Alaska – The Great Land                                       Download Alaska map
Alaska is known for more than great seafood.  The state is superlative in a number of other areas as well.  Here are some fun Alaska Facts.

The name “Alaska” comes from the Aleut word “Alyeska,” meaning “The Great Land.”

Alaska’s state motto is “North to the Future.”

The state flower of Alaska is the wild forget-me-not.

The state bird is the willow ptarmigan.

Alaska’s state tree is the Sitka spruce.

Dog mushing is the official state sport.

Outsiders first discovered Alaska in 1741 when Danish explorer Vitus Jonassen Bering sighted it on a voyage from Siberia.

The first settlement in Alaska was established in 1784 by Russian whalers and fur traders on Kodiak Island.

Alaska was purchased from Russia in 1867 for $7.2 million, or 2 cents an acre, by Secretary of State William H. Seward.  The purchase was known as “Seward’s Folly.”

Gold was discovered in the Klondike in 1896, bringing thousands to Skagway, Alaska on their way to the gold fields.

In 1943, Japan invaded the Aleutian Islands, which started the One Thousand Mile War, the first battle fought on American soil since the Civil War.

Alaska entered the Union on January 3, 1959 as the 49th state.

The tallest mountain in North America is Alaska’s Mt. McKinley at 20,300 feet.  Alaskans call this mountain Denali.  Alaska has 17 of the 20 highest mountains in North America.

The largest state in the United States, Alaska’s land mass is 1/5 the size of the entire continental United States.  If you placed Alaska on top of the continental U.S. it would stretch from California to Florida.  Alaska also has the eastern, western and northern most points in the United States.

Alaska has the most glaciers in the United States, numbering over 100,000 and covering 29,000 square miles or 5% of the state.  The Malaspina and Bering Glaciers are the largest in North America.

The coastline of Alaska stretches 6,640 miles, more than the rest of the United States combined.

Nearly one-third of Alaska lies within the Arctic Circle.

Alaska has the lowest population density in the United States.

The longest and the shortest days in Alaska are recorded in Barrow, 800 miles south of the North Pole.  The sun rises on May 10th and doesn't set for three months.  When the sun sets on November 18th, it does not rise again for nearly two months.

Record temperatures in Alaska range from 100 degrees F in Fort Yukon in 1915 to minus 80 degrees F in Prospect Creek Camp in 1971.

The heaviest annual snowfall in Alaska was 974.5 inches at Thompson Pass near Valdez in the winter of 1952-53.

Alaska had America’s biggest earthquake on Good Friday, March 27, 1964.  It measured 8.6 on the Richter Scale.  Since then, it has been revised upward to 9.2.

Dutch Harbor on the Aleutian chain is the number one fishing port in terms of volume of fish landed in the United States.

Alaska accounts for 25% of the oil produced in the United States.  Prudhoe Bay, on the northern Alaskan coast, is North America's largest oil field.

The Tongass National Forest is the largest national forest in the United States.

Juneau is the only capital city in the United States accessible only by boat or plane.

The state's largest city is Anchorage; the second largest is Fairbanks.

Alaska Seafood Industry Facts
The ex-vessel value (the money paid to fishermen for their catch) of the Alaska seafood harvest is approximately $1.5 billion.

The wholesale value of Alaska seafood is over $3 billion annually.

The landings of Alaska seafood are over 5.5 billion pounds each year.

Nearly 60% of the seafood caught in the United States comes from Alaska.

According to the Alaska Department of Labor, 37,500 people are employed during the peak-season in seafood harvesting and processing jobs. The annual average employment is 16,100 people.

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