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Alaska

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Published on May 5, 2007

Alaska (IPA: /əˈlæskə/, Russian: Аляска) is a state in the United States of America, in the northwest of the North American continent. It is the largest U.S. state by area (by a substantial margin), and one of the wealthiest (per capita) and most racially diverse.[2][3]

The area that became Alaska was purchased from the Russian Empire on March 30, 1867. The land went through several administrative changes before becoming an organized territory on May 11, 1912 and the 49th state of the U.S. on January 3, 1959. The name "Alaska" is derived from the Aleut alaxsxaq, meaning "the mainland," or more literally, "the object towards which the action of the sea is directed."[4] It is also known as Alyeska, the "great land", an Aleut word derived from the same root
Geography
Alaska is one of two U.S. states not bordered by another state, Hawaii being the other. Alaska has more coastline than all the other U.S. states combined.[5] It is the only non-contiguous state in the continental US; about 500 miles (800 km) of Canadian territory separate Alaska from Washington State. Alaska is thus an exclave of the United States, part of the continental U.S. but is not part of the contiguous U.S.[6] Alaska's capital city, though located on the mainland of the North American continent, is inaccessible by land — no roads connect Juneau to the rest of the North American highway system.

The state is bordered by Yukon Territory and British Columbia, Canada, to the east, the Gulf of Alaska and the Pacific Ocean to the south, the Bering Sea, Bering Strait, and Chukchi Sea to the west and the Beaufort Sea and the Arctic Ocean to the north.

Alaska is the largest state in the United States in land area at 570,380 square miles (1,477,277 km²), more than twice as large as Texas, the next largest state. It is larger than all but 18 sovereign nations.


Near Little Port Walter in Southeast Alaska.
Nushagak River in Southwest Alaska.
Mount Sanford in the Wrangell Mountains.
Kenai River on the Kenai Peninsula.One scheme for describing the state's geography is by labeling the regions:

South Central Alaska is the southern coastal region and contains most of the state's population. Anchorage and many growing towns, such as Palmer, and Wasilla, lie within this area. Petroleum industrial plants, transportation, tourism, and two military bases form the core of the economy here.
The Alaska Panhandle, also known as Southeast Alaska, is home to many of Alaska's larger towns including the state capital Juneau, tidewater glaciers and extensive forests. Tourism, fishing, forestry and state government anchor the economy.
Southwest Alaska is largely coastal, bordered by both the Pacific Ocean and the Bering Sea. It is sparsely populated, and unconnected to the road system, but very important to the fishing industry. Half of all fish caught in the western U.S. come from the Bering Sea, and Bristol Bay has the world's largest sockeye salmon fishery. Southwest Alaska includes Katmai and Lake Clark national parks as well as numerous wildlife refuges. The region comprises western Cook Inlet, Bristol Bay and its watersheds, the Alaska Peninsula and the Aleutian Islands. It is known for wet and stormy weather, tundra landscapes, and large populations of salmon, brown bears, caribou, birds, and marine mammals.
The Alaska Interior is home to Fairbanks. The geography is marked by large braided rivers, such as the Yukon River and the Kuskokwim River, as well as Arctic tundra lands and shorelines.
The Alaskan Bush is the remote, less crowded part of the state, encompassing 380 native villages and small towns such as Nome, Bethel, Kotzebue and, most famously, Barrow, the northernmost town in the United States, as well as the northern most town on the contiguous North American continent (cities in Greenland, the Northwest Territories, and Nunavut that are farther north are on islands)

Alaska

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