On a day like this in 1959 Alaska becomes the 49th state of the North American Union.

In the early 1900s, a movement to support Alaska joining as an American state began, but in all 48 states, lawmakers were concerned that Alaska’s population was too sparse, distant, and isolated, and its economy too unstable to make it worthwhile for the US

World War II and the Japanese invasion highlighted the strategic importance of Alaska, and the question of statehood was taken more seriously, but above all it was the discovery of oil in the Swanson River on the Kenai Peninsula that dissipated the weak and dependent image of Alaska.

President Eisenhower signed the Alaska State Act on July 7, 1958, which paved the way for Alaska to become the 49th state of the union on January 3, 1959. Juneau, the territorial capital, continued as the state capital, and William A. Egan was sworn in as the first governor.

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