Peter, a Danish sea Captain, who belonged to Russia landed in Alaska and established Russia’s claim to this Northwestern part of North America.
After this many British, Spanish and French people also started exploring the land in search of fur. They started killing each other until the Chartering of Russian American Company in 1799. Under this Company’s rule for the next 20 years fur was cut systematically.
However in 1802 the settlement was broken by the local Tlingit Indians and they captured the Russians and then Russia sent forces to rescue them. Battles continued between the two until 1806 when most of the Russians left.
The economics of Russia had a disastrous effect in domestic Russia. So they wanted to sell the land to America. The deal took many years to materialize and on 8th May, 1867 a treaty was signed by President. Andrew Johnson. The sale price was $7,200,000 and very shortly Alaska was nicknamed Seward’s Icebox.
Until 1895 the territory of Alaska was totally neglected and then in 1896 Gold was dug out from Central Alaska along the River Yukon. Many Gold seekers started pouring into Alaska and new laws had to be enacted. By 1907 a Tongass National Forest Reserve was created, Alaska’s very first.
On 24 August, 1912, Alaska gained the territorial status by U.S.A. In spite of such a status Alaska still had a weak economy and the population was also thinning. A Rail track was laid in 1914 between Seward and Fairbanks. Several subsidies were provided to Farmers who were brought there and settled in Matanuska Valley Colony.
World War II did bring an influx of Military people and a building boom. The Cold War in the 1940’s brought about a huge population bloom and economic growth because of defense U.S. Military Government’s spending here.
In 1949 Alaska started campaigning for statehood and on 3 January 1959 Alaska got inducted as U.S.A.’s forty ninth State.
Up to now Alaska is economically better with Timber, Sea Food, Oil and the Tourism attractions.
Gold! The magic word drew thousands of Gold seekers into Alaska by 1886. They found scattered Gold in many parts like Talkeetna Mountains. Robert Lee Hatcher discovered and staked claim on the first lode Gold in the Willow Creek Valley in September 1906. Lode mining was a little expensive job so many new Companies came & started digging until all were brought together under one Company ‘Asia-Pacific Consolidated Mining Company. In 1942 when America got into the World War II, all mining in U.S.A. was stopped, but Independence Company continued to operate because the presence of sheelite. Sheelite along with Gold was a source of Tungsten, a strategic metal.
In 1943 The Independence Mine was ordered to close. The ban was lifted after the War, but still the Gold mining was rather slow. Due to post-war inflation mining was not a profitable business. Eventually in 1974, The Independence Mine got the status of a Historical Heritage.
South of Alaska – when Gold was discovered in Canada’s Yukon Territory, many Gold seekers went there from Seattle across the country. Today it has been made a Park and has a visitor centre at Skagway, the center of Gold seeker’s rush called Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park.