Alaska History Topics
The following curated topics about Alaska's history are designed to help you, the student, find resources held by the Alaska State Archives. Archivists periodically update these resources and topics.
Anti-Discrimination Act of 1945 and Elizabeth Peratrovich
The Alaska Anti-Discrimination Act of 1945 was the first anti-discrimination law in American history to be passed. This legislation was led by the Alaska Native Sisterhood (ANS) and the Alaska Native Brotherhood (ANB), including Tlingit and ANS Grand President Elizabeth Peratrovich.
Serum Run of 1925
In January of 1925 a diphtheria outbreak occurred at Nome, sparking fears that an epidemic would spread and kill thousands, if antitoxin medicine was not supplied. Beginning in Nenana, dog sled teams mushed 674 miles to Nome, delivering the much needed antitoxin serum. Many aspects of this journey are commemorated annually in the Iditarod dog sled race.
Japanese Internment in Alaska during World War II
Executive Order 9066, issued by President Franklin D. Roosevelt on February 19, 1942, authorized the incarceration of Japanese Americans, Italian Americans, and German Americans. Japanese Americans living in Alaska were arrested and sent to a temporary internment camp at Fort Richardson before being sent to the Lower 48.
Unangax̂ (Aleut) Relocation during World War II
After the Japanese attack of Alaska's Aleutian Islands on June 3, 1942, officials forcedly evacuated Alaska Natives from the Aleutian and Pribilof Islands. These Alaska Natives were relocated to six areas in Southeast Alaska, some were housed in old and derelict cannery buildings. Lack of proper food, housing, and medicinal care resulted in the deaths and trauma for those relocated.
Boarding Schools in Alaska
Historic boarding schools for Alaska Natives were established by American newcomers to detribalize and assimilate indigenous people into Euro-American culture. These schools were operated by Christian missionaries of various denominations until around the turn of the 20th century when many of these schools were taken over by the federal government.
World War I and the Alaskan Experience
World War I was a global war that lasted from July 1914 to November 1918 that resulted in over nine million combatant and seven million civilian casualties. Even before the United States joined the war in 1917 Alaskan women joined the Red Cross and Alaskan men traveled to Canada to enlist and fight with British Expeditionary Forces. In Alaska more than 10,000 men enlisted to serve between 1917 and 1918.
The Exxon Valdez Oil Spill
At 12:04 am on March 24, 1989 the oil tanker Exxon Valdez struck Bligh Reef off Prince William Sound, Alaska resulting in one of the largest oil spills in United States history. Approximately 11 million gallons of crude oil were spilled covering an area of 460 miles from Bligh Reef to the village of Chignik, impacting 1,300 miles of Alaskan coastline.
Page last updated 09/19/2019