"Buy" Way Of Alaska
As theory goes, at one time the surface area of Earth was one great land mass that eventually split into five continents and assorted leftovers. But as science also estimates, not all continents had human inhabitants. For the Americas, it is surmised that pre-Columbian man, made his way across the Bering Land Bridge, and finding the climate inhospitable, continued south. Not everyone kept going, though, which is how Alaska came to be populated by Inuit, Eskimos and other peoples.
The discovery of "modern" Alaska was made by a Russian explorer in the mid 18th century. Vitus Jonassen Bering, for whom the land bridge is named, joined the Russian Navy at 22, and under the auspices of Peter the Great, and subsequent Russian leaders, was vested with furthering Russia's interests by exploring the east and northern reaches of their vast land. Turned back by misfortune on a number of occasions, Bering set forth for the last time in 1741, and managed to cruise by the southern shores of Alaska, landing on Kayak Island. His second ship landed in an archipelago, to the southeast.
Alaska was now Russian territory, but not to anyone's benefit. Although the Russia-American trading company would found a settlement as part of their sea otter fur trade, and even the Spaniards would "squat" in some quickly abandoned areas over the years, the cold climes never nurtured anything in the way of a permanent population.
Then in 1867, the American government became seriously worried about the British North America Act, under which Canada, that land to the North, would be declared one Dominion. Fearing that the "Dominion" was going to be too complete for comfort, the U.S. Secretary of State negotiated the purchase of Alaska from Russia, for $7.2 million.