Russia controlled most of the area that is now Alaska from the late 1700s until 1867, when it was purchased by U.S. Secretary of State William Seward for $7.2 million, or about two cents an acre. During World War II, the Japanese occupied two Alaskan islands, Attu and Kiska, for 15 months.
The U.S. purchased Alaska from Russia in 1867. In the 1890s, gold rushes in Alaska and the nearby Yukon Territory brought thousands of miners and settlers to Alaska . Alaska was granted territorial status in 1912 by the United States of America. Alaska was granted U.S. statehood on January 3, 1959.
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.
ALASKA was a Russian colony from 1744 until the USA bought it in 1867 for $7,200,000. It was made a state in 1959. Hawaii was a kingdom until 1893 and became a republic in 1894. It then ceded itself to the USA in 1898 and became a state in 1959.
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.
On March 30, 1867, the United States reached an agreement to purchase Alaska from Russia for a price of $7.2 million. The Treaty with Russia was negotiated and signed by Secretary of State William Seward and Russian Minister to the United States Edouard de Stoeckl.
The Last Frontier
The treaty — setting the price at $7.2 million , or about $125 million today — was negotiated and signed by Eduard de Stoeckl, Russia’s minister to the United States, and William H. Seward, the American secretary of state.
Russia did not sell Alaska to the United States in 1867. The Russia government only leased the region to the U.S. for an indefinite span of time. Now there are many in Russia who think the span has run its course, and they want Alaska back . It is a favorite theme of extreme Russian nationalists.
On October 18, 1867, the U.S. formally takes possession of Alaska after purchasing the territory from Russia for $7.2 million, or less than two cents an acre. Negotiations between Seward (1801-1872) and the Russian minister to the U.S. , Eduard de Stoeckl, began in March 1867.
1867: Alaska territory purchased from Russia for $7 million. 1898: Hawaii annexed as a United States territory. 1959: Alaska and Hawaii admitted, respectively, as the 49th and 50th states of the Union.
The Russians were primarily interested in the abundance of fur-bearing mammals on Alaska’s coast, as stocks had been depleted by over hunting in Siberia. In 1784, with encouragement from Empress Catherine the Great, explorer Grigory Shelekhov founded Russia’s first permanent settlement in Alaska at Three Saints Bay.
Alaska runs a program called the Alaska Permanent Fund, which, per the state website, allots an equal amount of the state’s oil royalties to every resident through an annual dividend. In 2018, that dividend came out to $1,600 per person.