Alaska [English pronunciation əlæʹskə; Russian pronunciation ɐl j aʹskə],
abbreviated AK, state of the northwest US; 1.5 million km2,
737,400 residents (2018).Alaska makes up 1/6 of the entire US area and is
separated from Asia by the only 90 km wide Bering Strait. Alaska became the 49th
state of the United States in 1959. The capital is Juneau. Check
abbreviationfinder for more abbreviations of Alaska as well as other
acronyms that have the same abbreviation like
Alaska. State Map.
Terrain shapes and bedrock
Alaska encompasses most of the peninsula that makes up the northwestern part
of North America and extends to the Asian continent. The majority is mountainous
and inaccessible with glaciers and volcanoes. From a geographical point of view,
Alaska can be divided into four regions.
Farthest to the coast in the south, the pacific mountain region is spread by
two arcuate mountain ranges, which run parallel to the Pacific coast. The
exterior of them is a continuation to the north of the US Coast Mountains and
forms the Kenai Peninsula and Kodia Island with nearby islands. The inner chain,
which is a continuation to the north of the mountain range with the Sierra
Nevada and the Cascade Mountains, includes the mighty Alaska Range.
Alaska. Denali, located in the Alaska Range and is
the highest mountain in the United States and North America (6,194 meters above
It continues southwest and forms the Alaska Peninsula and the long
archipelago of the Aleutians. There are large glaciers and about ten active
volcanoes, for example Katmai, on the peninsula itself and some forty on the
Aleutians, of which more than 25 are active.
To the north of the Pacific mountains the region of the Inner Basin is
spreading with plains and plateaus. The area is dominated by the mighty Yukon
River, which flows into the southern part of the Bering Sea. The average height
of the plateau is 1,050 m above sea level. In the northern part of Alaska is the
third landform region, an arctic rock massif with the Brooks Mountains as the
main mountain range.
Alaska. Dalton Highway with Brooks Mountains in the
background. To the right are oil lines.
There are extremely inaccessible and partly unknown mountain regions. A
northern slope area forms the fourth natural region, the Arctic coastal plain,
which reaches a width of up to 240 km.
The climate shows great differences, partly as a result of topographical
differences. Along the Pacific coast there is a temperate climate with cool
summers and high rainfall. The interior of the country has a cold continental
climate with low rainfall and permafrost in the soil. In the northern Bering
Sound and along the Arctic coast there are polar climates with short, chilly
summers and long, cold winters. The annual rainfall is more than 2,000 mm in the
west and 300 mm along the north coast. The vegetation period is short, 132 days
in the Kenai Peninsula and 97 days at Fairbanks.
Flora and fauna
The coastal areas of the north and west, including the Aleutians, have
treeless tundra vegetation. The coastal strip bordering Canada in the southeast
is overgrown with coniferous forests of, for example, sitkagran and hemlock
species. The central lowlands, including the southern slopes of Brooksbergen,
are largely covered by boreal coniferous forests with spruces and birch. About
1,560 species of vascular plants are known from Alaska.
Reindeer and moose are numerous. The area houses many predators, e.g. wolf,
mountain fox, wolverine, brown bear (grizzly bear), black bear and along the
northern coast polar bear. The tundra is an important breeding ground for
pockets, geese, ducks and waders. Along the coast, dozens of algae
breed. Humpback and dog salmon migrate into the rivers to play and are then
popular prey for both brown bears and anglers. Sea otters and northern fur seals
were both few at the beginning of the 20th century due to hard hunting, but are
now again in a satisfactory number. Walrus and several species of whales are
also found along the coasts.
Alaska's indigenous population of Indians, Inuit (Eskimos) and Aleutians in
recent years has constituted just under 15 percent of the population. From 1940,
when the population was 70,000, immigration to Alaska has been large, mainly to
the Anchorage area, which now houses just under half of the state's population
(402,600 residents, 2016) and which is the economically dominant region.
Attempts have been made in recent years to move the capital here from Juneau,
which, like Sitka (capital during the 19th century) is located in the southeast.
The second largest city is Fairbanks (32,300 residents) inland. At
the far north is Barrow, which with its 4,200 residents is one of America's
largest Inuit settlements.
