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Description of Alaska, US
Located in the far northwestern corner of North America, Alaska is a Western state of the United States. The Chukotka Autonomous Okrug of the Russian Federation is just across the Bering Strait to the west, and shares maritime borders with it. Located in the Arctic Ocean are the Chukchi and Beaufort seas, while the Pacific Ocean can be found to the south and southwest.
If you combine the size of all three of America's next-largest states (Texas, California, and Montana), Alaska is the largest. It ranks as the world's seventh-largest subnational division. With a population of 736,081 in 2020, it is the continent's most populous territory north of the 60th parallel, more than quadrupling the combined populations of Northern Canada and Greenland. It is the third-least populous and most sparsely populated state. The Anchorage metropolitan area is home to about half of Alaska's residents. There are more people in Juneau than there are in Rhode Island and Delaware put together, making it the second largest city in the United States by area. In terms of land area, Sitka, the former capital of Alaska, is the largest U.S. city.
In the present moment, Alaska has been home to numerous indigenous peoples for thousands of years, and many historians believe that the Bering land bridge served as a point of entry for the first Europeans to settle in North America. The Russian Empire began colonizing the area in the 18th century, eventually establishing Russian America, which includes the majority of what is now the state of Alaska. In 1867, the United States paid US$7.2 million (about $140 million in 2021 dollars) for this far-flung possession, or about two cents per acre ($4.74/km2). Administrative changes occurred in the region prior to the May 11, 1912, annexation of the territory. It became the 49th state of the union on January 3, 1959.
Alaska has one of the highest per capita incomes in the country, despite having one of the smallest economies in the country. This is due to a diverse economy dominated by fishing, natural gas, and oil, all of which are abundant in the state. Federal lands cover more than half of the state and include a large number of national forests, parks, and wildlife refuges. This includes military bases as well as tourist attractions.
Over 15% of Alaska's population is indigenous, making it the most so in the United States. Alaskan Natives have a significant impact on local and state politics, with nearly two dozen native languages spoken.
Geography of Alaska
The state of Alaska is made up of eight distinct physiographic and environmental areas. The St. Elias Mountains lie east and south of the narrow strip of land 25 to 50 miles (40 to 80 km) wide that is the mainland panhandle region. The Boundary Ranges make up the majority of this narrow strip. The Alaska-Yukon border shifts north along the 141st meridian from Mount St. Elias (5,489 meters), which is the highest point in the region. In the west, the Chugach Range, a massive arc that juts out into the Gulf of Alaska, completes this mountain range's western arc. Relief and glaciation have prevented the exploitation of many of the range's remote valleys and high ridges. Coastal mountain slopes have been transformed into dense rain forests by frequent and intense oceanic storms.
Known for its changing climate, Alaska's ocean currents have a significant impact on the region's weather. The Alaska Current bathes the western coasts of the Aleutian Islands with relatively warm Pacific waters. The Bering Sea receives these warm ocean waters, which then make their way eastward along the Aleutian Islands' northern coast. The Aleutian low, a region of low atmospheric pressure, is formed when warm and cold water in the Bering Sea mix together. A cold westward-flowing current bathes the Arctic coast of Alaska.
Wildlife such as walruses and bears are common in the waters off the north and west coasts of the state of Alaska. There are several other large brown bear species in the Arctic, including the Kodiak, which is the world's largest brown bear. As a bonus, there are also albatrosses, eagles, and loons to be found in Alaska.
For example, you'll find Sitka spruce (the official state tree of Alaska) as well as hemlock and pine in this area. The forget-me-not, the official state flower, emits a faint, nocturnal scent.
Even though gold is the state's most valuable export, zinc is the more widely known. Timber, fish, coal, and jade, Alaska's state gemstone, are all well-known in the state.
The Economy of Alaska
Alaska had a workforce of 266,072 as of 2016. More than 21,000 companies employed more than 20,000 people at the time.
Gross domestic product in 2018 was $55 billion, making it the 48th-largest in the country. It ranked seventh in the country in 2018 in terms of personal income per capita with $73,000. At 6.75 percent, Alaska had the fifth-highest per capita percentage of millionaires in the United States, according to a Phoenix Marketing International study from 2013. Petroleum extraction generates more than 80% of Alaska's revenue, making it the state's dominant industry. Salmon, cod, pollock, and crab are Alaska's primary seafood exports, with oil and natural gas a distant second.
Alaska's economy is almost entirely based on mining and forestry. Nursery stock, dairy products, vegetables, and livestock are among the agricultural products produced primarily for domestic consumption. The vast majority of the country's food and other necessities are shipped in from abroad.
The government and natural resource extraction, shipping, and transportation industries employ the majority of workers. Kodiak Island, Anchorage, and Fairbanks-North Star all benefit greatly from the presence of military bases. The state is able to keep taxes low because of the importance of federal subsidies to the economy. Crude oil, natural gas, coal, gold, precious metals, zinc, and other mining products, seafood processing, and timber and wood products are some of its industrial outputs. Service and tourism industries are also growing. Visitors have helped to keep local hotels open, which has boosted the local economy.