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150 Years Ago USA Purchased Alaska

May 30, 2017



In 1867, 150 years ago, the United States’ Secretary of State, William H. Seward agreed to the purchase of Alaska from Russia. This purchase brought about the end of Russian attempts to expand along the western coast of North America. The purchase price was $7.2 million dollars, or approximately 2 cents per acre. At the time of purchase, there was a significant amount of controversy, but it turns out that buying Alaska was actually a very beneficial move.

“Seward’s Folly”

Russia had actually offered to sell Alaska to the US during James Buchanan’s presidency, but the Civil War put a halt on the negotiations. Seward had wanted the area for quite some time, and was more than eager to pick up negotiations again after the war had ended. The Senate was not so excited about the idea, and took a bit of effort on Seward’s part to convince them. Seward agreed to the proposal offered by the Russian Prime Minister on March 30, 1867. On April 9, the Senate approved the purchase by just one vote. President Andrew Johnson signed the treaty on May 28, and the transfer was official on October 18.

Many people thought the purchase of Alaska to be a foolish move. After all, the terrain was mostly unexplored. As a result, the purchase garnered many nicknames by the newspapers (especially the New York Tribune). It was often referred to as “Seward’s Folly,” “Seward’s Icebox,” “Andrew Johnson’s polar bear garden,” and “Walrussia.”

Striking Gold

For the most part, after the purchase of Alaska was complete, the area was ignored. That is until gold was discovered in the 1880s and 90s. There were a few American prospectors, trappers and traders who were brave enough to explore the new territory. In 1880, gold was discovered in the area that is now Juneau. With this discovery, more exploration began in the north.

Klondike Gold Rush

What really brought attention to Alaska, however, was the Klondike Gold Rush. Gold was discovered in the Klondike region of the Yukon, located in northwestern Canada, in 1896. This discovery let people all over know that there was gold to be found in the north. Between 1896 and 1899, approximately 100,000 prospectors headed to Alaska, which was the gateway to the Yukon. The purchase wasn’t a joke anymore.

Eureka Joe’s is Bringing Alaska Paydirt to You!

Even today, the thought of gold and prospecting still brings about excitement. But unfortunately, not everyone has the luxury to travel to Alaska and go off in search of their own gold. This is where Eureka Joe’s comes in. We bring Alaska’s gold to you! With bags and buckets of Alaska paydirt from our own private upper and lower river claims, and guaranteed nuggets in every purchase, you are sure to cure your gold fever. We can even supply you with a gold pan and other necessities to get you started. Are you ready to strike your own Alaska gold? With Eureka Joe’s Alaskan paydirt, you don’t even need to leave the comfort of your own home. Order your paydirt today!

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