The largest US state occupies a huge peninsula in the extreme northwest of North America, with coastlines on the Arctic and North Pacific oceans and on the Chukchi and the Bering Seas . The state is separated from the contiguous 48 US states by Canada and by the Bering Strait from Russia.
Continental United States: The 49 States (including Alaska , excluding Hawaii) located on the continent of North America , and the District of Columbia. Although the official reference applies the term “conterminous,” many use the word “contiguous,” which is almost synonymous and better known.
There are two main reasons. First, Canada wasn’t its own country in 1867. Second, Great Britain controlled the Canadian colonies. Russia did not want to sell Alaska to its rival.
Russia offered to sell Alaska to the United States in 1859, believing the United States would off-set the designs of Russia’s greatest rival in the Pacific, Great Britain. The strategic importance of Alaska was finally recognized in World War II. Alaska became a state on January 3, 1959.
But technically, the Gulf of Alaska is considered part of the Pacific Ocean and is not the place where 2 oceans meet. As to swimming there, not recommended. The waters are very cold.
The Bering sea , near the chain of the Aleutian Islands, is one of the most intense patches of ocean on Earth. Strong winds, freezing temperatures, and icy water are normal conditions. The combination makes for some of the most ferocious waves on the planet, where the water can rise and fall 30 feet on a normal day.
Three species of sharks are found in Alaska waters, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration: Pacific sleeper sharks, which range as far north as the Chukchi Sea; salmon sharks, found in the Gulf of Alaska and Bering Sea; and North Pacific spiny dogfish , also found in the Gulf of Alaska and
On a clear day, you could climb a hill on Cape Prince of Wales and maybe make out mainland Siberia, just fifty miles away. But it’s much easier to get a view of Russia view by heading out into the Bering Strait to one of America’s weirdest destinations: Little Diomede Island.
The narrowest distance between mainland Russia and mainland Alaska is approximately 55 miles. The stretch of water between these two islands is only about 2.5 miles wide and actually freezes over during the winter so you could technically walk from the US to Russia on this seasonal sea ice.
“When it comes to wildlife, Alaska is famous for salmon, moose, caribou, bears, whales, bison, puffins, jellyfish, etc. When it comes to scenery, Alaska is famous for glaciers and fjords, mountains, and more lakes, rivers, and waterways than one could dream of.
Important Dates: 1867: Alaska territory purchased from Russia for $7 million. 1959: Alaska and Hawaii admitted, respectively, as the 49th and 50th states of the Union.
On January 3, 1959, President Eisenhower signs a special proclamation admitting the territory of Alaska into the Union as the 49th and largest state.
The terms exclude the non-contiguous states of Alaska and Hawaii , and all other off-shore insular areas, such as American Samoa, U.S. Virgin Islands, Northern Mariana Islands, Guam and Puerto Rico.