The Purchase of Alaska: From Bad Deal to Great Bargain

TLDR In 1867, the United States purchased Alaska from Russia for $7.2 million, or approximately two cents an acre. Initially seen as a bad deal, the purchase is now considered a great bargain due to the strategic reasons behind it and the later discovery of gold in the region.

Timestamped Summary

00:00 In 1867, the United States purchased Alaska from Russia for two cents an acre, which was initially considered a bad deal but is now seen as a great bargain.
01:35 The Russian presence in Alaska was primarily focused on fur trading and trapping, and their attempts at colonization in the Americas were not successful due to the high transportation costs.
02:55 Russia realized that they couldn't hold onto Alaska for long, especially with the growing size and power of the United States, and the potential for a gold rush in the region.
04:09 In 1858, Russian Tsar Alexander II decided to sell Alaska to the United States for strategic reasons and to generate much-needed money, but negotiations were delayed due to changes in the US administration and the onset of the Civil War.
05:31 Negotiations for the purchase of Alaska entered their final stage in March 1867, with the initial U.S. offer of $5 million being rejected by the Russians as too low.
06:50 The final price for the purchase of Alaska was $7.2 million, or approximately two cents an acre, and the treaty was signed on March 30, 1867, with the majority of coverage being positive but some newspapers disparaging the purchase.
08:13 After the purchase, President Johnson's impeachment delayed the authorization of funds for Alaska, and it was later discovered that bribes were made to Congress members for approval; most Russians and Americans left Alaska due to lack of economic opportunities, but Alaska's fortunes changed during the Klondike Gold Rush, and Seward visited Alaska after retiring.
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