Alaska History Timeline

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Bering's First Journey

1724 - 1726

In 1724, Vitus Bering was ordered to sail east from Russia. His expedition began on the Kamchatka peninsula in eastern Russia and took him to Alaska. On this trip Bering encountered the Bering Strait, and determined that Asia and America were separate. Bering’s return from this trip led to further exploration of Alaska by Russia.

Russia's Colony

1733 - 1867

Russia came to Alaska primarily to make money. They did this by forcing Aleut hunters to gather fur for them while their families were being held hostage, then taking the furs and selling them overseas. Eventually, two main groups of fur traders emerged from the individual traders until the Russian government consolidated them into one company.

First Permanent Russian Settlement


Alaska’s first Russian settlements began to pop up because of the furs brought back from earlier expeditions. Traders realized that they could make great profits by sailing to Alaska for fur, and set out for the Bering strait to establish hunting and trading posts. This was a terrible time for Alaska natives because of the brutality they faced at the hands of the Russians. In particular the Aleuts were forced to hunt for the Russians.

Bering's Death


Cook's Voyage

1768 - 1771

Cook's Death


The Europeans Fight over Alaska


Often the fighting over land done by the Europeans hurt the native population. In some cases, the Russians negotiated with the defeated natives and allowed them to stay on their land if they produced goods for the Russians. Then, Russia’s navy took over the colonies in Alaska and expanded them northward.

Baranov named First Russian Governor


Overland Routes Develop

1840 - 1933

Many people wanted better ways to travel across Alaska than the native trails that were available. So, congress and the military began looking for better routes and funding road constructions in Alaska and began taxing Alaskans. Then World War II hit, and the expansion of Alaska’s roads skyrocketed for several years until they were re-opened in 1948. Upon becoming a state, Alaska took began maintaining and constructing its own roads.

Gold Rush

1848 - 1939

All throughout Alaska and Canada gold was being found, and as news of the discoveries reached the world people swarmed to claim their own stake. However, people often arrived too late to get their own stake or could not make the arduous journey required to get there. From 1848 to World War two, gold was being looked for high and low, and many new towns were being created.

America's Territory

1867 - 1959

Because of financial and diplomatic issues, Russia sold Alaska to America in 1867. After its purchase, Alaska became unimportant to the government because of the other issues of the time; in fact, for a long time after the purchase, Alaska was completely government-free. One problem with the sale was that no one had consulted the natives about it, and they resented both parties for that.

Purchase of Alaska


Territorial Organic Act of 1912


Founding of Anchorage


Ualaska Bombed


Anti-Discrimination Act


Constitutional Convention

1955 - 1956

In the 1950’s the push for Alaska to become a state became much stronger. In 1955, delegates from around the state began to draft a state constitution to propose to congress. This draft was written at the University of Alaska Fairbanks to avoid political issues, and came into effect three years after its creation. One act that helped Alaska towards statehood was the unofficial election of two senators and a representative who were then sent to Washington D.C.

Alaska's Statehood

1959 - Present

Arctic National Wildlife Refuge


Anchorage Earthquake


Also known as the Portage Earthquake and the Good Friday Earthquake, this super quake was the second largest ever reported. It primarily hit Anchorage with Valdez and several other cities sustaining less substantial damage. The damage in Anchorage was so severe that in lifted the streets so that they were uneven in some places, and totaled many houses.

Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act


Alaska Pipeline built

1974 - 1977

Alaska Permanent Fund Established


The Alaska Permanent Fund is a fund managed by the Alaska Permanent Fund Corporation. It was created shortly after Alaska’s oil began flowing to make sure that as much money from oil revenues as possible could be saved for future generations. At current there are about 42.1 million dollars in the fund which is used for several things, including e yearly PFD (permanent fund dividend) given to all citizens of Alaska.

Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act


First PFD distributed