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A day ahead

The far-western Aleutian Islands of Alaska were once a day ahead of the rest of Alaska. Reason: Those islands lie west of 180° latitude, which originally determined the International Dateline.

To avoid confusion, the International Dateline was bent directly west of those islands (see map). This geographical adjustment put the islands on a same-day basis with the rest of Alaska.

Alaska the name

It derives from Alyeska, a native word meaning "Great Land". Alaska's nickname is "the last frontier".


Alaska has more coastline than collectively those of the other 49 states combined.

Aurora Borealis  (Northern Lights)

They exist 365 days a year. But don't expect to see them during the long-day summer because the northern-reaching sun lightens the night sky sufficiently for most human eyes to perceive them. But you may be lucky, especially in late September.

Most famous Alaskan resident

Sarah Palin, McCain's 2009 vice presidential running mate.

Most famous Alaskan sport

Dog racing. The Iditarod is the most prestigious and internationally known race.

Lower 48

Alaskans freely use this term to define the other 48 continental USA states.

Bargain of the century

America bought Alaska from the Russians in 1867 for just $7,200,000.


Alaska is twice as big as Texas. More than 400 Rhode Islands could fit into Alaska.

Totem poles

They tell family or tribal histories and not, as some people believe, tributes to gods.

Alaska's 1964 earthquake

It measured an astonishing 9.2 on the Richter Scale.

Alaska cruise popularity

About a million travelers per year take the cruise.

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