History of the United States
United States of America

Was Alaska a colony or a territory?


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After Alaska's purchase it was named a Department and placed under the control of the US Army until 1877. The US Department of the Treasury was then given responsibility for the area for two years at which time it was turned over to the US Navy. Alaska suffered benign neglect from purchase until 17 May 1884 when it was renamed the District of Alaska and placed under the control of a Governor appointed by the President of the United States. For more then three years an Army Captain had complete control of what would become the largest US State.

As a District it remained an orphan for 29 years under seven different political appointees. In 1912 it was given status as a US Territory with 10 appointed (two acting) Governors.

It 1959 it became a US State with it own elected Governor (William Egan who is the only Alaskan born Governor to hold that position). It was never a Colony and was rarely well goverened with the possible exception of Egan's years as the First and Fourth Governor.