Known as the last frontier, Alaska originally attracted explorers and people who dreamed of becoming rich during the famous gold rushes. Now, people are attracted to this beautiful state for many interesting things. Along with its beauty and size, Alaska holds a great history, world famous sites, and timeless traditions.
Alaska is told to have been settled by many. Dinosaurs once roamed the Great Land, followed by bison and woolly mammoths. Archaeologists think that the first people moved across the Bering Land Bridge into northwestern Alaska more than 20,000 years ago. When the first white people came to Alaska, they met the native people called the Aleuts. The Aleuts called the mainland Alyeska, which in Aleut meant "the great land-.(Stefoff 12) In 1741, a Russian man named Alexei Chirikof was credited to be the first European to see the mainland. The name Alaska came from the Russian version of Alyeska. Many Russians and Europeans came to explore the land. Private fur-hunters made numerous voyages decimating both the sea otter and the native people. Larger fur companies were formed and the wealthy Russians took over the land. However, the disappearance of the sea otter reduced the profits of the companies. By the 1860's, the Russian Imperial government was unhappy with the cost of holding Alaska. They feared .
the loss of the land to Great Britain and sought to earn a Russian position in Siberia, so they sold the land.
On March 30, 1867 William Seward, the Secretary of State under President Andrew Johnson, purchased Alaska from Russia. He wanted the U.S. to acquire the huge territory and its resources of minerals, timber, and fish. Seward made one of the biggest real-estate bargains in history. Alaska's territory, more than twice the size of Texas, was bought for only $7.2 million, or two cents an acre. However, many people criticized him and thought it was an icy wasteland.