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Alaska State Facts

Alaska is the largest state (in area) in the United States.

It became the 49th state in the Union in 1959 after being purchased from Russia in 1867.

Related: Alaska State History


It has the most glaciers in the United States and is home to wildlife including polar bears, walruses, beluga whales, black bears, and caribou.

Alaska is also home to more than 40 active volcanoes.


Quick Facts

  • Capital: Juneau
  • Population: 740,000
  • Nickname: The Last Frontier
  • Key Cities: Anchorage, Juneau, Fairbanks, Ketchikan
  • Postal Abbreviation: AK
  • Major Industries: Petroleum, tourism, fishing, mining, timber

Some Other Alaska Facts

  • 17 of the tallest mountains in America can be found in Alaska.
  • The biggest lake in Alaska is the same width as Connecticut; it is roughly 77 miles long. 
  • Alaska is home to 224 tribes and 20 indigenous languages. 
  • If the ocean wasn’t in the way, you could drive to Russia from Alaska! It is only about 50 miles away.
  • Alaska is one of five US states that does not have a sales tax. 
  • The coastlines in Alaska touch three different seas: the Bering Sea, Arctic Ocean, and the Pacific Ocean. 
  • 5% of Alaska is covered with glaciers. 
  • General estimates show that there is around one bear for every 21 people.


How did Alaska get its name: The state got its name from the Aleutian word “alaxsxaq,” meaning mainland.

When the territory belonged to Russia, the name “Alaska” was used to refer to the Alaska Peninsula only.

Once the United States purchased the land, they called the entire territory Alaska.


Date admitted to the Union: Saturday, January 3, 1959


Size: 663,300 sq. miles

Lowest point: Pacific Ocean at sea level

Highest point: McKinley (also called Denali) at 20,320 feet

Counties: 20 (referred to as boroughs)

Famous locations: Denali National Park and Preserve, Glacier Bay National Park, Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park, The Northern Lights in Fairbanks, the North Pole.

Northern Lights - Aurora Borealis
The Northern Lights (Aurora Borealis)

Famous Alaskans

Jack London- author

Jewel- singer

Curt Schilling- baseball player

Mario Chalmers- basketball player

Sarah Palin- politician

Carlos Boozer- basketball player

Fun Facts

Alaska’s flag was designed by a 13-year-old boy named Benny Benson.


Students from the territory were asked to submit their ideas, and Benny’s scene of the Big Dipper and North Star was declared the winner in 1926.

His design became the official state flag when Alaska joined the Union in 1959.

The highest temperature ever recorded in Alaska was 100 degrees Fahrenheit in Fort Yukon in 1915.


The lowest was -80 degrees Fahrenheit at Prospect Creek Camp in 1971.

Seventeen of the 20 highest peaks in the United States can be found in Alaska, including the highest peak in North America, Denali (previously called Mt. McKinley).

Denali National Park
Denali National Park

Alaska has more than 3,000 rivers and 3 million lakes. Its largest lake, Lake Iliamna, is about the size of the state of Connecticut.

Related: When is the best time to visit Alaska?

Alaska’s summer days are extremely long, and the extra sunlight sometimes produces extra-large produce.

These legendary veggies include a 35-pound broccoli and a 138-pound cabbage!


In Alaska, it’s illegal to whisper in someone’s ear while they are moose hunting.

It’s also illegal to push a moose from an airplane and to wake a sleeping bear for a photograph.

View more United States facts.


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