Happy Seward’s Day or was the Alaska Purchase folly?

Today in Alaska we celebrate Seward’s Day which commemorates the signing of the Alaska Purchase treaty. On March 30, 1867, Secretary of State William H. Seward, negotiated the treaty with Russia who was looking to unload the real estate for fear of it being taken by Britain in another war and sold it for a pittance of ~$7M. Alexander II first offered to sell the territory of Alaska on 1859 but the outbreak of the American Civil War overwhelmed U.S. officials.


Though the Alaska Purchase was quickly mocked by many calling it Seward’s Folly, others saw the immediate potential for natural resources. Anyway about it, Alaska’s potential was realized in 1896 with the discovery of vast gold deposits and the start of the Klondike Gold Rush.

From my perspective, it worked out even though the 49th State’s administration decided to celebrate this holiday a week early this year (March 25).  Don’t ask me why but on this site we are celebrating it now, 146 years to the day from purchase.

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“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you did not do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover …”

-Mark Twain

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