On October 18, 1867…

…the Russian flag was lowered and the Stars and Stripes of the United States of America was raised in Sitka, Alaska, to ceremonially and officially mark the exchange of the land.
There was obviously a lot of debate as to whether the purchase was worth it. Called “Seward’s Folly”, and “Seward’s Icebox”, many believed that what little bit of resources Alaska had were already pillaged by the Russians. Otter and seal populations had been dramatically reduced thanks to aggressive hunting and there was nothing else worth noting about the land. Obviously this was incorrect as Alaska was already inhabited by Natives in all areas of the state, living off a myriad of resources. Alaska Native culture remains vibrant in many parts of the state even to this day.
There of course was the Gold Rush that brought hoards of people to Southeast Alaska, the Interior and even out to Nome where there was so much gold (rumor had it) that one could pick it up off the beach when the tide went out. Unless you watch reality TV shows about modern gold-seekers, the days of striking it rich have long passed. Alaska’s biggest industries are fish, timber and the big one, oil. Thanks to oil revenue Alaska is one of the least tax revenue-dependent states in the Union. There is no state sales tax (sales tax is decided by the individual city), and no personal state income tax. Alaska is divided into boroughs rather than counties and of the 18 boroughs, only 14 require property tax.
So if you need an excuse to celebrate, here you go. http://alaskadayfestival.org/

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