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All about Alaska

Alaska is a big peninsula (that is, a body of land that sticks out into the ocean) that became a Territory of the United States nearly a hundred years ago when the United States bought it from Russia. It is twice as big as Texas, which is the largest State. But not very many people live there—only about 130,000, which is no more than there are in a fairsized city. Perhaps that is because Alaska is so far away from the United States.

Alaska is a big peninsula (that is, a body of land that sticks out into the ocean) that became a Territory of the United States nearly a hundred years ago when the United States bought it from Russia. It is twice as big as Texas, which is the largest State. But not very many people live there—only about 130,000, which is no more than there are in a fairsized city. Perhaps that is because Alaska is so far away from the United States. It is nearly 1,200 miles by sea from the nearest big cities of the American Pacific Coast to the cities of Alaska, and it used to take several days to get there on a ship, because there are no railroads to Alaska. Airplane travel has reduced the traveling time to a few hours, of course, and since the Alaska Highway was built during World War II it is possible to drive an automobile to Alaska, or to send big trucks loaded with goods.

There are many exciting stories about Alaska, because once there was a big "gold rush" that caused thousands of adventurers, both good men and desperate men, to seek their fortunes there. They lived a rough and often lawless frontier life. The poet Robert W. Service wrote some of his most popular poems, and Jack London wrote some of his best novels, about the gold-rush days in Alaska and in the Klondike region of the Yukon, the Canadian territory that touches Alaska on the east. During World War II, the United States had to pay more attention to Alaska than ever before. If Japan could have captured it, the United States could easily have been bombed or even invaded. At the western tip of Alaska, across a narrow stretch of water called the Bering Strait, which is only about fifty miles wide in some places, lies the eastern tip of SiberiaArticle Submission, which belongs to Russia.

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