich in ores of various metals, in particular gold. Oil, coal and gas are also extracted.

The first people who appeared in Alaska became the first people of both Americas. 16 thousand years ago, along the Bering Isthmus (now it is a strait), they penetrated here from Eurasia. The first Europeans in Alaska were Russian explorers in 1732. There is semi-reliable information about the Russians visiting Alaska as early as the 17th century. In 1799-1867 this land belonged to Russia and was managed by the Russian-American Company. Alaska was considered unpromising in terms of development and profit, so they decided to sell it to the United States. Alaska was valued at 7.2 million US dollars in gold ($4.74 per km 2). A little later, gold was discovered. Thousands of adventurers and gold diggers flocked to Alaska, and 1896 was the peak of the “gold rush”. Administratively, Alaska was a territory, a county, and became a state in 1959.

Tourism plays a significant role in Alaska’s economy. Nature is the main tourist attraction in the region. Endless untouched territories, many of which have the status of national parks, mountains, rivers, forests, lakes attract lovers of extreme sports and ecotourism. Alaska is excellent fishing, hunting, sea and river excursions. Tourists are also invited to visit the old gold mines and mines, Indian villages, local ethnographic museums.


Population: 293.356 thousand people (2011)
Founded: 1914
City status since: 1920
Time zone: UTC-9, summer UTC-8

Anchorage is the largest city in Alaska. At the same time, it is the northernmost major city in the United States. It is located in the Knick River Delta, on the shores of Cook Inlet. Here, the climate is relatively mild due to the mountains of the Chugach ridge protecting from the north and the warm Alaska Current. Anchorage is home to about 40% of Alaskans.

Anchorage, unlike other settlements in Alaska, has never been a fishing port or mining center. It originated during the construction of the Alaska Railroad in 1920. Initially, the headquarters of the shock construction site was located on the site of the city, and the village itself was called Ship Creek. Anchorage owes its growth to transportation. In addition to the railroad, the main sea and air port of the state is located here.

As the largest city in Alaska, Anchorage has a developed tourist infrastructure. The city itself has a variety of museums, parks and cultural venues. A special pride is the Botanical Garden. Outside the city, the monumental nature of Alaska becomes the main object of attention for tourists. In the ocean you can watch the migration of whales, on land you can surf hiking trails through the mountains and national parks. Winter sports are also developed in Anchorage, which can be practiced in ski centers.

Brief History of Alaska

Wrangell – St Elias NP&P

Wrangell National Park Elias is located in southern Alaska and was founded in 1980. It is a biosphere reserve, which for its uniqueness has been inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List since 1979. In terms of area, Wrangell – St. Elias with its 53,321 km2 the largest national park in the USA.

This national park falls into a vast area, where several other Alaska nature parks are located. A large glacier massif has formed on the border between Canada and the USA, parts of which are in constant motion due to the humid air from the oceans and form the unique character of the whole area. This geological process is a kind of remnant of the last ice age.

The glaciers and ice fields in the park have become home to grizzly bears, seals, caribou reindeer, moose, wolves, wolverines and many other species of wildlife. The second highest mountain in the USA – Mount Saint Elias, which reaches an altitude of 5489 meters, also rises in the park. Wrangell – St. Gallen Elias is also adjacent to the Canadian Kluane National Park.

Due to its vast area, Wrangell Park is very difficult to access, with only two poorly paved and relatively dangerous roads leading into it – McCarthy Road and Nabesna Road, each about 100 kilometers long. However, the remoteness of the park also has its pros, as it is not affected by mass tourism, it preserves unique nature and its attendance is up to ten times lower than in Denali National Park.

The Wrangell Mountains run through the park and continue to the Canadian Yukon territory. The highest mountain is Mount Blackburn at an altitude of 4996 meters above sea level. The entire mountain range provides natural protection from the humid and warm weather of the Pacific. The mountain range also hides one of the largest gable volcanoes in the world – 4317 meters high Mount Wrangell. The volcano is located about 330 km from the city of Anchorage and its dimensions are truly stunning. The base of the volcano is about 30 km in diameter, the top is a snow-filled crater (caldera) and a diameter of 4 to 6 km and a depth of one kilometer.

Places of interest in the park include the historic Kennicott-McCarthy copper mines or the former mining town of Copper Center.

Knik, Alaska

History of Knik, Alaska:

Knik, located in the Matanuska-Susitna Borough of Alaska, has a history deeply rooted in the state’s exploration, gold rush era, and the development of transportation routes. The area was originally inhabited by Athabascan indigenous peoples who thrived in the challenging Arctic environment, relying on hunting and fishing for sustenance.

The late 19th century brought increased interest in Alaska, spurred by the Klondike Gold Rush. Knik, strategically positioned near the head of Cook Inlet, became a hub for prospectors and traders seeking access to the goldfields. In 1898, Knik witnessed a surge in population as stampeders journeyed through the region on their way to the Yukon.

The development of Knik as a transportation center was crucial to its growth. The Alaska Railroad, constructed in the early 20th century, linked Knik to the burgeoning rail network, facilitating the movement of people and goods. The city served as a key point for settlers and miners moving into the interior of Alaska. However, with the completion of the railroad, Knik gradually declined in importance.

During the mid-20th century, the focus shifted to nearby Anchorage, and Knik’s prominence waned. The Good Friday earthquake of 1964, one of the most powerful recorded earthquakes in North America, caused significant damage in the area, contributing to the town’s decline. Today, Knik stands as a testament to Alaska’s frontier history, with remnants of its past scattered throughout the landscape.

Climate of Knik, Alaska:

According to Diseaseslearning, Knik experiences a subarctic climate, characterized by cold winters and mild summers, typical of many Alaskan communities. The region’s proximity to the ocean influences its climate, with the moderating effect of the nearby Cook Inlet.

Winters in Knik are cold and snowy, with temperatures often dropping below freezing. December and January are the coldest months, with average temperatures ranging from 4°F to 19°F (-15°C to -7°C). Snowfall is significant during this period, contributing to the picturesque winter landscape.

Summer brings milder temperatures, with July being the warmest month. Average temperatures in the summer range from 47°F to 64°F (8°C to 18°C). While summers are relatively short, the extended daylight hours, a characteristic of high-latitude locations, provide ample time for outdoor activities.

Knik experiences a transition between the maritime and continental climates, resulting in a varied weather pattern. Coastal influences can bring rapid changes in weather, and storms from the Gulf of Alaska can impact the region. The proximity to mountains also contributes to local variations in precipitation.

The unique climate of Knik supports a diverse ecosystem, with opportunities for outdoor enthusiasts to explore the natural beauty of the area. The surrounding landscape includes mountains, rivers, and expansive wilderness, making it a destination for those seeking adventure and a connection to Alaska’s untamed environment.

In recent years, despite its diminished size and historical decline in significance, Knik has seen some revival as people rediscover its historical charm and proximity to the stunning Alaskan wilderness. The town stands as a living testament to the challenges and triumphs of Alaska’s past, showcasing a resilience that characterizes many communities in the Last Frontier.