Alaska became the 49th state admitted to the Union, gaining statehood on Jan. 3, 1959. Nicknamed The Last Frontier, Alaska was preceded in admission by Arizona and followed by Hawaii later that same year.
With a land area of more than 570,000 square miles, Alaska is the largest of the 50 states and more than twice the size of the second-largest, Texas. Alaska shares borders with the Canadian provinces of Yukon Territory to the east and British Columbia to the southeast. Bordering bodies of water include the Arctic Ocean, Pacific Ocean, Beaufort Sea, Bering Sea and the Gulf of Alaska. The economy is largely supported by revenue from the state's oil and natural gas reserves. Fisheries, furs, wood products and tourism are also major industries.