Largest State in the United States in area, 586,400 sq. miles. The geographic center, or that point on which a surface of uniform thickness would balance, for the State is located at 635000N, 1520000W, approximately 60 miles NW of Denali.
Purchased from Russia in 1867 and organized as a territory in 1912, Alaska officially became the 49th State on January 3, 1959. The capital is Juneau. The name is derived from a word in use by the Aleutian islanders at the time of the coming of the Russians, "Alyaska" or "Alaksu" and by them applied to the mainland of the peninsula of Alaska. The area was called "New Albion" by Sir Francis Drake. Tales were heard among sailors of fabled "Straits of Anian" and mythical "Gamaland" lying to the NE of Japan. The Russians designated it "Russian America."