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Alaska Symbols, State Names
Browse the state's symbols; state animal, state bird, state flower, state flag, state fossil, state insect, state motto, state seal, state tree, color, dance, fish, mammal, music, nut, reptile seal, and miscellaneous designations, emblems, and mascot of each state with pictures. Find origin of the state name. View the state almanacs, state timelines and peruse state facts and stats such as the capitol, location, and date admitted to the union.
The Last Frontier - Alaska, admitted as the 49th state on January 03, 1959 to the union is thought of as "America's Last Frontier" because of it's distance from the lower 48 states and it's rugged landscape and climate.
Land of the Midnight Sun - Refers to Alaska's northern locations where, for a period of time, in the summer, the sun never completely dips below the horizon. The sun is visible at midnight. Some parts of Alaska such as Barrow, the sun doesn't set for 84 days.
The Great Land
Seward's Folly - After the agreement to purchase Alaska, 1867 the name was given after Secretary of State William Seward, who proposed the often-ridiculed purchase and the official acceptance of the name Alaska.
Seward's Icebox - Derisive name given to the Alaska territory during the battle between Secretary of State William H. Seward and the United States Congress over the purchase of the land from Russia.
Russian America - Before it was purchased by the United States in 1867.
Territory of Baranov - For Alexander Baranov, the early Russian leader on this continent.
Origin of Name
The name Alaska is derived from the Yupik word "Alyeska," meaning "great land" or “that which the sea breaks against.”
The Aleuts lived on the Aleutian Islands, a chain that extends westward from a large peninsula in southwestern Alaska. The first large island is Unimak Island, where the village of False Pass and Shishaldin Volcano sit. From their perspective, the peninsula led to a large land, the continent of North America.
The name "Alaska" was used by early Russian and British explorers and settlers to refer only to the peninsula. This name was used by the United States to refer first to the entire Territory and then to the State after its purchase in 1867.
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Chugach National Forest
Tongass National Forest