Contingent Profile:

Team Alaska

The largest of the American states was once a part of imperial Russia. Purchased from the Czar in 1867 for $7.2 million, Alaska remained a territory until statehood was granted in 1959. Gold rushes were abundant in Fairbanks, Nome, Iditarod, Hope and Juneau, copper strikes at Kennecott, and oil rushes on the Kenai Peninsula and along the North Slope have all contributed to Alaska’s diverse economy and population. It was the major gateway to the Klondike gold rush in the Yukon, and is now experiencing a rebirth of this fabled industry in both south eastern and interior regions.

Alaska is one of the least populous of the American states, with fewer than 650,000 residents, primarily along the railroad route between Anchorage and Fairbanks. About 30% of the state’s population is Aboriginal, Aleuts and Inuit peoples.

The capital city, Juneau, is located in the south eastern panhandle along the 1,000-mile Inside Passage that shelters shipping from the North Pacific storm track. The largest city, Anchorage, is the marketing and service centre for Alaska’s industrial and tourism base as well as the North Pacific air cargo industry. Fairbanks, the ‘Golden Heart’ of the state’s interior, has seen a rapid expansion in gold mining.

Alaska’s flag represents the constellation Ursus major, the Big Dipper or Great Bear, the primary celestial landmark and navigational guide in the northern latitudes. The gold stars of the state’s flag are displayed on a blue background. Alaska’s team colours are blue and gold.