Hoskins Alaska Timeline

Timeline created by Hoskins
In History
  • Period:
    13,000 BCE
    2,000 BCE

    LAND -- Bering Land Bridge

    People travelled from Asia to populate Alaska and all of the Americas
  • PEOPLE -- Russian American Company

    Started to Claim that only Russians (a small group of them in this company) would be allowed to hunt sea otters in the Aleutian Islands (and therefore monopolize on the profits).
    Started in Kodiak.
    Alexander Baranov was the first manager, later the first governor of Russian America.
  • PEOPLE -- Russian Sailors Discover Alaska

    Tsar Peter The Great commissioned Vitus Bering to explore the easternmost parts of Russia (and the west coast of North America near Russia)
    -Bering traveled 5,000 miles over the course of 16 years to find the coast of North America. He couldn't prove whether or not Russia connected to North America by land.
    -Bering landed on Kayak Island.
    -On the way home from the expedition, the crew was shipwrecked. Bering died, but some of the crew survived by eating sea otters and using their fur
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    PEOPLE -- Alaska is considered Russian America

    -Fur traders sought riches in Southeast Alaska.
    -In the first two generations of Russian contact the Aleut population was diminished (20,000 to 2,000).
    -There were 14 Russian governors of this territory. They each lived in Sitka during their time in office.
    -Russia lost interest in this colony when the fur trade was struggling (after over hunting), they were in debt, and Alaska was too difficult to defend
  • PEOPLE -- Promyshlennikis Start Traveling to Alaska for Fur

    -The Promyshlenniki men were known as brutal, greedy hunters and trappers.
    -They were attracted to Alaska after seeing the sea otter pelts brought back by Bering's surviving crew.
    -Many drowned on the way to Alaska, but many more survived to see Alaska and slaughter sea otters and Aleuts.
    -Fur hunters made more money from selling to China than Europe.
  • PEOPLE and LAND -- Captain James Cook Explored the Alaskan Coast

    -James Cook was the greatest British navigator sent to Alaska during the Age of Discovery
    -He searched the Coast of Alaska for the Northwest Passage
    -He created maps so accurate that they were used for sailing for over 100 years
  • EDUCATION -- Written Aleut Language

    Russian missionary John Veniaminov and Aleut leader Ivan Pan'kov worked together to design the Aleut alphabet, translate scripture, and creating texts written in Alaskan Native languages.
    (Source: An Alaska Anthology pg. 78)
  • EDUCATION -- Yakov Netsvetov Transferred to the Central Yupik Area

    ~Bilingual in Russian and Aleut before learning to speak Yupik
    ~Designed a Yupik writing system
    ~Translated the first church books into Yupik
    ~Authored and translated Yupik books and other helpful texts
  • PEOPLE -- Alaska sold to US

    Russia sells Alaska to the United States in order to fund their war. This is highly debated in America -- some say it will allow expansion and serve Americans' manifest destiny (plentiful game/land with low population) -- others think it's a waste of money, bought without consideration or due diligence (sometimes called "Seward's Folly")
  • PEOPLE -- Hayward Hutchinson arrives and founds Alaska Commercial

    Hutchinson bought the old Russian-American fur trading company and founded Alaska Commercial company. Congress granted Hutchinson exclusive rights for hunting seals on the Pribilof Islands in exchange for a small portion of his revenue. These taxes were profitable enough to justify the entire purchase of Alaska.
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    PEOPLE -- First wave of Americans populate Sitka

    After the purchase of Alaska from Russia, Americans flood to the town of Sitka. People came with hopes of getting rich. The army governed the area, but there was a lot of chaos, prostitution, fighting, etc. White Americans new to the area were fearful or judgmental of the Russian and Native inhabitants. Within a few years, many of the newcomers had left.
  • PEOPLE and LAND -- Whaling Industry Booms

    Whales are over hunted by newcomers.
    Traditionally, Alaskan Natives hunted whales and fish with reverence, killing only what they needed to survive. Newcomers (namely, "Bostonmen" from the Lower 48 hunt whales for profit, selling their oil around the world. Whales begin "disappearing" as they are hunted without limit.
  • EDUCATION -- Dickerson as Interpreter

    Sarah Dickerson served as an interpreter for missionaries in the school and church in Wrangell. She advocated for their causes, translated sermons, and began teaching within their schools. (1877-1880)
  • PEOPLE and LAND -- Salmon Fishing Industry Booms

    Similar to whales, salmon are now caught for profit. Within 20 years, the profits of the salmon industry in Alaska increased 100 fold. Alaska produces half of the world's canned salmon. The profits are rarely seen by Alaskan residents. Salmon packers took advantage of cheap laborers from other countries rather than hiring locals.
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    EDUCATION -- Dickerson as a Primary Instructor

    Sarah Dickerson help found a school (Haines Mission) in the Chilkat region. She worked as a teacher and interpreter (both in and out of school) to motivate and educate the students in the region.
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    PEOPLE -- Alaskan Gold Rush

    Towns developed in Alaska to accommodate the rushes that came after gold was discovered in new places. To name a few: Juneau, Fortymile County, White Mountains, Canadian Klondike, Nome, and Iditarod, Wiseman, Fairbanks, Pedro Creek
  • Lt. Frederick Schwatka explores the Yukon River

    Schwatka rafts down the Yukon River and reports and the dangerous yet rewarding experience. He has no professional map to guide him. He hopes to prove and explain that Alaska is more than "just an ice box". He describes his findings (currents, plants, animals) in detail.
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    EDUCATION -- Missionary Public Schools

