Since January 1959, Alaska has been the 49th state of the United States of America. Alaska is situated at the great northwest of the North American continent, and the Alaska Peninsula, the largest peninsula in the Western Hemisphere.
Technically, Alaska is in both hemispheres because the 180th meridian goes through the state’s Aleutian Islands, placing Alaska’s westernmost portion in the Eastern Hemisphere. Alaska’s position puts it in the centre of the great circle route connecting North America with Asia by sea and air and is halfway between most of Asia and Europe. Here are 48 interesting facts about Alaska that you’ll surely find fascinating…
Alaska’s name means the Great Land which comes from the Aleut word Alyeska.
The main native groups of Alaska are the Aleuts, Inupiat, Yuit, Athabascans, Tlingit, and Haida. Alaska has a higher indigenous population than any other state.
Alaska’s flag was designed by Benny Benson, a 13-year-old boy living in an orphanage, whose design displays eight gold stars, forming the Big Dipper and Polaris, on a dark blue field.
Alaska’s state bird is the willow ptarmigan.
Alaska is situated 500 miles away from the nearest state.
Alaska’s state flag
Juneau the capital of Alaska is the only U.S state’s capital that isn’t accessible by road – the only way is is via boat or plane!
Juneau is also the biggest capital covering 3,108 square miles.
The world’s biggest and busiest seaplane base is in Anchorage’s Lake Hood with more than 800 takeoffs and landings happening on a busy summer day.
When we said Alaska was close to Russia, we weren’t joking. It’s only around 50 miles away from the Russian mainland!
Alaska is a massive oil producer. Around a quarter of the oil the US produces comes out of this state.
Alaska is home to some record-breaking salmon! The largest salmon on record was caught on the Kenai River, weighing around 97.5lbs! That’s heavier than a small child!
The city that has the longest and shortest day is Barrow, Alaska. On the 10th of May when the sun rises it doesn’t set for nearly 3 months. Starting from the 18th of November, the residents don’t see the sun for nearly 2 months.
Alaska’s waterways are colossal: there are more than 3,000 rivers and 3,000,000 lakes!
The largest lake in Alaska is Lake Iliamna which is 1,000 square miles.
There are about 100,000 glaciers, covering 5% of the state of Alaska.
The state is also home to plenty of earthquakes. In fact, you’re likely to feel around 1,000 of them each year as they often measure above 3.5 on the Richter scale. There are 5,000 that take place here on average, though these tend to be a lot smaller!
The majority of people in Alaska are male, with a 52% / 48% balance with women.
Alaska is home to 17 of the 20 highest peaks you will find in the whole of the USA.
The highest peak at 20,320 feet above sea level is Denali or “The Great One”.
Alaska has the biggest coastline in the whole of the US. So much so, that it actually has more coast going for it than all of the other states put together.
There are all kinds of odd moose laws in Alaska. It’s illegal for you to give a moose beer to drink, and you can’t whisper to someone while they’re hunting a moose.
Another strange moose concerning law in Alaska legislates against pushing a moose from a plane or watching a moose from a plane.
In Alaska, if a moose, caribou, or bear is killed by a car it’s regarded as a property of the state. When roadkill is reported, the remains are butchered by volunteers and dispersed as food to charity organizations.
Thankfully, there are absolutely no plants in Alaska which can kill you by touching alone.
Alaska’s high-temperature record was 100° F in 1915. Alaska’s lowest temperature of -80° F was recorded in the Endicott Mountains.
Alaska is capable of producing some unusually oversized products because of their long summer days.
Alaska had some remarkable fruit and vegetables harvested in recent years that included a 35-pound broccoli, a 65-pound cantaloupe, and a 138-pound cabbage!
Each state has its own specific sport that’s unique to the region or is at least culturally important. Alaska’s is dog sledding, or dog mushing, which was once the main sort of transportation!
The state’s largest sporting event is the Iditarod dog sledding race.
The famous sled dog Balto is credited with delivering medicine to a distant Alaskan village, but some believe that Togo was the true hero. Before Balto finished the last 55 miles of the journey, Togo pulled the medicine through 200 miles of wind and snow.
In Wasilla, Alaska, Togo’s preserved body is on display at the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race Museum.
Alaska is the largest state in the US. It accounts for 20% of the whole of the country’s land mass. It’s also twice the size of the next-largest state, which is Texas.
You’ve heard statistics about how many rats there are to people – but what about bears? For every 21 people in Alaska, there is one bear!
Alaska is a fantastic producer of seafood, as much of the US’ crab and salmon come from here.
Alaska is home to around half of the world’s known glaciers. It really is a chilly place to visit, on the whole!
Fairbanks’s top-of-the-world location also makes it one of Earth’s best places to see the captivating light of the aurora borealis.
The Northern Lights, in Fairbanks, can be seen 243 days a year.
In many hotels in Alaska, upon request, you can have a wake-up call to see the Northern Lights.
America’s first museum solely devoted to hammers is in Haines, Alaska.
In the Hammer Museum in Haines, you can see the fascinating collections of hammer sculptures, handle-making machinery, and spring-loaded meat tenderizers.
The Northern Lights
The Fairbanks suburb of North Pole, Alaska lies around 1700 miles south of the geographic North Pole. The town’s Santa Claus House gift shop is open all year-round, and each year thousands of letters addressed to Santa are sent to the zip code.
In the Bering Straits that divides Alaska from Russia is the Russian island of Big Diomede and the U.S. island of Little Diomede, which are two and a half miles apart. So in theory, it’s very likely for some Alaskans to see Russia from their houses.
Japanese forces bombed and invaded the Aleutian Islands of Alaska following the attack on Pearl Harbour. The Japanese occupation lasted nearly a year.
The Tongass is America’s largest national forest. It’s about 3 times the size of the runner-up, which is also located in Alaska.
Brave Alaskans race to be crowned the king or queen of their throne in the Fur Rondy Festival outhouse races, each year.
John Carpenter’s “The Thing” the 1982 horror classic set in Antarctica, was filmed in Alaska.
In Alaska, there are 107 men for every 100 women. It’s the highest male-to-female ratio in the U.S.
Russia decided to sell Alaska to the United States for $7.2 million, in 1867.
Do you know any interesting or fun facts about Alaska that we’ve missed? Share them here in the comments section below!