Logo bar of the Alaska Public Lands Information Centers which are located in Anchorage, Fairbanks, Tok and Ketchikan
Black and white photo of a small log cabin and stilted cache surrounded by tall brush and spruce trees. Taken near Denali in 1946.
text size
Printer Friendly
Discover Alaska's Rich History and Culture
Five gold panners stare at the camera with eyes still lusting for the gold they know in their hearts is in this enormous state.
The Klondike Gold Rush was one of many major events that shaped this state.

The history of Alaska is a rich one, dating back to the first human migrations across the Bering Land Bridge into what we now know as Western Alaska. The abundance of material objects and remains found all over Alaska's public lands gives evidence of long-term human occupation. This evidence proved to be a valuable resource in scientific investigations of human migrations.

Alaska's history and is often tied directly to its natural resources. In fact, all of the major state population booms were direct results of a widespread desire for one of the many resources available in Alaska such as sea otter pelts, gold or oil. Yet these increases in population only mark an extremely small fraction of human history in Alaska.  

For thousands of years, Alaska has been home to people whose descendants still live and work here, continuing many of their ancestors' lifestyles, values, and traditions. Public lands are places where visitors can connect with their pasts and learn about traditional cultures.

History Subjects
Looking for details? Alaska's natural history is a long one, marked by great migrations, wild exploration and exploitation, and even some natural disasters. Click one of the links below to get a more exact version of our history!

General Alaska Timeline - A timeline detailing the development of Alaska over time.

Major Exploration
- An in depth look at human exploration and occupation of Alaska.

The Public Lands - Information on the history of public lands in Alaska, and how important they are to Alaskans.

Homesteading - Information about the Homestead Act of 1862 and the pioneers that homesteaded in Alaska.

Other Resources

The Alaska Native Heritage Center in Anchorage has some great exhibits, classes, and programs available, making it a must-see for any history/culture buff.

Portrait of early American explorer John Ledyard.
Adventures of John Ledyard
Come explore the unbelievable life of John Ledyard on our living history walking tour.
Hundreds of gold flakes in a green pan.
Gold Fever
Find out more information on gold mining or panning in Alaska!
Captain Cook
Walking Tours
Join a park ranger at 11:00 & 3:15 during the summer for a FREE Captain Cook walking tour!
President Lincoln during the Civil War
the Civil War: 150 Years
National Park Service Sesquicentennial  Commemoration
The Noatak River Valley in Gates of the Arctic National Park Did You Know?
The top five largest wilderness areas in the United States are located in Alaska. Together, they protect over 33 million acres, located in Gates of the Arctic, Katmai, & Wrangell-St Elias National Parks & Preserves, Noatak National Preserve, & Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.