The State of Alaska: Its Geography and Its People
Though romanticized through stories of the gold rush days, the State of Alaska’s history goes much farther back. Long before the frantic days of the gold rush and the early Russian settlements, let alone statehood, this land of snow, ice, and a thousand wonders was home to native tribes and their culture and way of life.
Alaska Facts: Its weather, the Arctic Circle and other natural wonders
The State of Alaska: Its people, history and geography
Cities & Towns: Explore the towns and cities of Alaska
Alaska Cruises: Discover the Land of the Midnight Sun and the Inside Passage
There are actually seven distinct cultural groups among the Eskimo (who call themselves the Inuit) and numerous sub-groups as well.
The primary cultural traditions are the Inupiat and Yupik of the Far North, Aleuts of the Southwest, Haida, Tlingit and Tsimshian tribes of the Inside Passage and the Athabascan tribe of the State of Alaska's Interior.
These descendents of Euro-Asian explorers, who crossed the prehistoric land bridge linking Siberia to North America, lived a hunter-gatherer nomadic life that was well suited to Alaska’s sometimes daunting climate.
Think about eating salmon in a 4-star restaurant . . . or enjoying Alaska King Crab while watching the sun kiss the horizon briefly on its way to the next sunrise. Come to Alaska via Princess Cruise Lines. The memories will last a lifetime.
Alaska and the Russian Connection
Alaska remained an unknown area to the contemporary world until 1741 when two Russian explorers, Bering and Chirikov, charted the region.
Following in their footsteps, Russian fur traders established temporary camps from which they could ply their craft. Ultimately, another Russian, Grigori Shelekohv, founded the first permanent settlement on Kodiak Island in 1784.
Alexander Baranof (or Baranov), who fashioned himself as the “Lord of Alaska,” set up his capital city of Sitka, also the ancestral home of the Kiksadi Clan of the Tlingits.
The cannons Baranof used to guard his capital are still visible today. Baranov was largely responsible for the spread of fur trading during the 1700s as far south as California
Denali National Park is the home of North America’s highest mountain, Mt. McKinley, also known as Denali. Denali National Park is also home to 37 species of animals and 153 species of birds.
Alaska and the United States
Following the Civil War, the American government actively pursued purchase of the Alaskan Territory from Russia, culminating in a treaty signed by both countries in 1867. There was disagreement as to how worthwhile the whole purchase was and, in fact, the entire affair was often called “Seward’s Folly.”
Even with the discovery of gold near Juneau in 1884, the Klondike in 1896, Nome in 1899 and Fairbanks in 1902, Alaska did not become a United States Territory until 1912. Though viewed as an important part of the war effort in World War II, and vital to the U.S. for its strategic location and mineral wealth, Alaska was not admitted as the 49th State until 1959.
Alaska’s Parks: Keepers of Natural Treasures
Alaska possesses a number of national parks that protect the natural treasures of the state and actively encourage their development. Denali National Park, with its six million acres, is the location of the 20,320-foot Mt. McKinley. Connected to both Fairbanks and Anchorage by the George Parks Highway and the Alaska Railroad link, Denali National Park has been a favorite destination for both first time and repeat visitors to the area.
Glacier Bay National Park allows the traveler to experience both the natural beauty of the land and the diverse wildlife that inhabits it. Nowhere else is it possible to see whales, wolves, eagles and bears in the same short span of time. Other parks and preserves throughout the state also allow the vacationer to enjoy the wonders of nature and the animal kingdom in an unsullied and pristine environment.
Climb Every Mountain . . .
or maybe you’d prefer to see the wild wonders of Alaska in pampered luxury. If so, you’ll have it all with an Alaskan cruise via Princess Cruise Lines!