St. Lawrence, King and Little Diomede Islands
Prior to 10,000 BC - Migration of tribes from Asia across the Bering land bridge, which at the time linked Siberia and Alaska.
- 10,000 BC - The Aleuts settle in the Aleutian Islands. The name Alaska came from an Aleut word "Alaxsxag" meaning "the object toward which the action of the sea is directed. Some tribes disperse throughout North and South America, but the Aleuts, the Eskimos (Inupiats & Yup'iks) and the Indians, which include the Athabascans and the coastal Tingtis and the Haidas, settle in Alaska.
- 1741 - First Russian ship arrives on Prince William Island. The fur trade is established and the natives are forced to hunt on the Russian's behalf.
- 1778 - Captain James Cook visits the Aleutian Islands which prompts English interest in the fur trade.
- 1784 - Grigor Ivanovich Shelikof arrives on Kodiak Island. He enslaves and ill treats the Natives, then sets up the first permanent Russian settlement on three Saints Bay where he builds a school and introduces the Russian Orthodox religion.
- 1790 - Alexander Baranof takes over the fur enterprise. He treats the Natives more humanly than his precessors, and moves the Russian colony to the site of the present city of Kodiak.
- 1799 - The Russian American Company is formed.
- 1802 - The Tingits raze to the ground the Russian town of Mikhailevsk, built near the site of present day Sitka on land they had sold to Baranof.
- 1812 - Russia reaches a settlement with America over hunting rights in Alaska.
- 1833 - The British Hudson's Bay Company established a fur-trading outpost in Alaska.
- Mid 19th Century - Russian power deminishes. British and Americans undermine the fur monopoly and the Tingits wage guerrila war.
- 1866 - A Western Union expedition under William H. Dall produces the first scientific studies of Alaska and the first map of the Yukon River.
America Takes Control
- 1867 - U. S. Congress, at the instigation of Secretary of State William Seward buy Alaska from the Russians for $7.2 million.
- 1870's - 80's - Fish canneries established around Nushagak Bay to exploit the huge runs of salmon. In the Aleutians, fur seals and otters are slaughtered ruthlessly. Whalers persue their quarries to the high Arctic.
The Gold Rush
- 1880 - Gold is discovered at Silver Bow Basin, and the town of Juneau is founded.
- 1896 - Gold is discovered in the Klondike, a tributary of the Yukon, and the easiest route to it is by ship to Skagway. The White Pass and Chilkoot Trail to the gold fields are tackled by thousands and Skagway becomes a thriving center.
- 1899 - Gold is discovered at Nome in the far Northwest and many prospectors who had been unsuccessful in the Yukon move westward to try again.
- 1903 - The town of Fairbanks, near a new gold strike at Tanana Hills, is founded on the site of a trading post.
- 1910 - Kennicott, the richest copper mine in the world starts operations in the Wrangell St. Elias Mountains.
World War II
- 1942 - The Alaska Highway (the Alcan) is constructed in under nine months as both a means of defense and an overland supply route to America's Russian allies. The Japanese land on the islands of Kiska and Attu.
- 1943 - After a two-week battle the Americans retake Attu in May. In July the Americans bomb Kiska and the Japanese withdraw.
Statehood and Oil
- 1957 - Oil is discovered at the Swanson River on the Kenai Peninsula.
- 1959 - Alaska becomes the 49th state in January, a few months before Hawaii joins the Union as the 50th state.
- 1968 - Oil is discovered at Prudhoe Bay.
- 1971 - The Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act gives Natives title to 44 million acres of land, and $963 million, distributed among specially formed Native Corporations.
- 1971-77 - Construction of the trans-Alaska pipeline to Valdez creates thousands of jobs and transforms Anchorage and Fairbanks into bright modern cities.
- 1976 - The Alaska Permanent Fund is created to insure long-term benefits from oil revenues.
- 1989 - The Exxon Valdez tanker spills 11 million gallons of oil into Prince William Sound.
- 1990s - The ecosystem of Prince William Sound recovers, although long-term effects are not fully known. Decline in production at Prudhoe Bay leads to lay-offs and the realization that the oil will not last forever.
Low-impact ecotourism flourishes with a consensus by government, industry and residents that Alaska's beauty and resources must be preserved for future generations.
- 2000 - Tourism continues to be one of the fastest-growing industries in the state.
copyright © 2005 by Everette Carr. All rights reserved.