Alaska is a state of the United States in extreme northwest North America including the Aleutian Islands and Alexander Archipelago. It is separated from the other mainland states by British Columbia, Canada. Alaska was admitted as the 49th state in 1959 and is the largest state of the Union. The territory was purchased from Russia in 1867 for $7,200,000 and was known as Seward's Folly (after Secretary of State William H. Seward, who negotiated the purchase) until gold was discovered in the late 1800s. Juneau is the capital and Anchorage the largest city. Population: 663,000.