1895 Map of Alaska

Alaskan History Timeline

The following important events in the history of Alaska affected political boundaries, record keeping, and family movements.

  • 1783 Russian fur traders established the first white settlement on Kodiak Island.
  • 1804 Sitka was permanently founded by the Russians. It served as Alaska’s capital until 1906, when the capital was moved to Juneau.
  • 1824-1828 In treaties with the United States and Great Britain, Russia agreed to recognize latitude 54° 40 N as Alaska’s southern boundary and longitude 141° W as the eastern boundary. Further boundary adjustments between Alaska and British Columbia were made in 1903.
  • 1867 The United States purchased Alaska from Russia.
  • 1884 Congress passed the first Organic Act, providing a governor and federal courts for Alaska.
  • 1896 The Klondike gold strike started a rush to the Canadian Yukon Territory. Gold was discovered at Nome in 1899 and at Fairbanks in 1902.
  • 1912 Congress passed the second Organic Act, establishing Alaska as a U.S. territory and providing for a territorial legislature.
  • 1959 Alaska became a state.

An especially helpful source for studying the history of Alaska is William R. Hunt, Alaska: A Bicentennial History (New York: W. W. Norton & Co., 1976; FHL book 979.8 H2hu)

1 thought on “Alaskan History Timeline”

  1. I didn’t realize that Alaska was initially settled by Russian fur traders. My brother just moved to Alaska and is trying to learn more about its history. He’ll have to look at some pioneer memoirs and other primary documents to get a good feel for what it may have been like back then.

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