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Why did Russia sell Alaska to the USA?

America bought Alaska from Russia in 1867, a deal negotiated by William Seward, then US Secretary of State. That Russian heritage is still preserved in Alaska, in the surnames of those that live along the Yukon, names like Demoski and Kozevniko and Shaishniko, and in the onion domes of the Orthodox churches in the villages downriver. The US purchase much derided at the time: the press dubbed it ‘Seward’s folly’, and the new acquisition as Walrussia. The Russians had exhausted the fur trade after wiping out most of the sea otters, and they had then lost interest in Alaska, believing it had to have few other natural resources. Not sure what to do with their new half billion acres, the US governed as a far-flung territory, with all the lawlessness that entailed. Statehood would not come until 1959, with the United States capitalizing on Alaska’s strategic military importance vis-a-vis Japan and Russia. But it was in 1967 that Seward’s folly hit pay dirt. The oilfield discovered on the North Slope would prove to be the largest in the United States.

Who can say what the situation would be if the Russians owned Alaska today? Russia would share a land border with Canada. The Russians would have benefited hugely from the sixteen billion barrels of oil that have so far been extracted from Prudhoe Bay. The US would have no claim on the Arctic, a place that will have huge political and economic importance as the icecap thaws during this century. It is quite possible that the world would look very different.


This information was taken from Quora. Click here to view the original post.

Do you think Russia made a huge mistake by selling Alaska to the United States?

#History #Quora

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What are your thoughts on this subject?
129 Comments
David Heinz
In my opinion that purchase is the second best purchase in US history after the Louisiana purchase. I think that it was Devine intervention by our Father in heaven. Some may scoff at me for my opinion but can you imagine if Russia still owned Alaska yet. Would not be good at all.
83
Jul 12, 2018 10:34PM
Jim Kinsey
Mari-Anne Branken, Besides, in 1867 it was hard to govern. Travel was slow and Alaska was ice bound most of the year. Communications were non existent and sometimes took the better part of a year to go from Moscow to Sitka. We should thank our lucky stars for William Seward.
40
Jul 23, 2018 4:52PM
Rafi Manory
I reccommend the excellent novel "Alaska" by James Mitchener...it summarizes not only the purchase of Alaska but also what happenned before and after...
9
Nov 20, 2018 10:58PM
John Morris
Russia was broke from fighting war after war in Europe. They weren’t going to sell to the British colony (Canada) as they were at war with Britain.
0
Oct 16, 2021 5:21PM
Lawrie Fegan
Brian Stone, but he said it was Devine intervention, whoever Devine was !
0
Sep 29, 2021 8:39AM
theotishaynes
Well I guess one could call the situation a divine comedy! On a more serious note it was the best and one of the most lucrative moves that the U.S could have ever made.
1
Aug 31, 2021 4:55PM
Mark Yakabuski
The Alaska purchase figures in the plot of Jeffery Archer’s book “A Matter of Honour”. An ex British officer leaves a Russian icon to his son who discovers hidden in the back is not a bill of sale but the only copy of the lease agreement signed by the Czar himself that Alaska goes back to the Russians after 100 years in 1966 akin to the UK lease on Hong Kong. Needless to say the KGB then chase him all over Europe. Great book. I think I read it in one sitting.
1
Aug 21, 2021 4:42PM
john duckett
David Heinz, Devine? No such word so maybe divine?
0
Aug 18, 2021 6:26PM
Jenny Bond
David Heinz, I don’t think it is that good that the Americans have it either! They have have done nothing for the indigenous people and have exploited the land. Hardly a heritage to be proud of!
0
Aug 4, 2021 9:37PM
Geoffrey Kellogg
Likda funny due to Jackson's manifest Destiny. Going north instead of south. Just saying.😀
1
Aug 17, 2020 4:49PM
sdsmed
About as big a mistake as that thing hanging between your lips.Donald Frost,
0
May 3, 2020 6:01PM
carens
If you haven’t been, you should. Alaska is beautiful! The 🎣 is fantastic and many of the guys I know love the hunting.
2
Dec 13, 2019 5:01PM
hillallan gh
No doubt that Russians have often lamented selling us Alaska. Thank God that Henry Seward was a prescient and great man. It has been noted by historians that President Lincoln could not have governed as he did; absent the friendship, advising and decency of Henry Seward.
3
Oct 6, 2019 9:29PM
Andrew Richard
Huge mistake by Russia. Just shows what a good long term investment property is. Land, they're not making anymore of it!
1
Jul 28, 2019 12:27AM
segarolow
One of the best things the USA has ever done!
1
May 28, 2019 7:31PM
Max Pat Nunn Ingersoll
David Heinz, I agree!
0
May 22, 2019 10:40PM
Steve Brewer
I agree David. Canada missed a great opportunity but then it didn’t exist until the same year....1867
1
Mar 11, 2019 5:03PM
Clara Pellini
I don’t want a wedding dress! I just said it was beautiful!
1
Mar 10, 2019 8:07PM

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