It was purchased from Russia for $7.2 million or less than two cents an acre. It was originally an American territory and eventually became a state. It’s more than twice the size of Texas and it’s about one fifth the size of the lower 48 states combined. It was on this date in 1867 that the United States took possession of Alaska. Russia wanted to sell it. It was hard to defend, there wasn’t much there and they didn’t want to lose it in war. So they sold it to the United States.

President Andrew Johnson’s Secretary of State - William Seward made the arrangement and the response was overwhelmingly negative. Politicians and reporters began to call it “Seward’s Folly” and “Andrew Johnson’s Polar Bear Garden”.
Public opinion changed when gold was found along the Klondike River setting off a gold rush. Later oil was discovered. Today, 25 percent of America’s oil comes from Alaska. 50 percent of our seafood comes from Alaska.
Alaska became a state in 1959. Today is a state holiday in Alaska. It’s the observance of the day the land treaty between Russia and the United States was signed.