18 October 2010

On 18 October 1867, United States Gets Alaska

I've been remiss at throwing out some tidbits of history.  Today I'm changing that by posting an "On This Day in History" entry.

On this day in history, 18 October 1867, the United States takes formal possession of Alaska from Russia at a cost of $7.2 million. 
 On March 30, 1867, Secretary of State William H. Seward signed a treaty with Russia for the purchase of Alaska for $7.2 million. Despite the bargain price of roughly two cents an acre, the Alaskan purchase was ridiculed in Congress and in the press as "Seward's folly," "Seward's icebox," and President Andrew Johnson's "polar bear garden." Nevertheless, the Senate ratified purchase. Critics believed that was too much money for land that was cold and barren. The critics were forced to change their tune when major discoveries of gold were made there in the 1880s and 1890s. These discoveries brought attention and people to Alaska. Today, petroleum transported across the state through a pipeline is Alaska's richest mineral resource. For more information, the treaty that ceded Alaska to the United States is here


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