Timeline of Alaska’s History




Alaska’s modern history is very short; it was not discovered by the developed world until halfway through the 18th century. However, the Indigenous people of Alaska have been here for quite some time.

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. https://www.alaskacenters.gov/alaska-timeline.cfmMajor Exploration – An in depth look at human exploration and occupation of Alaska. https://www.alaskacenters.gov/major-exploration.cfmThe Public Lands – Information on the history of public lands in Alaska, and how important they are to Alaskans. https://www.alaskacenters.gov/history-public-lands.cfm

Homesteading – Information about the Homestead Act of 1862 and the pioneers that homesteaded in Alaska. https://www.alaskacenters.gov/homestead.cfm

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.