On March 30, 1867, William H. Seward, Secretary of State, signed the Alaska Treaty of Cessation with Russia. The United States bought the 586,412 square miles of territory now known as Alaska, for $7.2 million, about two cents per acre. Even before the check had cleared, this event was infamously known as "Seward's Folly" by skeptics who saw Alaska as a barren wasteland. William Seward was vindicated when gold was discovered in the Yukon in 1896. Since then, Alaska has been a rich region for natural resources and a new frontier for adventurous Americans.
Purchase of Alaska Footnote Page
William H. Seward Footnote Page