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Facts about Alaska

History | Symbols | Interesting Facts | Famous People

Statehood:  January 3, 1959, the 49th state

Capital:  Juneau

Total Area:  1st among states, 1,717,854 sq km (663,267 sq mi)

Water Area:  116,177 sq km (44,856 sq mi)

Highest Point:  Mount McKinley, 6,194 m (20,321 ft)

Total Population:  47th among states
2010 census -  710,231

Population Density in 2010:  1.2 people per sq mi

Distribution in 2000:  65.6% Urban, 34.4% Rural

Gross State Product - $45.6 billion (2010)
Personal income per Capita - $42,603 (2009)

Largest cities in 2010:  
Anchorage:  291,826
Fairbanks:  31,535
Juneau:  31,275

  • A 13-year-old boy, Bennie Benson, designed the Alaskan Flag in 1926.

  • Alaska’s coastline, 6,640 miles, is longer than all the other states’ coastlines combined.  It is the United State’s largest state, measuring 1,400 miles long and 2,700 miles wide; Rhode Island could fit into Alaska 425 times. 

  • Alaska has more inland water than any other state, 20,171 square miles.

  • During the Klondike gold rush in 1897, potatoes were so highly valued for their vitamin C content, that miners traded gold for them.

  • Juneau is the only capital city in the United States accessible only by boat or plane.  It is also the largest U.S. city covering 3,108 square miles.  Los Angeles covers only 458.2 square miles. 

  • More bald eagles gather along the Chilkat River than at any other place in the world.

  • There are more than 100,000 glaciers in Alaska and about 75% of all the fresh water in the state is stored as glacial ice.

  • Alaska accounts for 25% of the oil produced in the United States.  Daily average yield of an oil well at full production in Alaska’s Prudhoe Bay is 10,000 barrels.  In the other 48 states, the average is only 11 barrels. 

  • Alaska has the 16 highest peaks in the United States.  Mount McKinley is the highest mountain peak in all of North America. 

  • The record low temperature is -80ºF at Fort Yukon on June 27, 1915. 

  • The Trans-Alaska Pipeline moves up to 88,000 barrels of oil per hour on a 800 mile journey to Valdez.

  • Alaska’s name comes from the Eskimo word Alakshak, meaning great lands or peninsula.

  • There are over three million lakes in Alaska.  The largest, Lake Iliamna, is the size of Connecticut.
  • Of the 20 highest mountains in the United States, 17 are in Alaska. Mount McKinley, North America's largest mountain at 6194 m (20,320 ft), is a highlight of Denali National Park and Preserve.

  • The Malaspina Glacier, at the foot of Mount Saint Elias, covers an area larger than Rhode Island.

  • The native Aleut population, estimated at between 15,000 and 20,000 before Europeans arrived, dropped to 2247 by 1834 largely due to the introduction of guns and diseases such as smallpox, measles, and tuberculosis.

  • The United States purchased Alaska from Russia in 1867 for $7.2 million.