Alaska is a US state located northwest of Canada. It used to be part of the Russian Empire until it was sold to the United States of America on March 30, 1867. This is a historical event known today as the Alaska Purchase.
According to researches, the Russian settlement came to Alaska sometime in the 17th century. It was considered as an international center of trade. Merchants flocked in and out of Alaska to trade fabrics, tea, coal, and expensive goods such as walrus ivory and sea otter fur. The area was also known to have a number of gold deposits.
Despite its wealth in resources and commercial activity, however, the Russians found it difficult to keep it after they were beaten by Great Britain in the Crimean War. It was in 1959 when Russian Tsar Alexander II was convinced by his younger brother Grand Duke Konstantin to sell Alaska to either the USA or Great Britain. This, according to Konstantin, was better that losing Alaska in the war.
While the USA took interest in the offer, it wasn’t possible to pursue it at that time, because it had more pressing concerns as it was engulfed in the American Civil War. After the civil, war in 1867 Alaska was again offered to the US through Secretary of State William Seward and President Andrew Johnson. The two parties came to an agreement, and Alaska was turned over to the US for a price of $7.2 million.
At the height of World War II, 3 islands located in Alaska, Attu, Agattu, and Kiska, were captured by Japanese forces. They occupied it from June 1942 to August 1943 before letting the islands fall back into American hands.
On January 3, 1959, Alaska was officially named as an American state, together with Hawaii. Today, Alaska is still a US state but there are many Russian nationalists who are demanding that the state be given back to them. The US, however, has been mum on these reports.