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The earliest European inhabitants were Russian fur traders who first came to Kodiak Island in 1783.  

Juneau and Douglas were gold-mining camps that sprang up in the 1880s, but a greater boom was the Klondike gold rush of the late 1890s. Most of the miners who headed to the Klondike in the Yukon Territory were Americans, and most of them passed through Alaska. Gold miners founded Nome in 1899 and Fairbanks in 1902. Anchorage was founded in 1915 as the headquarters of the Alaska Railroad, then under construction, and has since become the center of population.

Some people who arrived during the gold rush stayed on in Alaska, but many returned to the "lower 48." Homesteading was not legal in Alaska until 1898, and those filing homestead claims after that date did not have to remain on the land in order to retain their rights.

The Alaska population has increased steadily since 1929. The Great Depression and World War II brought many people seeking employment. The United States government settled about 200 families from Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin in the Matanuska Valley, fifty miles from Anchorage (see more about the Matanuska Valley Project at this site).

The North Slope oil discoveries of the late 1960s brought another wave of immigration. When Alaska became a state in 1959, half of the state's population had resided in the state less than five years. Many residents were from western states. Only about one-fifth of the white population was born in Alaska.

Today, immigrants, Latinos, and Asians account for growing shares of the economy and electorate in Alaska. Foreign-born immigrants make up 7.1% of the state’s population, and more than half of them are naturalized U.S. citizens who are eligible to vote. “New Americans”—immigrants and the children of immigrants—account for 6.9% of registered voters in the state.


50 Years of Arrivals to Alaska, 1906-1956.  Over 70,400 entries:
Aa-Am | An-Az | Ba-Bi | Bj-Bz | Bl-Bo | Br-Bz | Ca-Ch | Ci-Cz | Da-De | Dg-Dz | E | F | Ga-Gl | Go-Gy | Ha | He-Hj | Ho-Hy | I | J | Ka-Ke | Kh-Kl | Kn-Ky | La | Le | Lh-Ly | Ma | Mca-Mcdi | Mcdo-Mcw | Me-Ml | Moa-Morg | Mori-Mz | N | O | Pa-Pe | Ph-Py | Q | Ra-Rh | Ri-Ry | Sa-Sh | Si-Sp | Sq-Sz | Ta-Te | Th | Ti-To | Tr-Tz | U | V | Wa-We | Wh-Wy | Y | Z | No Surnames




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