What Is The History Of Alaska?

How and when was Alaska settled? What is the history of the state?

Nearly 30,000 years ago, the first hunters cross and ice bridge between Asia and North America. Historians believe this is the first of many migrations where people crossed into what is now known as Alaska. Most of these hunters were very nomadic and did not stay on the land. They probably followed herds of deer or caribou across, and kept moving. They were only one of several tribes of hunters that would cross the land. Each new group would bring a new tradition and language. The new tribe would invade, pushing the older tribes south or east to find new land to graze. Until the Eskimo, no man dared to settle the land.

Eskimos settled what is now known as Alaska nearly 2,500 years ago. The natives had become people who lived on the coat or the inland. The Aleuts and Tlingits prefered life near the Pacific. And, the Inuits stayed to the north, where the Artic Ocean provided food in the summer and fall. The Athabaskan people settled among the hills and valleys. Although they occupied the land for thousands of years, they never degraded the landscape or exhausted the natural resources of the land. They had a very peaceful existence until Russian and British explorers decided to navigate the area in the early 1700's.

Once the explorers began invading and settling the area, the Native Alaskans would never be the same. The language and cultural barriers were great. Russian and English settlers would trade fur, kill whales for oil and ivory, and move the Eskimos to other land. In 1867, the United States Secretary of State, William Seward purchased Alaska from the Russians for 7.2 million dollars. While the Eskimos still occupied much of the land, they did not regain the land they originally had until the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act of 1971. The settlement gave them 44 million acres of land.



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