    Public schools for Alaskan Native students were founded by missions. Supposedly, missionary-teachers were the only teachers available to provide a public education.
    (July 7, 1884 - mid-1890s)
  • EDUCATION -- Organic Act

    A law written largely by Sheldon Jackson, signed by Chester Arthur:
    1. Appointed Alaska's first US territorial governor
    2. Called for "proper provision for education of children of school age ... regardless of race"
    3. Native Alaskan children received public education only from missionaries
  • EDUCATION -- Sheldon Jackson Appointed First District General Agent of Education

    Sheldon soon segregated schools to separate Alaskan Natives, insisted on English-only education, and forbade the use of Native American languages (spoken or written) in public schools.
  • PEOPLE and LAND -- Lt. Henry Allen Maps 3 Major Rivers

    Lt. Henry Allen maps 3 major rivers (Tanana, Copper, and Yukon) on a 1500 mile journey with Fickett and Robinson (who suffered from Scurvy). They went hungry often, but found many fish before emerging onto the Yukon River (when Robinson had to be sent back), before heading further north. Lt. George Stoney explores further north and maps the route to the Arctic Ocean. Lt. John Cantwell explores a new arctic river (Kobuk).
  • PEOPLE -- Gold Discovered in Canadian Klondike -- Gold Rush

    Thousands of desperate Americans from the Lower 48 moved to Alaska, trying to reach the Klondike before winter. Dyea, Alaska served as a stopping point before the Chilkoot Pass and Lake Bennett.
    Dawson (Canada) was referred to as "The City of Gold".
  • PEOPLE -- Southeast Alaska is lawless and wild

    Skagway is "lawless" and dangerous, populated by military personnel and adventure seekers. People are shot in the street regularly.
    Con artists and thieves like Soapy Smith do as they please and develop notoriety. Nothing is policed.
  • PEOPLE -- Liquor Licensing

    The first liquor license program started in Alaska.
    (Alcohol had been prohibited, but bootlegged alcohol was plentiful and dangerous, especially after the start of the Gold Rush.)
  • PEOPLE -- Juneau became Alaska's capitol.

  • PEOPLE -- Telegraph Connects Alaska to Lower 48

    Telegraph connections run up the coastline in SE Alaska, across Southern Alaska and up to Nome. Lt. Billy Mitchell claimed the final connection and announced Alaska "open to civilization"
  • PEOPLE -- Copper discovered (Cordova)

    People continued to go where the resources were. They followed the paths to riches, but did not stay to build communities. When copper was discovered near Cordova, there was another rush.
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    PEOPLE and LAND -- Guggenheim Railroad

    The Guggenheim Family built a railroad to easily access copper and other resources. This allowed for a more steady/stable rush of workers seeking riches by building their railroad. (The rail crossed glaciers, mountains, tundra, etc.)
  • LAND -- Mt. Katmai Erupts

  • PEOPLE -- Alaska Becomes and Official US Territory

    This gave Alaskan residents the power to write laws and elect their own legislature.
    Women won the right to vote in Alaska (before they won it on the federal level).
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    PEOPLE -- US Involvement in WWI

    --Alaskan men went to fight in WWI.
    --The salmon industry boomed as canned food was needed for the war.
  • PEOPLE -- Alaskan Railroad built between Fairbanks and Seward

    Opened the interior to development. (Easy access to gold and other resources)
  • PEOPLE -- Eielson Runs Commercial Flights in Alaska

    -Eielson flew US mail from Fairbanks to McGrath in about 3 hours
    -This distance could be crossed by a dogsled in about a month
    Eielson was asked to expand upon the company and teach.
  • PEOPLE -- Start of the Great Depression

  • PEOPLE -- Matanuska Valley Frontier

    People escaping the Great Depression and the Dust Bowl traveled north and created new communities on the last frontier
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    PEOPLE -- World War II

    -Japan bombed Dutch Harbor in 1942
    -Japanese soldiers landed on the Aleutian Islands in June 1942. The islands (Attu and Kiska) were not liberated until August of 1943.
    -The Battle of Attu was the only land battle fought on US soil in WWII
    -The war brought more people and money to Alaska than gold or any other industry at the time.
  • PEOPLE -- Statehood

    Alaska became the 49th state.
  • PEOPLE -- "Tundra Times" Newspaper Created to Give all Alaskan Natives a Unified Voice

    -The paper originally emphasized a universal goal of Alaskan Natives -- to preserve their land
    -Native peoples who identified as Eskimo, Aleut, and Indian joined together for a common cause
    -Inspired the ANCSA
  • LAND -- The Great Alaska Earthquake

    -The catastrophic effects were felt for hundreds of miles. Buildings collapse, the ground was torn apart, roads were destroyed.
    -A tsunami reached 90ft tall before hitting land.
    -Tremors and waves were felt all the way in Antarctica.
    -Largest recorded earthquake in North America.
    -115 people were killed in Alaska.
    -Millions flowed into the state to rebuild after it was declared a national emergency.
    -The "Construction Boom" that followed helped Alaska's economy recover and survive
  • PEOPLE and LAND -- Oil Discovered in Prudhoe Bay

    -Huge amounts of oil discovered on the North Slope (Prudhoe Bay first, then the Kuparuk field.
    -After oil was discovered in Prudhoe Bay, plans were drawn to create the 800 mile pipeline to bring oil to Valdez (accessible by ship)
  • PEOPLE -- Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act

    -Largest land claims settlement in US History
    -Created 12 Alaska Native corporations that made profits as well as defined over 200 community corporations that millions of acres of land and around a billion dollars in cash (total).
    -The law is very complex. It has been widely debated and amended to clarify its implications. https://www.uaf.edu/tribal/112/unit_3/alaskanativeclaimssettlementactancsa1971.php