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32 Things You Didn’t Know about Alaska

Alaska is the United State’s largest state and is over twice the size of Texas. Measuring from north to south the state is approximately 1,400 miles long and measuring from east to west it is 2,700 miles wide.

1. The U.S. purchased Alaska from Russia for just US$7.2 million in 1867.

2. Alaska is the largest state in the U.S. by total area, with 663,268 square miles (1,717,856 sq km).

3. Alaska is so big you could fit 75 New Jerseys in it.

4. "North to the Future" is Alaska's state motto.

5. Alaska was part of the Russian Empire until March 30, 1867, when the United States purchased it for US$ 12.5 per square mile of land, a grand total of US$ 7.2 million.

6. On January 3, 1959, Alaska was admitted as the 49th state of the U.S.

7. Alaska is larger than Texas, California, and Montana combined and also larger than the combined area of the 22 smallest U.S. states.

8. In Aleut language, Alaska means "object to which the action of the sea is directed."

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9. While Alaska is technically part of the continental U.S., it's the only non-contiguous state.

10. Alaska is the most sparsely populated of the 50 United States and the third least populous, with 731,545 people.

11. About half of Alaska's residents live around the Anchorage metropolitan area.

12. Juneau is the capital city of Alaska. It's the second most populous city.

13. The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, located in Alaska, is the world's largest wildlife refuge, comprising 16 million acres (6.5 million hectares).

14. The 6 regions of Alaska are: South Central, Southeast, Interior, Southwest, North Slope and the Aleutian Islands.

15. There's little private land ownership in Alaska, the smallest percentage among U.S. states.

16. Alaska has more than three million lakes and nearly 34,000 miles of tidal shoreline.

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17. About 65% of Alaska is owned and managed by the U.S. federal government as public lands.

18. Oil, fishing and natural gas industries dominate Alaska's industry.

19. Alaska was the 7th wealthiest state in 2018, with a per capita personal income of US$ 73,000.

20. −80 °F (−62 °C) was the lowest official temperature ever recorded in Alaska, more precisely, in Prospect Creek on January 23, 1971.

21. The highest temperature ever recorded was 100 °F (38 °C), on June 27, 1915.

22. Over 66% of Alaskans are White, 5.4% Asian and 3.3% Black or African American. Indigenous peoples of Alaska constitute almost 15% of the population and include the Aleut, Iñupiat, Yupik, Eyak, Tlingit, Haida and the Tsimshian.

23. The first Russians established in Alaska around the 17th century, researchers believe, while the first permanent European settlement was founded in 1784.

24. Even Spain sent expeditions to Alaska, between 1774 and 1800. But the Russians settled, making Sitka their capital.

25. For the first ten years under the U.S. flag, Sitka was the only community inhabited by American settlers. Juneau was named the capital of Alaska in 1906.

26. Gold rushes started in the 1890s, bringing thousands of miners and settlers to Alaska.

27. Later, the discovery of oil in 1968 led to an oil boom. Its revenues funded large state budgets since 1980.

28. The cost of living in Alaska is one of the highest in the country, mostly due to reduced transportation and infrastructure.

29. 83.4% of people in Alaska speak only English at home, while about 3.5% speak Spanish and about 4.3% speak an Asian language.

30. Alaska is governed as a republic, with a governor, a House of Representatives and Senate, and a Supreme Court.

31. With no state sales tax and no individual income tax, Alaska has the lowest individual tax burden in the United States.

32. A 13-year-old boy named Benny Benson designed Alaska's state flag. Benny participated in a contest for young children to design the flag in the 1920s.