Capital city Juneau
Population 736.081 (2020)
Surface 1.717.856 km²
Governor Mike Dunleavy (R)
Member of the US since 1959

Alaska is one of the fifty states of the United States. Alaska is the largest and most northerly state in the country. Although Alaska is much larger than the other states, about 740,000 people live there. Alaska is also the least populous US state. Along with Hawaii, Alaska is the only two states that do not border other states. To the east, Alaska borders Canada and to the west, Alaska is separated from Russia by water . The Pacific Ocean is to the south and the Arctic Ocean to the north. The capital of Alaska is Juneau. Originally Alaska was inhabited by all kinds of indigenous peoples, including the Inuit. The area was discovered by the Russians in the 16th century and the colony of Russian America was founded in 1799. The Russians mainly used it to hunt animals for their fur and to a lesser extent for fishing. To the Russians, the colony became practically worthless in around 1850 and they decided to buy Alaska to the United States. Alaska was bought by the Americans in 1867 for a fairly low price. The Americans also thought that the area was worthless until all kinds of minerals and petroleum were found in the soil. Alaska became a US territory in 1911 and was finally incorporated as the 49th state in 1959. Alaska is the youngest state in the United States after Hawaii (which became a state a few months later). Alaska has a fairly cold climate and much of the state consists of snow and tundra. The state is home to many indigenous peoples (about 15% of the state is Native American). The extraction of minerals, petroleum and natural gas is important to the Alaskan economy, as is fishing. The state is also very rural and has a lot of nature. Alaska is a “red state,” meaning the Republican Party has a large following. Yet this following is not as large as in other red states, so Alaska is sometimes also seen as a swing state.

Geography

Landscape

Mount McKinley is not only the highest mountain in Alaska, but also in all of North America

Alaska is by far the largest of the fifty states. Most of it is in the Alaska time zone while some of the Aleutian Islands are in the Aleutian Islands- Hawaii time zone. Northern Alaska extends above the Arctic Circle. Alaska only borders (to the east) with Canada. Like Hawaii, Alaska does not border any of the other US states. The south of the state lies on the Pacific Ocean, the west on the Bering Sea and the north on the Arctic Ocean. Alaska also has many islands, such as the Aleutian Islands, Kodiak Island, Saint Lawrence Island and the islands of theAlexanderarchipel. Alaska is simultaneously the northernmost, westernmost, and easternmost state of the United States; some Aleutian Islands (unlike the rest of the US) are located in the Eastern Hemisphere. Much of the state is dominated by several mountain ranges. Mount McKinley is the highest mountain in North America at 6,194 meters. The main river is the Yukon, which flows from the Canadian territory of the same name to the Bering Sea. Alaska has many protected natural areas such as national parks and other protected ecosystems. More than 65% of Alaska is in the hands of the federal government, mostly as a nature reserve. The capital, Juneau, is the only state capital of the US that can only be reached by plane or ship. There are no roads from Juneau to the rest of the state or to Canada.

Alaska’s Largest Cities

Name Residents
1. Anchorage 291.247
2. Fairbanks 32.515
3. Juneau 32.255
4. Wasilla 9.054
5. Sitka 8.458
6. Ketchikan 8.192
7. Kenai 7.424
8. Bethel 6.325
9. Palmer 5.888
10. Codes 5.581

Climate

Alaska has different climates. The southern coastal areas have a temperate maritime climate. Here one has to deal with mild winters, because the weather is often influenced by the sea. More to the north there is a continental climate. The winters here are very cold. In the mountains and the north there is a polar climate and a tundra climate. Here the temperature is often below zero and there is eternal snow. The state has to deal with regular precipitation. This means the snow and rain are evenly distributed throughout the year. In summer there is slightly more rainfall than in winter.

One of Alaska’s Natural Areas

Population

Quantity and origin

There are several “Native Alaskan” peoples, such as the Koyukon.

In 2020, Alaska had a population of about 736,000. Alaska is the state with the fewest inhabitants after Vermont, Wyoming and North Dakota. Because Alaska is huge, the state is very sparsely populated. Most residents – about two thirds – live in the cities in the south of the state. About 15% of the population is made up of Native Americans. In the United States they are often called Native American, but in Alaska they use the name Native Alaskan. Of all the states, Alaska has the highest percentage of Native Americans. In the past they were called “Eskimos”, but today this name is seen as offensive. About 59% of the population is made up of white Americans, 6% of Asian Americans, 3% of African Americans and 1.7% of Pacific Americans. The rest of the population is of mixed ancestry. The largest immigrant groups come from the Philippines, Japan, China and Mexico.

Taal

Alaska has 21 official languages, making it the state with the most official languages. Until 2014, only English was official. About 83% of the population speaks English at home and English is the most widely used language in the state. In addition, there are 20 official languages. These languages ​​are spoken by 5.2% of the population. These languages ​​have been official since 2014 and are spoken by Native Alaskans. These 20 languages ​​are Inupiaq, Siberian Yupik, Central Yupik, Alutiiq, Unangax, Dena’ina, Deg Xinag, Holikachuk, Koyukon, Upper Kuskokwim, Gwich’in, Tanana, Opper-Tanana, Tanacross, Hän, Ahtna, Eyak, Tlingit, Haida and Tsimshian.

