Alaska: Education, the Land, and the People

Timeline created by shoowadoo
In History
  • Tsar Peter commissions naval expedition of Pacific

  • Promyschlenniki arrive from Russia

    Russian fur traders hunted the sea otter to near extinction.
  • Vitus Bering claims Alaska for Russia

  • Steller's sea cow extinct

    Hunted to extinction
  • Captain James Cook reaches "Cook Inlet"

    While looking for the the Northwest Passage, this British explorer was forced to turn around.
  • Malaspina enters Yakutat Bay

    While looking for the Northwest Passage, Spanish explorer Alejandro Malaspina. He nicknamed it "Disenchantment Bay" when forced to turn around. Alaska's largest glacier is named in his honor.
  • Yankee whalers sail north to Alaska

  • Russia discovers gold on Kenai Peninsula

  • Alaska Commercial Company buys Russian American Company

    Based in San Francisco, this company purchased the Russian fur trading company for $155,000. Because the sea otter was nearly extinct, seals were hunted for their fur.
  • US American purchase of Alaska

    Nicknamed "Seward's Folly," public opinion was mostly favorable. Purchased for 7.2 million.
  • Parrott & Company

    Era of the sternwheel steamboat in Alaska begins with "Yukon."
  • John Muir in Alaska

    Fascinated with glaciers, naturalist John Muir traveled North. He popularized Alaska in the book "Travels in Alaska." He explored and wrote about Glacier Bay, and helped set the stage for Alaskan tourism.
  • Joe Juneau strikes gold at Gold Creek

    Site of present-day Juneau, capital of Alaska.
  • Alaska tourism begins

  • John Kinkead appointed Alaska's first governor

    A former bootlegger during Alaska's prohibition, he was appointed the region's first governor by President Chester Arthur as a part of the "First Organic Act." This marks the beginning of civil government in the region.
  • First Organic Act

    provided for civil government and public education in Alaska. John Kinkead was appointed first governor of Alaska, and Sheldon Jackson was named federal education agent.
  • Founding of Skagway

    Billy Moore stakes claim to 160 acres on Skagway River. Eleven years later, it becomes a stampede town in the gold rush.
  • Circle City founded

    Miners mistakenly believed they were north of the Arctic Circle when they struck gold and founded this town.
  • The Klondike Stampede begins

    Discovery of gold at Rabbit Creek in the Canadian Yukon brings in tens of thousands to the North. Access to the Yukon was through Skagway, Alaska.
  • Gold found in Nome

  • White Pass & Yukon Route railroad completed

  • Copper reserves discovered in Alaska

    Copper was discovered along the Chitina River. The area was later exploited by the Kennecott Copper Company beginning in 1908. By 1916, copper production was more lucrative than gold. Later became the Alaska Steamship Company when copper production diminished.
  • Founding of Fairbanks

    This town in Interior Alaska was founded when Italian immigrant Felix Pedro discovered gold in the Tanana Valley.
  • Juneau replaces Sitka as Alaska's capital

  • Margaret Murie moves to Alaska

    Margaret Murie, author of "Two in the Far North," moves to Fairbanks.
  • "Home Rule" Act

    Alaska wins territorial status, allowing for a territorial legislature. Both women and men received the right to vote, preceding the 19th Amendment of 1920.
  • Alaska Native Brotherhood and Native Sisterhood

    Established to combat discrimination of Alaska Native peoples
  • First man sets foot on Denali summit

    After many had failed, Native sled driver Walter Harper was the first man to reach Denali's summit. He was accompanied by Hudson Stuck.
  • Founding of Anchorage

    Originally a tent-city, Anchorage is Alaska's most populated city.
  • Mount McKinley National Park established

    Renamed Denali National Park in 1980.
  • Alaska Railroad completed

    Begun in 1915, the 400-mile railroad from Seward to Nenana was completed 8 years later. President Warren Harding was present for the festivities in Nenana.
  • Wien Airways established

