Today in History: Alaska becomes 49th U.S. State in 1959

Today in History: Alaska becomes 49th U.S. State in 1959

60 years ago today, Alaska was admitted as the 49th state of the United States. On March 30, 1867, the U.S. purchased Alaska from the Russian Empire for $7.2 million. Despite the bargain price of roughly two cents an acre, President Andrew Johnson was ridiculed for the purchase by both Congress and the press. The Senate ratified the treaty with a margin of only one vote on April 9, 1967. Alaska was formally handed over in October 1867. After three decades of slow U.S. settlement, the discovery of gold in 1898 brought a rapid influx of people to the territory. Alaska, rich in natural resources, has contributed to American prosperity ever since.

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