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5 Fun Facts About February 1 In Alaska History

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1. In 1925, on February 1, the town of Nome, Alaska received a lifesaving shipment of diphtheria antitoxin by dog sled relay known as the "Great Race of Mercy." This heroic effort by a team of sled dog drivers, including famous musher Gunnar Kaasen and his lead dog Balto, saved countless lives and became a legendary moment in Alaska history.

2. On February 1, 1867, the Alaska Territory was officially transferred from Russia to the United States with the signing of the Alaska Purchase Treaty in Sitka. This event marked the beginning of American involvement in Alaska, which eventually led to statehood in 1959.

3. February 1, 1938 marked the completion of the Alaska Highway, a 1,700-mile road stretching from Dawson Creek, British Columbia to Fairbanks, Alaska. The highway was constructed during World War II to provide a land route to Alaska for military purposes, and it continues to be an important transportation route today.

4. On February 1, 1990, the Exxon Valdez oil tanker ran aground in Prince William Sound, causing one of the worst environmental disasters in U.S. history. The spill released over 10 million gallons of crude oil, devastating wildlife and ecosystems in the area and leading to major changes in oil transportation regulations.

5. February 1, 1920 saw the founding of the Native Brotherhood of Alaska, an organization dedicated to promoting and protecting the rights of Alaska Native people. The group played a key role in advocating for the passage of the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act in 1971, which granted Native people ownership of millions of acres of land and billions of dollars in compensation.
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