One of the Cathedrals in Alaska

In addition, a number of Asian languages ​​are spoken, including Tagalog and Russian. However, these languages ​​are not official.

Religion

About 62% of the population is a Christian. Most Christians in the state are Protestant, including the Quackers. There are also Catholics and Mormons. In the past, there were plans to move all Mormons in the United States to Alaska. Alaska was supposed to become Mormonia, but this never happened. The Mormons were very unloved and eventually they were sent to Utah. In Alaska, the Russian Orthodox Church is also active in Alaska. Alaska is one of the least religious states in the country. Lesser religions include Judaism, Islam and Buddhism. In addition, there is also an Alaskan mythology, which still has followers.

Politics

State politics

Alaska’s Parliament Building

The current governor of Alaska is Mike Dunleavy of the Republican Party. The governor is responsible for the day-to-day management and head of the government of Alaska. The governor is aided by a lieutenant governor. The lieutenant governor succeeds the governor when he dies, resigns, or is deposed. The governor and lieutenant governor are elected together in elections that take place every four years. The Alaska Legislature is called the Alaska Legislature. It consists of two rooms:

  • The House of Representatives, consisting of 40 members who are elected every two years.
  • The Senate, made up of 20 members who are elected every four years.

The Republican Party has a majority in both chambers. The rest of the seats are filled by the Democratic Party. Yet in Alaska there is a lot of collaboration between Democrats and Republicans.

Administrative division

How many counties in Alaska? Compared to other states, Alaska has a distinct administrative division. Normally states are divided into countries, but into boroughs and census areas. Alaska, along with Louisiana, is one of the two states that are not divided into countries.

Boroughs

  1. Aleutians East Borough
  2. Anchorage Municipality
  3. Bristol Bay Borough
  4. Denali Borough
  5. Fairbanks North Star Borough
  6. Haines Borough
  7. Juneau City and Borough
  8. Kenai Peninsula Borough
  9. Ketchikan Gateway Borough
  10. Kodiak Island Borough
  11. Lake and Peninsula Borough
  12. Matanuska-Susitna Borough
  13. North Slope Borough
  14. Northwest Arctic Borough
  15. Sitka City and Borough
  16. Yakutat City and Borough

Census areas

  1. Aleutians West Census Area
  2. Bethel Census Area
  3. Dillingham Census Area
  4. Census Area Name
  5. Prince of Wales-Outer Ketchikan Census Area
  6. Skagway-Hoonah-Angoon Census Area
  7. Southeast Fairbanks Census Area
  8. Valdez-Cordova Census Area
  9. Wade Hampton Census Area
  10. Wrangell-Petersburg Census Area
  11. Yukon-Koyukuk Census Area

National politics

Dan Sullivan not Lisa Murkowski

Alaska is a red state which means that the Republican Party has a lot of supporters. During its history, Alaska has voted for a Democratic presidential candidate only once. This was in 1964 for Lyndon B. Johnson. In all other presidential elections, Alaska has voted for the Republican nominee. Incidentally, residents of the state have only been able to participate in the presidential elections since 1960. Although the state is still quite Republican, Alaska is moving more and more towards the Democratic Party. Because of this, Alaska is sometimes seen as a swing state, but it is almost certain that it will go to the Republicans with a small majority. Alaska is represented in the United States Congress by one representative and two senators. These three politicians are all members of the Republican Party. Currently, the seat for the deputy is unoccupied as the previous deputy of the state has passed away. A new one will not be chosen until 2023. The current Senators for Alaska are Dan Sullivan and Lisa Murkowski. Murkowski is one of the moderate Republicans, who also often agrees with the Democrats.

Economy

Alaska’s economy is dependent on the extraction of petroleum and minerals. The state’s soil is rich in oil and metals, including gold. The Trans-Alaska Pipeline, which is used for the oil, runs through the state. This pipeline runs from the north to the south. Today, there are plans to drill for oil in the state’s Arctic. There are many protests against this, as it can cause environmental disasters. After Texas, California and North Dakota, Alaska is the most oil-producing state.

De Trans-Alaskan Pipeline

In Alaska there is also a small agriculture. The cold climate means that few crops can grow well. Some of the crops from the state are potatoes, carrots, lettuce and cabbage. Hunting and fishing are much more important. There is a lot of fishing in Alaskan waters. So many salmon are caught. In the interior, all kinds of animals are also hunted, mainly for their fur. In addition, there are many military bases in Alaska and other government agencies. These are also important to the economy of the state. Tourism is also an important source of income. Most tourists come to Alaska for nature and sports. In addition, many cruise ships dock in the ports of Alaska.

Traffic and transport

Alaska’s infrastructure isn’t much. Alaska barely has a road network. The main road is the Alaska Highway, which connects Alaska to Canada. There are also some roads between the major cities and the Klondike Highway, which connects Skagway with Canada. Alaska has one railroad, the Alaska Railroad. It runs from Fairbanks to the coast and carries freight and tourists. Also, part of the White Pass & Yukon Route runs through Alaska. Alaska is enclosed on almost all sides by sea and a large part of the (freight) transport to and from Alaska therefore goes by water. Most of Alaska’s transportation is by air due to its lack of infrastructure. Alaska’s main airport is Anchorage.

 

Alaska - The Last Frontier

Alaska – The Last Frontier
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