Fur hunting and later whaling were the most important industries in Alaska
from the beginning. During the latter part of the 1800s and early 1900s, Alaska
experienced a huge gold rush. Many cities, such as Juneau, Skagway, Nome and
Fairbanks, are gold mining communities from the beginning. Major federal
investments for military purposes have been made in Alaska during and after the
Second World War, including in airfields and roads, which have contributed
greatly to business development. In the 1950s, oil and natural gas began to be
mined, and in 1968 major oil discoveries were made at the Arctic
Ocean. Following opposition from indigenous peoples and environmental
representatives, a pipeline was completed across Alaska from 1977, from Prudhoe
Bay to the ice-free port of Valdez in the south (see Alaska Line). Oil revenues
now account for about 80 percent of the state's revenue. Fishing, with
associated freezing and canning industries, is also of great importance to
Alaska's business community.
An industry under strong growth is also tourism, but the "exploitation" of
the wilderness entails conflicts with conservation interests. The climate allows
agriculture to a limited extent, including around Anchorage and Fairbanks
(barley, potatoes, some vegetables). Forest resources in the south and southeast
have begun to be utilized, and wood processing industries have been built. Large
mineral resources exist, such as copper, tin, mercury and platinum, but they are
difficult to extract. Lower quality coal is broken. Gold production still has
Tourism and gastronomy
After oil extraction, tourism (along with fishing and forestry) is the
state's most important source of income; nature experiences as well as sport
fishing and hunting attract in the first place. Alaska's main asset in the
longer term is considered to be the largely untouched nature. There are a large
number of national parks or otherwise protected natural areas. The most famous
and accessible national parks are Denali and Glacier Bay. The largest is
Wrangell-Saint Elias with an area corresponding to Jämtlands.
Those interested in cultural history can study, among other things. Native
American totem poles in Totem Bight (Tlingit and Haida Indians) near Ketchikan
in southern Alaska, as well as in the old capital Sitka (Tlingit), which also
has monuments from the Russian era.
Gold digging epoch can be experienced in Skagway and Fairbanks. Skagway was
the gateway to the Klondike gold rush in Canada, and here is the large Klondike
Gold Rush Historic Park.
The gastronomic diversity can surprise many. In the valleys of the south you
manage to grow cabbage, lettuce, barley and oats, otherwise the pantry is filled
from the sea (salmon, halibut and herring; however, whale meat has lost its
popularity in any case among tourists) or through the wild (bear, elk,
reindeer). Cranberry ketchup and ice cream on strawberries can be offered to the
Sourdough bread is a signal for this part of the United States; a tradition
that has emerged from the harsh conditions of the gold miners. These carried a
small piece of dough with them from the last bread tray where they went to get
the next dough to ferment; The dough lump is soured by yeast fungi and the
lactic acid bacteria in the air. This the only way previously known to have
bread to ferment has evolved into a flora of recipes in Alaska, such as potato
bread with poppy seeds, white French bread and whole grain bread.
Flight is the most important mode of transport. Alaska has a well-developed
regular flight network and an extensive private flight. The only railroad is the
Seward-Anchorage-Fairbanks line. The road network is limited. The Alaska Highway
(2,450 km), built during the Second World War from Fairbanks to Dawson Creek in
Canada, is the only land transport connection to the rest of the United
States. It is supplemented by ferry service (Marine Highway) from Seattle /
Prince Rupert through port cities in southeastern Alaska to Haines, from where
there is a road connection (about 250 km) to Alaska Highway west of Whitehorse
in Canada. Freight transport to and from Alaska goes to 90 percent by sea,
primarily via Seattle.
Alaska was discovered in 1741 by Vitus Bering, a Danish explorer in Russian
service, and was crossed early by Russian fur hunters. During the 18th century,
Britain, Spain and France also showed interest in the area. Later, conflicts
erupted with the Hudson's Bay Company expanding from Canada, until a treaty
regulated the boundary of the area. Russia had only exploited Alaska and not
colonized it, and when the profitability of the fur trade began to decline, in
1867 Alaska was sold to the United States for $ 7.2 million. The discovery of
gold deposits caused new border disputes, before a treaty in 1903 determined the
Alaska-Canada border. The discovery of gold in i.a. The Klondike in 1896 led to
increased settlement, and in 1912 Alaska was given the status of territory with
its own legislative assembly.
During World War II, Alaska gained strategic importance, which was further
accentuated by the growing contradictions to the Soviet Union after the
war. Requirements for the state of Alaska were crowned with success in 1959,
when Alaska became the United States' 49th state. The political contradictions
have later been mainly between groups that wanted to develop Alaska industrially
and economically with the help of the country's large natural resources and, on
the other, groups that wanted to guard Alaska's natural areas. These
contradictions were sharpened by the discovery of large oil deposits. Initially
dominated by the Democratic Party, Alaska has developed into a two-party state
with stiff competition between Democrats and Republicans.