This Day in History – March 30th, 1867

William H. Seward, the United States Secretary of State, negotiated the Alaska Purchase (also known as Seward’s Folly) with the Russians and on March 30th, 1867 the United States purchased Alaska for $7.2 million; about 2-cent/acre. Alaska was loosely governed by the military initially, and was administered as a district starting in 1884, with a governor appointed by the President of the United States. A federal district court was headquartered in Sitka.

Alaska Purchase

For most of Alaska’s first decade under the United States flag, Sitka was the only community inhabited by American settlers. They organized a “provisional city government,” which was Alaska’s first municipal government, but not in a legal sense. Legislation allowing Alaskan communities to legally incorporate as cities did not come about until 1900, and home rule for cities was extremely limited or unavailable until statehood took effect in 1959.

Flourish 3

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