    Established by Noel Wien when he came to Alaska, making Fairbanks an aviation hub.
  • Natives receive citizenship

    Alaska Natives and American Indians receive American citizenship and voting rights.
  • The Great Serum Race

    In order to save the lives of Nome's children during a diphtheria epidemic in 1925, a sled dog relay race brought the life-saving anti-toxin 674 miles from Nenana to Nome.
  • Carl Ben Eielson makes first polar flight

    Eielson and Wilkins fly from Barrow, Alaska to Spitsbergen, Norway in first polar flight from America to Europe.
  • The Matanuska Experiment

    During the Great Depression, the federal government tried to start an agricultural colony in "the Valley." 202 families from the Midwest were selected to start a new life in Palmer, Alaska. The project was unsuccessful but an important part of the history of the area.
  • Attack on Pearl Harbor

    US enters WW2 following Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, HI.
  • Construction of the "Alcan."

    Alaska Canada Military Highway
  • Japanese attack on Dutch Harbor

  • Alberta Schenck arrested

    At the age of 17, Alberta Schenck from Nome was arrested for sitting outside the Eskimo section of the local theater.
  • Anti-Discrimination Act of 1945

    Native Elizabeth Peratrovich was key in passing this bill through the legislature. Since 1988, February 16th is remembered as "Elizabeth W. Peratrovich Day".
  • Project Chariot

    Edward Teller's proposal to create an artificial harbor on the Alaskan coast with an atomic bomb.
  • Alaska Statehood

    Alaska becomes the 49th state
  • The Great Alaskan Earthquake

    At 9.2 on the Richter Scale, Anchorage experience the mightiest earthquake ever recorded in North America.
  • Alaska Federation of Natives created

    The first alliance of all Native groups in Alaska
  • Oil strike at Prudhoe Bay

    Discovery of oil at Prudhoe Bay is the nation's biggest oil bonanza to date. Resulted in ANCSA and the Trans-Alaska pipeline.
  • Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act

    Signed by President Nixon on December 18, 1971. Natives received title to 44 million acres of land and $962.5 million in compensation.
  • Magnuson Act

    Law enacted by Congress in 1976 to prevent overfishing.
  • The Alaska Permanent Fund created

    The nation's largest trust.
  • Trans-Alaska Pipeline completed

    Construction began in 1974.
  • Alaska National Interest Lands and Conservation Act

  • Exxon Valdez Tanker spill

    Ranks as America's 2nd worst oil spill. This disaster turned public opinion against opening of ANWR to drilling, a debate that continues today.
  • Federal recognition of name "Denali"

    Alaska changed the name of North America's highest mountain in 1975 to honor Native traditions, but the name was not federally recognized until 40 years later during Obama administration.
  • Land-Into-Trust Idea

    This idea gained acceptance during the Obama administration. It would provide Alaska Natives with more sovereignty over affairs on Native lands. The Trump administration has since opposed it.
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    Alexander Baranov in Alaska

    Nicknamed "Lord of Alaska", he was hired to manage the Russian-American Company, Russian America's major fur trading company. While in Alaska, he took a Native wife with whom he had a son.
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    Vancouver charts Inside Passage

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    Father Ivan Veniaminov in Alaska

    Russian missionary who lived among the Aleut/Unangax and Tlingit peoples. He created dictionaries and grammars of the native languages, and encouraged literacy among the Native peoples he encountered. He advocated the use of Native languages and learned them and preached in them as well. Many Natives continue to practice Russian Orthodoxy today.
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    Crimean War

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    American Civil War

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    Sheldon Jackson in Alaska

    Known for Americanizing the North by converting Natives to Christianity and discouraging the use of indigenous languages. He successfully lobbied for prohibition in the region until the gold rush.
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    Wickersham in Alaska

    He was elected Alaska's nonvoting congressional delegate in 1908.
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    World War 1

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    World War 2

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    The Thousand-Mile War

    American defense of Alaska against Japan in WW2.