Humans began to inhabit Alaska at the end of the Upper Paleolithic Period (around 12,000 BCE), when Asiatic groups crossed the Bering Land Bridge into what is now western Alaska. The state was populated by Alaska Native groups at the time Europeans first made contact with Alaska in 1741. A limited number of Russian colonists inhabited the state during the late 18th through the mid-19th century. Gold rushes in the late 19th century brought thousands of miners to Alaska, World War II expanded the state's infrastructure, and the 1960s discovery of oil attracted more residents. Presently, there are approximately 670,000 humans in Alaska, many of whom live in the state's few urban areas. According to the 2000 U.S. Census, 75% of Alaska residents are white. 19% are American Indian or Alaska Native, the largest proportion of any state. Multiracial/Mixed-Race people are the third largest group of people in the state, totaling 6.9% of the population.
Indigenous peoples of the Americas from the prehistoric arrival of the earliest Siberian hunters to todayÂ’s Arctic Slope oil exploration Â– is a unified simple but grand theme: peopleÂ’s efforts to maintain a living from the regionÂ’s vast natural resources despite its extreme conditions.
The indigenous peoples of the Americas are the pre-Columbian inhabitants of the Americas, their descendants, and many ethnic groups who identify with those peoples. They are often also referred to as Native Americans, First Nations and by Christopher Columbus' historical mistake "American Indians" or "AmerIndians".
While some indigenous peoples of the Americas were historically hunter-gatherers, many practiced aquaculture and agriculture. The impact of their agricultural endowment to the world is a testament to their time and work in reshaping, taming, and cultivating the flora indigenous to the Americas. Some societies depended heavily on agriculture while others practiced a mix of farming, hunting, and gathering. In some regions the indigenous peoples created monumental architecture, large-scale organized cities, chiefdoms, states, and massive empires.
According to the still debated New World migration model, a migration of humans from Eurasia to the Americas took place via Beringia, a land bridge which formerly connected the two continents across what is now the Bering Strait. The minimum time depth by which this migration had taken place is confirmed at c. 12,000 years ago, with the upper bound (or earliest period) remaining a matter of some unresolved contention at about 30,000 years ago. These early Paleoamericans soon spread throughout the Americas, diversifying into many hundreds of culturally distinct nations and tribes. According to the oral histories of many of the indigenous peoples of the Americas, they have been living there since their genesis, described by a wide range of traditional creation accounts.
About 10,000 years ago, the last Ice Age ended and earth wide warming released water previously trapped in glaciers. The rising Bering Sea submerged the land bridge, severing easy movement between the two continents. Today, Alaska and Siberia's Chukchi Peninsula are divided by the shallow Bering Strait, 56 miles wide at its narrowest point.
Descendants of those early Asian people became the three broad Native groups of present-day Alaska: Aleuts (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aleut), Eskimos (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eskimo), and Dena'ina Indians (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dena'ina), . Each of these groups created its own rich spirit world and unique ways of surviving, and even prospering, in the often-harsh North. For hunters, aided by snowshoes, dogsleds, and a deep knowledge of weather patterns, the frozen landscape was a highway rather than a frightening barrier. Likewise, for coastal kayakers and canoeists, the cold ocean straits and passages became trade and communication arteries. And despite the northern latitude, the land could be generous, especially along the coasts where fish, waterfowl, and marine mammals made leisure, and even high culture, possible.
Archaeological digs indicate Alaska was settled nearly 6,000 years ago and there was frequent contact among the Dena'ina (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dena'ina), Pacific and Chugach Eskimo (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eskimo) tribes.
October 27, 1492, Christopher Columbus sailed to Cuba and claimed the island for Spain. Application of the term "Indian" originated with Christopher Columbus, who thought that he had arrived in the East Indies. This has served to imagine a kind of racial or cultural unity for the autochthonous peoples of the Americas. Once created, the unified "Indian" was codified in law, religion, and politics. The unitary idea of "Indians" was not originally shared by indigenous peoples, but many now embrace the identity.
Early Russian traders, who had settled along the Pacific Ocean, heard rumors of this land. Even though at its closest point the mainland of Alaska lies only 60 miles from Siberia, early explorers somehow missed finding it.
In 1725, a Dane, Vitus Bering, was appointed by Russia's Peter the Great to seek the fabled Northeast Passage through the Artic to India and China. On July 16, 1741, Bering landed a small party on an island near Prince William Sound, thus discovering Alaska.
