Alaska Purchase: Seward's Folly
Alaska Purchase History for kids
The territories were called Alaska, and included a massive tract of land in the extreme Northwest of the North American continent. The price to be paid was 7.2 million dollars. The Senate was taken by surprise, but it ratified the Treaty of Russia. Full details of important dates and the people involved in the Alaskan acquisition are detailed on the fact sheet.
Facts about the
Alaska Purchase for kids
What was the Alaska Purchase? It was the acquisition of Russian America by the United States from the Russian Empire.
When was the Alaska Purchase?
Who negotiated the Alaska Purchase? It was negotiated and signed at a convention in Washington on March 30, 1867 by Secretary of State William Seward and Russian Minister and Envoy to the United States who was Edouard de Stoeckl
The Treaty of Russia was signed and negotiated on behalf of His Majesty the Emperor of Russia and the United States of America. The Russian Emperor was Tsar Alexander II
Why did Russia sell Alaska? Russia lacked the money required to support military presence and establish new settlements along the Pacific coast of North America. Russia believed that Great Britain would take the land from Russia by force. It was politically and strategically preferable for the United States to buy the land than have it taken by the British. Defeat in the Crimean War further reduced Russian interest in this region.
How many acres were purchased? 586,412 square miles (1,518,800 km2) which is double the size of Texas
The Treaty of Russia, detailed the amount for purchasing the Russian American territories for the amount of $7.2 million.
The Treaty with Russia important Dates: Treaty of Russia signed March 30, 1867. Ratification Advised by Senate on April 9, 1867. President Johnson signed the treaty on May 28, 1867. Ratification Exchanged at Washington on June 20, 1867. Proclaimed, June 20, 1867.
The territory was formally transferred from Russian to American control at Sitka, on the Alaskan panhandle, on October 18, 1867
The House of Representatives approved funding for the purchase of the Russian territory by a vote of 113-48 on July 14, 1868
Russia offered to sell the Alaskan lands to the United States in 1859 but negotiations were brought to a halt by the political internal strife in the US which led to the outbreak of the Civil War
The Russians were initially interested in the lands because of the possible raw materials and were especially interested in furs. Peter the Great sent Vitus Bering to explore the North Pacific in 1725 and the Russians claimed the lands. They found the land inhospitable, difficult to settle and were attacked by hostile the native Aleut people.
The transfer ceremony took place in Sitka on October 18, 1867 when the Russian flag was lowered and the American flag raised. Russian and American soldiers paraded in front of the governorís house accompanied by bands and the sound of firing canon.
The newspaper press heavily criticized the acquisition which was given several nicknames including "Seward's Folly", "Seward's icebox" and "Andrew Johnsonís Polar Bear Garden"
William Seward was finally vindicated 60 years later when a Important gold deposit was discovered in the Yukon in 1896 which led to the Klondike gold rush
The strategic and tactical importance of the territory was finally appreciated and recognized during WW2
Alaska became a state on January 3, 1959
Significance of the Treaty of Russia: It was extremely significant as it
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