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5 Fun Facts About April 30 In Alaska History

---Learn Every Day: AK Today In History Facts Texted Each Day - Text: history ak To: 618-270-4005---

1. In 1943, the Alaska Highway officially opened to the public. The 1,500-mile road was constructed during World War II to connect the contiguous United States to Alaska through Canada, providing a crucial supply route for military operations in the region.

2. In 1966, the town of Valdez was nearly destroyed by a magnitude 8.6 earthquake—the second largest ever recorded in North America. The quake triggered a massive underwater landslide, which in turn caused a tsunami that devastated the town's waterfront.

3. In 1971, the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA) was signed into law by President Richard Nixon. The act settled long-standing Native land claims by turning over millions of acres of federal land to Native corporations, which were established to promote economic development and cultural preservation.

4. In 1989, the oil tanker Exxon Valdez ran aground on a reef in Prince William Sound, spilling more than 11 million gallons of crude oil into the water. The resulting environmental disaster was one of the worst in history, killing wildlife, devastating local fishing communities, and sparking major reforms in the oil industry's safety practices.

5. In 2018, the village of Shishmaref voted to relocate due to the effects of climate change. Located on a barrier island in the Bering Sea, the village has been experiencing significant erosion and flooding as sea levels rise and sea ice thins, making it increasingly vulnerable to storm surges and other weather events. The relocation process is expected to take years and cost millions of dollars.
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