Celebrating 150 Years of Alaska! Fun Facts You May Not Have Known

This March 30, we celebrated the 150th anniversary since America bought Alaska from Russia. The 49th state, but the Northern most one divided from the “lower 49”, we’re proud to call this unique, young state our home. And it certainly is unique! Here are a few fun facts about the state to ponder while you’re out and about enjoying the landscape in your Alaska car rentals this spring.

Alaska: the 49th State

On March 30, 1867, the United States of America purchased what would become our 49th state from Russia for a mere $7.2 million. In fact, Alaska is just 50 miles from the Western most tip of Russia!

However, Alaska wasn’t granted statehood until 1959. Before that time it was the Department of Alaska, the District of Alaska, then the Alaska Territory before its place as our 49th became official.

Wildlife population: 50% of human

The wildlife population is Alaska is famous. From polar bears to reindeer, Alaska is a state romping with beautiful, enormous creatures. But did you realize that the total population of black bears, polar bears, brown bears, and moose is nearly half the population of people in the state? With only 737,000 people in Alaska, it is definitely one of the under populated regions of America; the overall population density is less than 2 people per square mile. But with 175,000 moose, 100,000 black bears, 30,000 brown bears, and 4,700 polar bears, you’re almost as likely to come across a wild animal in your Alaska car rentals as you are to come across a person!

Be careful though. This high population of wildlife unfortunately also means there’s a higher likelihood of fatal collision. Roughly 550 to 800 moose are killed each year from motor vehicle collisions on the highways. That’s why driving safely and undistracted in your Alaska car rentals is so critical.

The largest state

Which state is America’s largest? If you guessed Texas, you’d be close – but, still wrong. In fact, Alaska is more than twice the size of Texas. Don’t think that’s impressive? Well, not only is Alaska America’s largest state, it is also only exceeded in size for a single region’s landmass by 16 countries in the world.

Speaking of size, Alaska’s largest lake takes up roughly the same land area as Connecticut. It’s Lake Iliamna in Southwest Alaska at the north end of the Alaska Peninsula. Head on up in your Alaska car rentals to look for the legendary Lake Iliamna monster.

What’s in a name?

Like many places across Canada and the United States, this state’s name comes from an indigenous word. “Alaska” is derived from an old expression from local indigenous tribes, meaning “object to which the action of the sea is directed.”

Furthermore, Alaska is the only state name that can be typed using just one line of a computer keyboard.

The wildlife and fishing of Alaska

Alaska is known for its wildlife. So, naturally, there must be some quirky facts about them!

It’s illegal in the state of Alaska to disturb a sleeping bear in order to take its photographs. That makes sense! After all, the saying goes, never wake a sleeping bear.

The fishing and seafood industry across the state is crucial to its economy. It maintains the livelihood of large numbers of residences, while also ensuring their food supply is maintained throughout the year in a landscape that doesn’t take kindly to agriculture. This industry is the largest private industry employer in Alaska.

Of course, it makes sense that fishing would be so important. The state has over 3,000 rivers and an incredible 3 million lakes. It’s bordered by thee seas, and contains 20,171 square miles of inland water, which is more than any other state. One more fish fact – the largest ever salmon was caught in the Kenai River, weighing in at a whopping 97.5 lbs!

Do you need any more reason to go fishing this summer? Alaska is definitely the place to do it. We love our state, and if you haven’t been yet, we know you will too. Reserve your Alaska car rentals from Avis for a summer of fun, fishing, and freedom from the bustle of the city.