Alaska (; Russian: Аляска "Alyaska") is an exclave and a state of the United States of America located west of Canada in the extreme northwest portion of North America. A state of superlatives, it has the largest area, the highest mountain and greatest difference in elevation, the most extensive wilderness, and the most lakes, shoreline, and wetlands of any state. Conversely, it has the lowest population density.
The Secretary of the Interior purchased from the Czar of Russia its interest in the area that became Alaska on October 18, 1867, for $7,200,000 in gold bullion. The land went through several administrative changes before becoming an organized territory in 1912. Alaska became the 49th state of the United States on January 3, 1959.