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On this day – Alaska became our 49th State

January 3, 2026

|Recurring Event (See all)

An event every year that begins at 12:00 am on day 3 of January, repeating indefinitely

On January 3, 1959, Alaska was admitted the Union as our 49th state. A land of extremes, it is both our largest and northernmost state, and is home to the highest mountain in North America, Denali. Alaska is also the only U.S. state to experience the long nights and days that occur near to the poles.

Did you know? Alaska was originally obtained as a U.S. territory through a deal made with Russia by Secretary of State William Seward in 1867. Many were skeptical at the time, calling the land acquisition “Seward’s Folly.” The American people came around to the “folly” however, when gold was discovered in 1898, triggering a gold rush. Today, Alaska is renowned not only for its natural resources, but its incredible beauty.

What’s in a name? “Alaska” derives from the Aleut word “alaxsxaq,” meaning “mainland” or “object towards which the action of the sea is directed.”

 

Mt. McKinley, Sydney Laurence, c. 1911

-Written by Anna Zemaitaitis, Communications and Design Officer

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Date:
January 3, 2026
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