Alaska was the butt of many jokes for a long time when the U.S. purchased it!
Where the heck did Alaska come from?
It's a vast piece of frozen tundra, unbelievable wilderness and terrifying creatures that really has no business being a part of the United States.
It wasn't won in a war, it wasn't conquered and it wasn't claimed by some American explorers. It was purchased, but it ended up being the butt of many jokes for years!
William Seward was the Secretary of State under Abraham Lincoln and Andrew Johnson. He was a great advocate for territory expansion and looked northward for the best opportunity.
Before then, though, he made claims to acquire places like British Columbia, the Danish West Indies, the Samana Peninsula of the Dominican Republic, Panama, the Hawaiian Island and succeed in annexing the Midway Islands.
He is best known for buying Alaska from Russia on March 30, 1867. He acquired 586,412 square miles of land, which is more than twice the size of Texas, for the paltry sum of $7,200,000 ($121 million in today's dollars).
He was mocked for the purchase and it became known as Seward's Folly. Seward strongly believed that purchasing Alaska was his greatest achievement, though it would take a generation for the people to realize it!