Population: 737,438 (Source: 2012 U.S. Census)
Major Cities: Anchorage, Fairbanks, Juneau, Badger
Borders: Canada, the Gulf of Alaska, the Pacific Ocean, The Bering Sea, and the Arctic Ocean
Gross Domestic Product (GDP): 51,859 million (2012 U.S. Department of Commerce)
Oil and gas (over 80%), seafood, mining
How Alaska got its name: The word Alaska comes from the Aleut word alaxsxaq which means the mainland.
Click on map for larger view
Alaska State Symbols
State Nickname: Last Frontier
State Slogan: Beyond Your Dreams, Within Your Reach
State Motto: North to the Future
State flower: Forget-me-not
State bird: Willow Ptarmigan
State fish: King salmon
State tree: Sitka Spruce
State mammal: Moose, Bowhead whale
State foods: Salmon
Becoming a State
Date admitted: Saturday, January 3, 1959
Number admitted: 49
Prior Name: Alaska Territory
Postal Abbreviation: AK
The Geography of Alaska
Total Size: 571,951 sq. miles (source: 2003 Census)
Geographical Low Point: Pacific Ocean at Sea Level (source: U.S. Geological Survey)
Geographical High Point: Mount McKinley (Denali) 20,320 ft (6194 m)
Central Point: Located approx. 63 N., 152 W., 60 miles northwest of Mt. McKinley (source: U.S. Geological Survey)
Counties: 16 Boroughs (source: National Association of Counties)
Bodies of Water: Pacific Ocean, Arctic Ocean, Bering Sea, Gulf of Alaska, Yukon river, Kuskokwim River, Iliamna Lake, Becharof Lake, Teshekpuk Lake
- Benny Benson - Designed the Alaskan state flag at the age of 13.
- Carlos Boozer - NBA basketball player.
- Jimmy Doolittle - WWII general and war hero.
- Wyatt Earp - Lawman from the American West.
- Joseph Juneau - Gold prospector and founder of the city of Juneau.
- Sarah Palin - Governor who ran for Vice President.
- Curt Schilling - Professional baseball player who pitched for the Boston Red Sox.
- Robert Stroud - Killer known as the 'Birdman of Alcatraz.'
- The capital of Alaska, Juneau, does not connect with the rest of Alaska (or any portion of the United States) by land. You can only get there by boat or plane.
- Alaska is the largest U.S. state, by far. Its twice as big as the next largest state, Texas.
- Mount McKinley is the tallest mountain in all of North America.
- Alaska is the coldest state, but parts of it can get hot in the summer; up to 90 degrees F.
- Nome, Alaska holds the Great American Bathtub Race on Labor Day each year.
- Alaska was purchased from Russia for $7.2 million in 1867 by U.S. Secretary of State William Seward. Many people thought this was a waste and called it Seward's Folly, until they discovered gold!
- Gold was discovered here in 1896.
- Japan invaded the Aleutian Islands in 1943 during World War II.
- Around 25% of the oil produced in the United States comes from Alaska.
- Alaska has the longest shoreline of any US State with over 30,000 miles of shoreline.
Professional Sports Teams
Alaska has no major professional sports teams.
Geography >> US States>> Alaska History
For state symbols, flag, maps, geography, and fun facts: