Alaska is the largest state in theUnited States by area. It is situated in the northwest extremity of the North American continent, with Canada to the east, the Arctic Ocean to the north, and the Pacific Ocean to the west and south, with Russia further west across the Bering Strait. Alaska is the 4th least populousand the least densely populated of the 50 United States. Approximately half of Alaska’s 722,718 residents live within the Anchorage metropolitan area.
Alaska was purchased from Russia on March 30, 1867, for $7.2 million ($120 million adjusted for inflation) at approximately two cents per acre ($4.74/km²). The land went through several administrative changes before becoming anorganized (or incorporated) territory on May 11, 1912, and the 49th state of the U.S. on January 3, 1959.