Alaska

Alaska (/əˈlæskə/ (listen) ə-LAS-kə) is a U.S. state on the northwest extremity of North America. A semi-exclave of the U.S., it borders British Columbia and the Yukon in Canada to the east, and it shares a western maritime border in the Bering Strait with the Russian Federation's Chukotka Autonomous Okrug. To the north are the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas of the Arctic Ocean, and the Pacific Ocean lies to the south and southwest.

Alaska
Alax̂sxax̂ (Aleut)
Alaaskaq (Inupiaq)
Alaskaq (Central Yupik)
Anáaski (Tlingit)
Alas'kaaq (Alutiiq)
Аляска (Russian)
State of Alaska
Nickname: 
The Last Frontier
Motto: 
North to the Future
Anthem: Alaska's Flag
Map of the United States with Alaska highlighted
CountryUnited States
Before statehoodTerritory of Alaska
Admitted to the UnionJanuary 3, 1959; 64 years ago (1959-01-03) (49th)
CapitalJuneau
Largest cityAnchorage
Largest metro and urban areasAnchorage
Government
  GovernorMike Dunleavy (R)
  Lieutenant GovernorNancy Dahlstrom (R)
LegislatureAlaska Legislature
  Upper houseSenate
  Lower houseHouse of Representatives
JudiciaryAlaska Supreme Court
U.S. senators
U.S. House delegationMary Peltola (D) (list)
Area
  Total663,268 sq mi (1,717,856 km2)
  Land571,951 sq mi (1,481,346 km2)
  Water91,316 sq mi (236,507 km2)  13.77%
  Rank1st
Dimensions
  Length1,420 mi (2,285 km)
  Width2,261 mi (3,639 km)
Elevation
1,900 ft (580 m)
Highest elevation20,310 ft (6,190.5 m)
Lowest elevation
0 ft (0 m)
Population
 (2020[2])
  Total736,081
  Rank48th
  Density1.26/sq mi (0.49/km2)
   Rank50th
  Median household income
$77,800[3]
  Income rank
12th
DemonymAlaskan
Language
  Official languagesAhtna, Alutiiq, Dena'ina, Deg Xinag, English, Eyak, Gwich'in, Haida, Hän, Holikachuk, Inupiaq, Koyukon, Lower Tanana, St. Lawrence Island Yupik, Tanacross, Tlingit, Tsimshian, Unangax̂, Upper Kuskokwim, Upper Tanana, Yup'ik
  Spoken language
Time zones
east of 169°30'UTC−09:00 (Alaska)
  Summer (DST)UTC−08:00 (ADT)
west of 169°30'UTC−10:00 (Hawaii-Aleutian)
  Summer (DST)UTC−09:00 (HADT)
USPS abbreviation
AK
ISO 3166 codeUS-AK
Latitude51°20'N to 71°50'N
Longitude130°W to 172°E
Websitealaska.gov
Alaska state symbols
Living insignia
BirdWillow ptarmigan
Dog breedAlaskan Malamute
FishKing salmon
FlowerForget-me-not
InsectFour-spot skimmer dragonfly
Mammal
TreeSitka Spruce
Inanimate insignia
FossilWoolly Mammoth
GemstoneJade
MineralGold
OtherDog mushing (state sport)
State route marker
State quarter
Released in 2008
Lists of United States state symbols
Interactive map showing border of Alaska (click to zoom)

Alaska is the largest U.S. state by area, comprising more total area than the next three largest states of Texas, California, and Montana combined, and is the seventh-largest subnational division in the world. It is the third-least populous and most sparsely populated U.S. state, and the continent's most populous territory located mostly north of the 60th parallel, with a population of 736,081 as of 2020more than quadruple the combined populations of Northern Canada and Greenland.[2] The state capital of Juneau is the second-largest city in the United States by area, and the former capital of Alaska, Sitka, is the largest U.S. city by area. Approximately half of Alaska's residents live within the Anchorage metropolitan area.

Indigenous people have lived in Alaska for thousands of years, and it is widely believed that the region served as the entry point for the initial settlement of North America by way of the Bering land bridge. The Russian Empire was the first to actively colonize the area beginning in the 18th century, eventually establishing Russian America, which spanned most of the current state. The expense and logistical difficulty of maintaining this distant possession prompted its sale to the U.S. in 1867 for US$7.2 million (equivalent to $140 million in 2021). The area went through several administrative changes before becoming organized as a territory on May 11, 1912. It was admitted as the 49th state of the U.S. on January 3, 1959.[4]

Abundant natural resources have enabled Alaskawith one of the smallest state economiesto have one of the highest per capita incomes, with commercial fishing, and the extraction of natural gas and oil, dominating Alaska's economy. U.S. Armed Forces bases and tourism also contribute to the economy; more than half the state is federally-owned land containing national forests, national parks, and wildlife refuges.

The Indigenous population of Alaska is proportionally the highest of any U.S. state, at over 15 percent.[5] Various Indigenous languages are spoken, and Alaskan Natives are influential in local and state politics.


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