Russian fur merchants began to arrive in the 1740s. The coming of the Europeans, as elsewhere in North and South America, had a drastic impact on the Native population. Europeans unwittingly introduced measles, smallpox, and other maladies for which the Natives had no immunity. The introduction of liquor and firearms also speeded the erosion of Natives' traditional lives. In 1741, the year Vitus Bering claimed Alaska for Russia, the Aleut population is thought to have been between 12,000 and 15,000. By 1800 it had dwindled to 2,000. A similar fate befell some other Native groups, such as the Haida in the southeastern panhandle of Alaska.
July 16 thru August 20, 1741, Danish explorer Vitus Bering and Chirikov, who was working for Russia, landed a small party on an island near Prince William Sound, thus discovering Alaska. Alaska.
June 14, 1777, the Continental Congress approved the Stars and Stripes as the first national flag of the United States.
1778, Captain James Cook made his famous voyage to Alaska and drew detailed maps of the area, naming such landmarks as Mount St. Augustine, Montague Island, Prince William Sound, Turnagain Arm and Cape Elizabeth.
February 14, 1779, Captain James Cook was killed by Hawaiians in a dispute over the theft of a cutter.
The first permanent Russian settlement was established on Kodiak Island in 1783, and for the next 50 years, Russia explored and colonized the area.
There were notable cases of harmony between Natives and newcomers. Contacts with outsiders, at least temporarily, actually enriched the indigenous cultures. On the Southeast coast, for example, the ready availability of iron tools encouraged an expansion of Native woodworking traditions. New wealth created by the fur trade made more frequent and lavish ceremonial feasts, or potlatches, possible.
But the sometimes violent struggle for control of the region led inevitably to European dominance. Some Russian Orthodox priests and Anglo-American missionaries made sincere, though sometimes misguided, efforts to protect and educate the Natives. Yet in Russian America, as in the Canadian and American West, the commercial drive usually won out. A favorite saying of the rough-and-ready promyshlenniki (Russian fur traders} could just as easily describe the unrestrained conduct of many of Alaska's other foreign visitors: "God is in his heaven, and the Cesar is far away."
October 24, 1861, the first transcontinental telegram was sent via the telegraph in the United States, effectively bringing to an end the Pony Express.
1865, Western Union Telegraph Company prepares to put telegraph line across Alaska and Siberia.
1866, Secretary of State William H. Seward offered to buy the land for $7.2 million - less than 2 cents per acre.
1867, The United States purchases Alaska from Russia.
1867, Pribilof Islands placed under jurisdiction of Secretary of Treasury.
March 30, 1867, William H. Seward, secretary of state under U.S. President Andrew Johnson, signed the Alaska Purchase, a treaty ceding Russian North America to the United States for a price—$7.2 million—that amounted to about two cents per acre.
October 18, 1867, though many called it *Sewards Folly* and *Sewards Icebox*, the Stars and Stripes flew for the first time on Alaska soil. Thus, the U.S. had acquired more than half a millon square miles of new territory and responsibility for seeing to the needs of a new population: 483 whites and some 27,500 Alaska natives.
1868, Alaska designated as the Department of Alaska under Brevet Major General Jeff C. Davis, U.S. Army.
1869, The Sitka Times, first newspaper in Alaska, was published.
1877, U.S. troops withdrawn from Alaska.
1881, Two prospectors discovered a mountain of low-grade gold ore near Juneau.
1882, U.S. Navy bombs, burn Tlingit village of Angoon.
August 17, 1896, George Washington Carmack unearthed gold in Bonanza Creek, a tributary of the Klondike River in the Yukon Territory, Canada, setting off a gold rush into the Klondike valley.
1897-1900, The Klondike Gold Rush: Gold was also discovered at Cape Nome on the Seward Peninsula and one of history's biggest gold rushes was on. An estimated quarter of a million people started north for the *diggins*.
July 7, 1898, the U.S. Congress annexed Hawaii through a joint resolution signed by President William McKinley, paving the way for the islands to become a territory (1900) and later a U.S. state (1959).
April 6, 1909, American explorer Robert Edwin Peary led the first expedition to the North Pole.
1912, The Territorial status for Alaska provides for Legislature; Alaska Native Brotherhood organizes in Southeast; Mount Katmai explodes forming the Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes.
1913, The First Alaska Territorial Legislature convenes.
1916, The first bill for Alaska statehood introduced in Congress. Alaskans vote in favor of prohibition by a 2 to 1 margin.
