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. This purchase ended Russia’s presence in North America and ensured U.S. access to the Pacific northern rim.
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.
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.
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.
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.
In the end, the Soviet Union would become the rightful winners of the Russian Civil War and Alaska would be recognized as an independent country. The fall of the Soviet Union would be celebrated in Alaska , but there would not be any reunification; the United States would not tolerate Alaska being reannexed by Russia .
Some historians regard the transaction as a short-sighted blunder by Czar Alexander II, giving up Alaska’s rich natural resources, particularly its oil and gas, for $7.2 million – about $125 million (£100 million) in today’s money.
What was their sovereign status before that? 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.
The United States wanted Hawaii to acquire its islands and because it was a port way to China, East India and Asia. Not only did they want the islands, but they wanted their naval base. They wanted their naval base for war so they would have another advantage to help defeat the other country.
The Bering Strait tunnel was estimated to cost between $10 billion and $12 billion, while the entire project was estimated to cost $65 billion. Shortly after, the Russian government approved the construction of the $65 billion Siberia- Alaska rail and tunnel across the Bering Strait.
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.
The name “Alaska” derives from the Aleut word Alaxsxaq (also spelled Alyeska), meaning “mainland” (literally, “the object toward which the action of the sea is directed”). The U.S. purchased Alaska from Russia in 1867.
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.
Alaska Purchase Treaty: Primary Documents in American History. In 1867, the United States purchased Alaska from Russia for a price of $7.2 million.
The Alaskan Purchase Today, Alaska is, of course, worth much more than that. The state encompasses 586,412 square miles or more than 375 million acres. 2 Even at a cost of just $100 per acre, that would equate to more than $37 billion .