Alaskan History

The Chronological Events of some of the most important evens to take place in Alaska.


Bering's First Journey

1725 - 1728

Peter the Great sends Vitus Bering to explore the Northern Pacific to seek a Northeast Passage. He eventually finds out that North America and Russia aren't connected and this is how the Bering Strait got it's name.

Cook's Voyage

1778 - 1779

The goal of Cook's last voyage was to find a Northwest Passage between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. While attempting this, he discovered the Hawaiian Islands and eventually was killed on a return visit to Hawaii.

First Permanent Russian Settlement


Grigorii Shelikov establishes the first non-Native settlement at Three Saints Bay on Kodiak Island.

Baranov Named First Russian Governor

1799 - 1818

The organization of the Russian American Company made Baranov the governor of Russia-America until 1818.


Purchase of Alaska


The U.S. purchases Alaska from Russia for $7.2 million in gold (approximately 2 cents per acre).

Gold Rush


The "Three Lucky Swedes" find gold on Anvil Creek. News spreads and soon Nome becomes the largest town in Alaska for the time being.
The rush caused chaos; gangs roamed the streets, buildings were set on fire to provide cover for looters, and claims were jumped.

Territorial Act of 1912


Alaska went from being the "District of Alaska" to being an organized, incorporated territory of the United States.

Alaska Native Brotherhood


Organized in Southeast; Founded in Sitka. During the conventions, they strive to reach a solution to correct injustices forced upon our Indian people.

Indian Citizenship Act


Congress extends citizenship to all American Indians born in the U.S.


1942 - 1945

Japan bombs Dutch Harbor and invades the Aleutian Islands.
The weather in the Bering Sea was more hard to fight off than the Japanese were. Out of everyone who fought, a total of approximately 50-70 million deaths occurred during this time.

Anti-Discrimination Act


This act provided was established to provide full and equal accommodations, facilities and privileges to all citizens in places of accommodation within the jurisdiction of the Territory of Alaska; to provide penalties to violations.

Constitutional Convention


Territorial voters adopt the Alaska Constitution; they send two senators and one representative to Washington under the Tennessee Plan.




President Eisenhower signs the statehood bill on January 3rd and with that, Alaska becomes the 49th state in the U.S.

Anchorage Earthquake


At the time, the Anchorage Earthquake, or the "Good Friday Earthquake" was the largest earthquake ever recorded in North America - with a magnitude of 9.2!
Damage was immense; buildings collapsed, an elementary school ripped in half, and 4th Avenue Street dropped 11 feet.

ANCSA - Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act


The ANCSA is passed, giving Alaska Natives significant amounts of land and they established the Native Corporations.

Alaska Permanent Fund


The constitutional amendment to establish the Permanent Fund is approved by voters by a vote of about 75 thousand to 38 thousand.
This was established to help manage fund investments, but today it helps out a lot of Alaskans to a great extent.

Trans-Alaska Pipeline


The Trans-Alaska Pipeline is completed from Prudhoe Bay to Valdez, where the first drop of oil actually hit.

ANILCA - Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act


Congress passes this act to designate certain public lands in Alaska as units of the National Park, National Wildlife Refuge, Wild and Scenic Rivers, National Wilderness Preservation and National Forest Systems.

Oil Prices


Oil prices drop to below ten dollars a barrel, which caused Alaskan oil workers' income to drop as well.

Arctic National Wildlife Refuge


The largest land-based unit of the National Wildlife Refuge System that is established to protect the wildlife, wilderness, and recreational qualities.

Exxon Valdez Oil Spill


A drunken truck driver crashes an oil truck, causing the oil to spill into a reef in Prince William Sound - spilling 11 million gallons of oil!
This required 10,000 clean up workers, 1,000 boats and 100 airplanes and helicopters to clean up. These clean up efforts resulted in 4 human, 2,800 Sea Otter, 300 Harbor Seal, 900 Bald Eagle, and 250,000 seabird deaths.