Alaska is a U.S. state situated in the northwest extremity of the North American continent. Bordering the state to the east isYukon, a Canadian territory, and the Canadian province of British Columbia, the Arctic Ocean to the north, and the Pacific Ocean to the west and south, with Russia (specifically, Chukotka Autonomous Okrug and Kamchatka Krai) further west across the Bering Strait. Alaska is thelargest state in the United States by area, the 4th least populous and the least densely populated of the 50 United States. Approximately half of Alaska's 735,132 residents live within the Anchorage metropolitan area. Alaska's economy is dominated by the oil, natural gas, andfishing industries, resources which it has in abundance. Tourism is also a significant part of the economy.
Although it had been occupied for thousands of years by indigenous peoples, from the 18th century onward, European powers considered the territory of Alaska ripe for exploitation and trade. The United States purchased Alaska from the Russian Empire on March 30, 1867, for $7.2 million ($121 million adjusted for inflation) at approximately two cents per acre ($4.74/km²). 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.
The name "Alaska" (Аляска) had been introduced in the Russian colonial period, when it was used to refer to the peninsula. It was derived from an Aleut, or Unangam idiom, which figuratively refers to the mainland of Alaska. Literally, it means object to which the action of the sea is directed. It is also known as Alyeska, the "great land", an Aleut word derived from the same root.
State of Alaska
|Nickname(s): The Last Frontier (official), Land of the Midnight Sun|
|Motto(s): North to the Future|
|State song(s): "Alaska's Flag"|
Some of Alaska's popular annual events are the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race that starts in Anchorage and ends in Nome, World Ice Art Championships in Fairbanks, the Blueberry Festival and Alaska Hummingbird Festival in Ketchikan, the Sitka Whale Fest, and the Stikine River Garnet Fest in Wrangell. The Stikine River attracts the largest springtime concentration of American bald eagles in the world.
The Alaska Native Heritage Center celebrates the rich heritage of Alaska's 11 cultural groups. Their purpose is to encourage cross-cultural exchanges among all people and enhance enhance self-esteem among Native people. The Alaska Native Arts Foundation promotes and markets Native art from all regions and cultures in the State, using the internet.
Influences on music in Alaska include the traditional music of Alaska Natives as well as folk music brought by later immigrants from Russia and Europe. Prominent musicians from Alaska include singer Jewel, traditional Aleut flautist Mary Youngblood, folk singer-songwriter Libby Roderick, Christian music singer/songwriter Lincoln Brewster, metal/post hardcore band 36 Crazyfists and the groups Pamyua and Portugal. The Man.
There are many established music festivals in Alaska, including the Alaska Folk Festival, the Fairbanks Summer Arts Festival, the Anchorage Folk Festival, the Athabascan Old-Time Fiddling Festival, the Sitka Jazz Festival, and the Sitka Summer Music Festival. The most prominent orchestra in Alaska is the Anchorage Symphony Orchestra, though the Fairbanks Symphony Orchestra and Juneau Symphony are also notable. The Anchorage Opera is currently the state's only professional opera company, though there are several volunteer and semi-professional organizations in the state as well.
The official state song of Alaska is "Alaska's Flag", which was adopted in 1955; it celebrates the flag of Alaska.