Alaska is the largest state by area in the United States. It was also the 49th state to join the United States (Hawaii was the 50th one, in case you did not know). There’s probably a lot that you dpn’t know about The Last Frontier (so named because it’s far from every state that’s part of the continental USA), but my aim is to change that…
Here are 20 Facts You Might Not Have Known About Alaska
1. It’s Bigger Than You Think It Is
I’ve already said that Alaska is the largest state by area in the USA, but do you really know how big it is? It’s occuppies more land than Texas, California and Montana combined. Alaska’s land area is more than 1.7 million square kilometres (more than 663 thousand square miles). The whole of South Africa can basically fit into Alaska.
2. The state has an estimated population of 710,000
Alaska has a population density of 0.49 people per square kilometre (1.26 people per square mile). If Manhattan, New York, had the same population density as the state, only 16 people would be living on the island. The biggest Alaskan city is Anchorage (with a population of roughly 288,000). The state capital is Juneau (which has a population of only 31,000).
3. The state’s name comes from the Aleut word “Alyeska”
The Aleut people and the islands are divided between Alaska and the Russian administrative division of Kamchatka Krai. The word means “Great Land”.
4. At the closest point, Alaska is approximately 80 km (50 miles) from Russia
It would take you less than an hour if you could drive accross the ocean. Alaska and Russia is seperated by the Bering Strait (a strip of ocean which is named after a Danish Explorer who worked for the Russian Empire).
5. The state contains more than 100 volcanoes and volcanic fields
These have been active within the last two million years. According to the US. Geological Survey, Alaska volcanoes have only produced one or two eruptions since 1900.
6. Alaska has a lot of lakes, rivers and glaciers
There are more than 3,000 rivers, 3 million lakes and more than 100,000 glaciers in the state. The state also has a longer coastline than the rest of the USA combined. It’s also the only US state to have coastlines on there different seas: The Arctic Ocean, Pacific Ocean, and Bering Sea.
7. The lowest temperature recorded in the state was -80 degrees Fahrenheit (-62 degrees Celcius)
This temperature was recorded at Prospect Creek Camp in 1971. The highest temperature recorded in the state was 100 degrees Fahrenheit (37 degrees Celcius). This was recorded at Fort Yukon in 1915.
8. The state has a lot of pilots
According to July 2015 figures there are more than 10,000 registered pilots in Alaska. That’s more than 1% of the population and 3.6 times higher than the US average. The state has a lot of airports (because a lot of places in the state are only accessible via air or water).
9. The Northern Lights are visible in Fairbanks for 243 days in a year
Fairbanks is the largest city in the Interior region of Alaska. The Northern Lights are produced by charged electrons and protons striking the earth’s upper atmosphere. They are really a sight to see. Many hotels in the state offer Northern Lights wake-up calls upon request.
10. Juneau has no road access to the rest of the state
It is the only state capital in the United States that is only accessible by boat or plane.
11. Barrow, Alaska has the longest and shortest day
When the sun rises on May 10th, it doesn’t set for nearly 3 months. When it sets on November 18th, residents don’t see the sun for nearly 2 months.
12. Moose, caribou and bears killed by cars are considered property of the state
When road kill is reported, the carcasses are butchered by volunteers and distributed as food to charity organizations.
13. Some great movies has been filmed here
Into The Wild (2007), John Carpenter’s The Thing (1982), The Hunt For Red October (1990), Insomnia (2002) and Star Trek VI: the Undiscovered Country (1991) was filmed in this state.
14. The state has spawned some musicians and actors
Portugal. The Man, Jewel, 36 Crazyfists all hail from the Last Frontier. James Morrison (The X-Files, Frasier, 24), Darby Stanchfield (NCIS), Khleo Thomas (Walking Tall), Joshua Morrow (The Young And The Restless) and Nathan West (D2: The Mighty Ducks, Not Another Teen Movie) were all born in Alaska.
15. Russia sold Alaska to the USA for $7.2 million
This amounted to 2 cents per acre. The deal was initially ridiculed and called “Seward’s Folly” and other names in the press. When gold was found in the state in 1898, people flocked to the region.
16. Giant vegetables are common in Alaska
This is due to the extremely long days in summer. Scott Robb still holds the world record for his 62 kilogram (138.25 lbs) cabbage presented at the state fair in 2012. Scott and Mardie Robb also hold the record for the world’s largest turnip coming in at 17 kilograms (39 lbs 3 oz).
17. By area, Anchorage is one of the largest cities in the USA
The city encompassies 5061 square kilometres (1,961 square miles). That’s nearly the size of the state of Delaware.
18. Alaska has some interesting laws
It is illegal to push a live moose out of a moving airplane and to whisper in someone’s ear while they are moose hunting. It’s also illegal to wake a sleeping bear for the purposes of taking a picture. It’s also considered a reprimandable offense to feed alcoholic beverages to a moose. This might sound like some weird laws, but I suppose there are legit reasons.
19. Juneau is a wild place
The city is home to 280 species of birds, brown and black bears, five species of salmon, and whales (primarily humpback and orca).
20. The highest building in the state is in Anchorage
It’s called the ConocoPhillips Building and it has only 22 storeys. The building was built in 1983 by oil companies.
Well, there you have it, 20 facts you might not have known about Alaska. If I left out something important, feel free to comment on this article. If you found it interesting, feel free to share it with your friends on your social media profiles.
Watch this space for updates in the Facts category on Running Wolf”s Rant.
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