1923, President Warren E. Harding comes to Alaska to drive the last spike in Alaska Railroad. He died in San Francisco on his return trip to Washington D.C.
1924, Congress extends citizenship to all Indians in the United States, Tlingit William Paul, Sr. is first Native elected to Alaska Legislature.
1927, the Alaska Territorial Flag was designed by Benny Benson.
1931, The Alaska State Capitol, located in Juneau, was originally constructed in 1931 as the Federal and Territorial Building. When Alaska became a state in 1959, the building became property of the state. Juneau is the only capitol city in the U.S. that is only accessible by boat or plane.
July 2, 1932, U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt coined the term “New Deal” in his acceptance speech for the Democratic presidential nomination.
March 4, 1933, in the midst of the Great Depression, Franklin D. Roosevelt was inaugurated as the 32nd U.S. president, and later he led the country out of the Depression and to victory in World War II.
August 15, 1935, American entertainers Will Rogers and Wiley Post were killed in a plane crash near Point Barrow, Alaska.
1939, Alaska Governer Ernest Gruening began to form an Alaska National Guard (AKNG). The federal government allocated four companies of infantry, a medical detachment, a headquarters element and the 129th Observation Squadron to the newly created Alaska National Guard. The 129th Observation Squadron, which would have given the Territory of Alaska an Air National Guard right from the start, never materialized and the Air National Guard had to wait until after World War II for a physical begining.
December 7, 1941, Japan attacked Pearl Harbor. 1Lt Ken Taylor Sr. a P-51 pilot from Wheeler Field was accreded with 4 kills and would later become BG Ken Taylor, Air Commander of the Alaska Air National Guard.
1941, troops raised in Alaska were sent out of the territory for active duty on other fronts. Territorial Governor Ernest Gruening quickly moved to form the Alaska Territorial Guard to protect Alaska.
1942, Japan bombs Dutch harbor; invades Aleutians.
February 19, 1942, U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the executive order allowing the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II. ref. Encyclopædia Britannica
March 5, 1946, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill popularized the term “Iron Curtain”—describing the separation between Soviet and Western nations—in a speech at Fulton, Missouri.
1951, Following the war, Lars Johnson returned to Alaska and in 1951 was appointed Adjutant General (AG) at the age of 33 - the youngest AG in the nation. He took over a tiny struggling Army National Guard organization which had never held an annual training camp. He began to transform it into an efficient fighting force. He needed an Air National Guard and fought to establish a unit in Anchorage. He was assisted by another officer in Juneau, Lee Lucas.
1952, Johnson talked General Kepner of the Alaska Command into supporting an Air National Guard Unit. Johnson and Lucas made many trips to National Guard Bureau in Washington D.C. to build support for a unit in the face of almost over-whelming odds, but they got the backing of the Bureau and now only needed men and money to make the dream a reality.
September 19, 1952, the Alaska Air National Guard is established as the 8144th Air Base Squadron at Elmendorf AFB.
1952, The U.S. Air Force was now wearing the new blue uniform. The final date for transition to the new blue uniform was July 1952. However, the Quonset Hut photograph taken in 1952 shows the new Alaska Air National Guard members wearing the transition uniform not the new uniform. To date I have not found historical data that would link the Alaska Air National Guard to the wearing of the new uniforms.
February 1953 the Alaska Air National Guard received their first aircraft a North American T-6G Texan Observation/Trainer Tail Number 43555 at Hangar 3 on Elmendorf Air Force Base, Anchorage, Alaska. Aircraft 43555 would be the Alaska Air National Guards only aircraft for the next six months. Soon, five more North American T-6G Texan trainers arrived, operating out of Elmendorf AFB. In keeping with the Air Guard's mission to provide national air defense, the pilots began training in earnest for their planned transition to jet fighters. As that training progressed, the unit was re-designated the 144th Fighter-Bomber Squadron in July 1953.
July 1, 1953 the 8144th Air Base Squadron received federal recognition and was redesignated the 144th Fighter Bomber Squadron. The "8" in 8144th appears to be a number that signified a United States Air Force unit had applied for federal recognition. Therefore the "8" was dropped upon recognition. Planning begins to construct the Air National Guard Base at the newly constructed and opened Anchorage Airport in South Anchorage.
October 1953, the first T-33A assigned to the Alaska Air National Guard arrived at Elmendorf Air Force Base, Anchorage, Alaska. The T-33A aircraft would be flown by the Alaska Air National Guard as a fighter-trainer from October 1953 through July 1957. TheT-33A trainer was shortly followed by F-80C "Shooting Star" jet fighters. By late Fall of 1954, the growing unit was fully equipped with 14 F-80Cs, two T-33As, three T-6G trainers, two T-6G observation planes and a C-47A "Gooney Bird" transport.
