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 History of Alaska State

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تاريخ التسجيل : 03/03/2008
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مُساهمةموضوع: History of Alaska State   الأربعاء يونيو 10, 2009 7:41 am



The existence of mankind in Alaska, can be traced back to 16,000 B.C. to 10,000 B.C., when the Paleolithic families crossed the Bering Land Bridge and formed settlements in the western parts of Alaska. At this point of time, Alaska was inhabited by the Inuit tribes and a large variety of American Indians. Even today, some of these tribes, like the Athabascans, the Aleut, Inupiat and Yupik exist. Some of the members of these tribes settled in present-day Canada. Studies reveal that the Aleut tribes settled in the Aleutian Islands, about 10,000 years ago.

In 1493, Pope Alexander VI issued a papal bull (letters patent) or Inter Caetera to the Spanish Crown, issuing them a right to all the lands to the west and south of the poles. The Spanish claimed the whole of the western coast of North America. However, the motive behind issuing the Inter Caetera is unclear even today. Several expeditions were sent to claim the coasts, in the name of Spain. However, the Spanish never established any large-sized colonies in Alaska. The prominent among these expeditions were undertaken by Bruno de Heceta and Salvador Fidalgo in 1775 and 1790, respectively.

In the 18th century, the Russians began to regularly travel down to the Aleutian Islands, near the coastline of Alaska. The travelers were basically fur traders and hunters. These expeditions began setting up permanent settlements and trading posts by the end of 1790s.

In some places, the Russian fur traders were able to establish very peaceful relations with the native tribes. However, in some places, the settlers and the tribes engaged in constant conflicts. Skirmishes were prominently seen between the Russians and the Aleut tribes. The Aleut population, however, was significantly wiped out, due to diseases that were brought by the Russians, against which they had no immunity. In the year 1785, a prominent Russian merchant Grigory Ivanovich Shelikhov, landed on the Kodiak Island in Three Saints Bay and established a Russian settlement after slaughtering many of the Koniaga people (residents of Kodiak Island). Some years later in 1790, he hired Alexander Baranov to manage the colony and trade in the region. In order to establish monopoly in fur trade, Baranov started expanding his activities in present-day Sitka. After a few fights with the Tlingit tribe, the settlement of Mikhailovsk was established.

In the meantime, the Russian Orthodox Church had also started sending missionaries across Alaska, to spread Christianity. Alaska, however, did not remain under the dominance of Russia. The British had also, established trading posts and small settlements in Alaska. However, after the third voyage of Captain James Cook, the British became interested in the potential resources of Alaska. Hudson Bay that was incorporated by the British Royal Charter, started expanding its trade into the interiors of Alaska. Even after the Battle of Sitka, the Russians did not fully colonize Alaska and the British and American monopoly in fur trade began to increase.

The only reason that the Russians never fully colonized Alaska was that the trade profits of the Russian settlements were very low and it was difficult to prevent the British and Americans from coming to Alaska. The financial difficulties of Russia promoted the authorities to sell Alaska to United States of America for $7,200,000.

On 18th October, 1867, the flag of United States of America, was raised for the first time in the history of Alaska. This day, later became the Alaska day, for the United States citizens. Alaska became a department of the United States of America from 1867 to 1884. During this time, it was under the jurisdiction of different agencies of the United States of America, namely the Army (1867-1877), the Treasury Department (1877-1879) and the Navy (1879-1884). In 1865, the Western Union company started work on the first telegraph line across Alaska.

In the year 1884, Alaska was converted from a department to a district. During gold rushes of Yukon territory (1896) and Nome (1899), the population and the economy of Alaska expanded. After the construction of the Alaska railroad in 1902, it became more connected to the United States. The copper mining industry, canning and fishing became prominent industries in the 1990s. In 1912, after the Second Organic Act was passed by the US Congress, Alaska became a territory.

During the World War II, three Aleutian Islands were occupied by the Japanese forces. Some of the villagers were taken to Japan as captives. The islands were regained by the United States forces in May 1943, after a bloody struggle and 3,929 casualties. Oil was discovered in the Swanson river basin giving new opportunities to the economy of Alaska. President Eisenhower signed the Alaska Statehood Act (July 7th, 1958) and Alaska became the 49th state of the United States of America on 3rd January, 1959.

Some of the notable incidents in the history of Alaska state are the Good Friday Earthquake (March, 27, 1964), the completion of the Trans-Alaska Fuel Pipeline (1977) and the Exxon Valdez oil spill (1989).

Today, as a part of the United States of America, Alaska has managed to maintain a very different identity from the rest of the states. It is considered to be one the most beautiful states in the country. Indeed, it is a favorite tourist destination. Its beauty attracts visitors not only from within the United States but also from all over the world.

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