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When William Seward, Lincoln's Secretary of State, paid only two cents an acre for the purchase of Alaska from Old Russia, he never dreamed that he was buying one of the world's epic gateways.
Thousands of years ago, ancient Siberians migrated to Alaska, following caribou herds over the Bering land bridge.
In the 1740's Russians hunted the sea otter almost to extinction for its rich fur. Their continuing legacy is the Russian Orthodox Church.
After Seward's purchase came post Civil War American speculators and exploiters.
In the late 1800's, came Gold Seekers, braving the unbelievable hardships of Chilkoot Pass to reach the Klondike gold fields.
During World War II, the Japanese invaded the Aleutian Islands as would-be conquerors, but American forces defeated them in "The Forgotten War".
As it has for thousands of years, Alaska continues to be an epic gateway. The largest of all the states is the most thinly populated. With a coastline stretching 33,000 miles, seventeen of the highest peaks in the U.S., and three million lakes, Alaska is rugged yet staggeringly beautiful.
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