1954: In February of 1954 the Alaska Air National Guard received its first F-80C Shooting Star. The Alaska Air National Guard would fly this aircraft from February 1954 through June 1955. On November 16, 1954 1st Lt. Kulis would become the first member of the Alaska Air National Guard to die in the line of duty when his F-80C Shooting Star crashed near Goose Bay, Alaska on the north side of Cook Inlet.
June 14, 1954 Anchorage Airport Air National Guard Base ground breaking ceremony (cutting down trees).
1954, During the Summer of (date needed) 1954 an Alaska Air National Guard F-80C Shooting Star, tail number ?????, piloted by Lt Yeatts Jr. becomes the first "jet aircraft" to takeoff from Merrill Field in Anchorage, Alaska.
November 16, 1954 1st Lt. Albert Kulis would become the first member of the Alaska Air National Guard to die in the line of duty when his F-80C Shooting Star crashed near Goose Bay, Alaska on the north side of Cook Inlet from Anchorage. Anchorage Airport Air National Guard Base will be named Kulis Air National Guard Base on Memorial Day, May 23, 1955 in his memory.
Thirty minutes later a second Alaska Air National Guard aircraft crashed near Point McKenzie on the north side of the Cook Inlet from Anchorage. It was a T-33A piloted by 1st Lt Roger Pendelton with Capt Lionel Tietze in the instructor seat. 1st Lt Roger Pendelton would become the second Alaska Air National Guard member to die in the line of duty.
1955, Dedication of newly established Kulis Air National Guard Base at Anchorage International Airport.
July 11, 1955, the U.S. Air Force Academy officially opened at temporary quarters at Lowry Air Force Base in Denver, Colorado.
July 30, 1956, the phrase “In God we trust” legally became the national motto of the United States.
1959:January 3, 1959, Alaska officially became the 49th state of the union. The Alaska State Capitol, located in Juneau, was originally constructed in 1931 as the Federal and Territorial Building. When Alaska became a state in 1959, the building became property of the state. Juneau is the only capitol city in the U.S. that is only accessible by boat or plane.
March 24, 1989, the oil tanker Exxon Valdez ran aground, spilling some 11 million gallons (41 million litres) of oil into Prince William Sound in Alaska and creating the largest oil spill in U.S. history.
Over the past 250 years, Alaska has seen a series of boom-and-bust "rushes" to exploit the land: rushes for fur, gold, copper, salmon, oil, and other natural resources. Some people came and stayed, simply because Alaska is like nowhere else - wild, extreme, and amazing. Still, the aim often has been to take the rewards of the land and sea, then enjoy them somewhere else. Many Alaskans see a recurring theme of neglect by federal authorities and exploitation by "outside interests." While the notion is easily exaggerated, the fact remains that today, decades after becoming a state, much of Alaska's economic fate remains under control of the Lower 48 states. Much of the Alaskan fishing fleet, for example, is based not in Alaska, but in the State of Washington.
Development of a modern tourism industry in the early 1970’s has brought millions of visitors to Alaska’s once-remote frontier in a “tourist rush.” The more daring travelers come by car or motor home via the Alaska-Canada Highway (ALCAN), built during World War II (WWII) for the war effort. However, most come by air or sea. A state owned ferry system, the “Alaska Marine Highway”, has linked southeast Alaska to British Columbia and the state of Washington since the early 1960’s. Each year thousands of ferry travelers experience the stunning sea and landscapes of the Inside Passage via the Alaska Marine Highway.
Since the 1970’s, the cruise ship industry has met that same growing tourist demand with cruises to Glacier Bay National Park. By the beginning of the 21st century, the cruise ship industry had expanded its service to many Ports-Of-Call in Alaska. Currently the most highly visited port of call for cruise ships is the City of Seward.
God endowed Alaska - The Great Land with wealth, scenery, and a scope surpassed by few regions on the earth. Alaska is a virtual subcontinent more than twice the size of the state of Texas. It contains 16 percent of the United States' land area. Alaska’s population has always been tiny. At the time of the U.S. purchase in 1867, Alaska had about 30,000 people, more than 29,000 of them Native American. By 1993, despite statehood and the oil boom, Alaska’s population had grown to only an estimated 607,000. Today, Alaska’s population remains approximately the same as in 1993.
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