Flash Interactive: The Last Frontier

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"Many who have decried Alaska as good for nothing are now admitting that it has wonderful possibilities." -- John G. Brady, governor of the district of Alaska, 1897

Launch Interactive

Some Americans ridiculed the Russian colony of Alaska as "Seward's icebox" or "Walrussia" when Secretary of State William Seward negotiated its purchase in 1867. Yet after gold was discovered there in 1880, Alaska quickly became the latest frontier for those heeding the call of frontier adventure.

By 1941, Americans were investing Alaska with a new importance -- a potential front line in the battle against fascism. After Japan attacked Pearl Harbor, the U.S. government initiated a highway-building project through Canada to Alaska in the name of homeland security.

In the years after World War II, Alaska joined the Union as the 49th state. Despite more development, it continues to offer vast wilderness and frontier adventures.

Visit Alaska locations and explore the history of the "last frontier" in this interactive map.


My American Experience

My American Experience photos

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Have You Been to Alaska? Have you ever visited the 49th state? Do you live there? Share your photos, videos and stories.