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.
Nickname: The Last Frontier
Key Cities: Anchorage, Juneau, Fairbanks, Ketchikan
Postal Abbreviation: AK
Major Industries: Petroleum, tourism, fishing, mining, timber
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.
Jack London- author
Curt Schilling- baseball player
Mario Chalmers- basketball player
Sarah Palin- politician
Carlos Boozer- basketball player
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).
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.