This is a copy of the original check from the United States to Russia. The United States purhased Alaska from the Russian Empire for 7.2 million U.S. dollars, or approximately two cents per acre. The treaty enlarged the United States by 586,000 square miles, an area more than twice the size of Texas.
Alaska is the least densely populated state, and one of the most sparsely populated areas in the world, at 1.2 inhabitants per square mile. Alaska is the largest U.S. state by area. Alaska contains 17 of the 20 highest peaks in the United States. At 20,320 feet, Mt. McKinley is the tallest mountain in North America.
Acquired by the United States in 1867, the territory was dubbed “Seward’s Folly” after U.S. Secretary of State William Seward, who arranged to purchase the land from Russia. Critics of the purchase believed that the land had nothing to offer, but the discovery of gold in the 1890s created a stampede of prospectors and settlers.
The area went through several administrative changes before becoming organized as a territory on May 11, 1912. It was admitted as the 49th state of the U.S. on January 3, 1959.