Alaska is part of the United States as one of the 50 states that comprise the nation. Alaska was purchased in 1867 by Secretary of State William Seward for $7.2 million, a purchase nicknamed "Seward's Folly."
Alaska was made a civil and judicial district of the United States in 1884, putting Alaska under jurisdiction of U.S. law. Alaska became a territory in 1912 after the demarcation of international borders between the United States and Canada. In 1959, Alaska became the 49th state admitted into the Union. Alaska is the largest state with regard to area but is 47th in terms of population.