Check for the Purchase of Alaska

cancelled checkIn the course of doing research, I often stumble across information I think others will find interesting. I’ve decided to share some of those discoveries in my Monday posts. Today’s topic is the check for the purchase of Alaska.

In 1866,the Russian government offered to sell the territory of Alaska to the United States. On March 30, 1867, the two parties agreed that the United States would pay Russia $7.2 million for the territory of Alaska. With this check, issued August 1st of 1868, the United States acquired nearly 600,000 square miles for less than 2 cents an acre. Opponents persisted in calling the Alaska Purchase “Seward’s Folly” or “Seward’s Icebox” until 1896, when the Klondike Gold Strike convinced even the harshest critics that Alaska was a valuable addition to American territory. I suspect the Russians have experienced a moment or two of regret in the years since.

Records of the Accounting Officers of the Department of the Treasury.
Record Group 217, (National Archives).

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  1. #1 by Millie Burns on March 18, 2013 - 1:07 pm

    If you’ve ever had the chance to visit there…you know it was no folly!

    • #2 by Leslie Berry/ @LesannBerry on March 18, 2013 - 6:25 pm

      Yep. I think we got the good side of the deal! I realize $7.2 million was a whole bunch of money back then but it seems like so little for a big space. I love old documents.

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