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The Biggest State

Alaska is the largest state in the United States. Alaska is so big, Texas could fit in it twice. Alaska is not next to the other states in the United States. You have to travel through Canada to get there by land.

Few People

Alaska is very big, but not many people live there. Most states have more people than Alaska has. Only about 649,000 people live in Alaska. Maybe that is because most places in Alaska are hard to reach. The state has few roads and highways. People usually travel by airplane or boat.

Long Days and Nights

The sun does not rise for several weeks in northern Alaska in the winter. That means that it stays dark all 24 hours of the day. During summer, the sun does not set in June and July. So it stays light 24 hours a day. Northern Alaska has these long periods of light and dark because it is located very far north. It is near the Arctic Circle and the North Pole.

Weather and Nature

When people think of Alaska, they think of really cold weather. In the summer though, most parts of the state are fairly warm with temperatures between 40° and 80°F. Winters can be extremely cold, with temperatures between 30° and -20°F. That is 20° below 0!

People who come to Alaska find a land of great natural beauty. Many fall in love with the snow-capped mountains, vast forests, and icy lakes and rivers. The state has volcanoes, glaciers, and even rain forest. A glacier is a huge sheet of slowly-moving ice. Alaska is home to wild animals such as seals, polar bears, moose, brown bears, and grizzly bears.

Who Lives in Alaska?

About 16 out of every 100 people in the state have ancestors who came to Alaska thousands of years ago. Ancestors are relatives who lived long ago. These people include Aleut (uh LOOT), Inuit (IHN yoo iht), Athabascan (ath uh BAS kuhn), and Northwest Coast Indians, as well as other native peoples.

Most of the rest of the people in Alaska have European ancestors. Some people's ancestors were Russians who settled there in the 1700s. Many other people or their ancestors moved to Alaska from different parts of the United States.

Working in Alaska

People do many kinds of work in Alaska. Some produce oil, which is found in the state. Alaska has huge forests, as well. People have jobs cutting down trees or working in mills where paper is made. Alaska also has fishing boats and seafood factories. Workers on the boats catch herring, salmon (SAM uhn), halibut, and crabs to bring to the factories.

Many people work with tourists, or visitors. These workers run hotels, plan camping trips for people, or lead fishing and sight-seeing trips.

Other people in Alaska work as teachers, doctors, nurses, and store owners. They have the same kinds of jobs that people in other communities have.