Alaska is a state in the United States of America, in the extreme northwest portion of the North American continent. It is the largest U.S. state by area (by a substantial margin), and one of the wealthiest and most racially diverse. Situated between the Pacific and Arctic Oceans, Alaska has land borders with the Canadia's British Columbia province and Yukon territory. One western peninsula of Alaska is only 80 miles away from Russia's Siberia region.
The native population probably crossed over from Asia sometime between 16,000 BC and 10,000 BC. The first European contact came from the Russian Empire in the early 1700s. After over a century of settlement, Russia sold the territory to the United States in 1867 for US $7.2 million. Subsequently, Alaska was discovered to be quite rich in minerals, including gold and oil.
In the short story, the territory of Alaska is one of the many isolated places AmericanPresidentJoe Steele exiles opponents of his Second Four Year Plan. In the novel, Alaska is mentioned exclusively in its limited ability to help select a presidential nominee, but it is not specified as the location of any prison camps.
Early in the 20th century, a Russian trapper hunting beaver found gold in the region around the minor town of Siknazuak. The minor town almost immediately boomed into a real city as Russians, Canadians and Americans flooded the area, digging for easy gold. However, once the easy gold was extracted, the boom became a bust, and large chunks of the population returned to their respective homes. Gold could still be had, but it required a great deal of work.
The U.S., among other countries, invaded Siberia to combat the Red Army in during the Russian Civil War. While the Reds won and established the Soviet Union, their leader, Vladimir Lenin, was forced to cede a number of Russian territories. As the U.S. Marines withdrew from Siberia, they were able to seize Alaska, and Lenin did not contest it.
In 1929, Lenin's successor, Joseph Stalin, still angered by the loss of the whole of Russian to the U.S., initiated an invasion of the territory. As Siknazuak was close to Siberia, Stalin sent in pro-Soviet agitators to create an uprising against the American garrison there, and then "volunteers" and weapons from the USSR followed. Rumor had it that Stalin intended to turn Siknazuak into a labor camp akin to the ones Lenin had created, with the goal of extracting the remaining gold in the area. The United States Marine Corps liberated Siknazuak after a fierce battle at the end of June, 1929.
In the late 1860s, Russia offered the United States the opportunity to purchase Alaska after the War of Secession, but the $7 million price tag was too much for the United States' depressed post-war economy.
Despite the fact that a formal state of war existed between the United States and Russia during both the Great War and the Second Great War, and that after 1917 Alaska shared a border with U.S.-occupied Canada, Russia's presence in Alaska did not cause any real conflict with the U.S., nor did it become a theater of war. Both the USA and Russia were engaged with other enemies and saw no reason to divert resources to an inhospitable territory of no value.
While some Americans suggested (half-heartedly) that the U.S. should buy or conquer Alaska from the Russians, neither country placed any value on the region, each viewing it as a frozen wasteland. While gold had been found in the Yukon, the Russian authorities never conducted a mineral survey in their own territory.
Alaska was a Russian possession in North America, bordering the North American Unionprovinces of Banksia and Vancouver. Skirmishes between Russian troops and NAU forces were not unheard of. However, both sides viewed the elements as even more dangerous. It was also not unheard of for aeroplanes of either country to land on airfields across the border when they had engine trouble. Merchants and fishermen frequently traded across the border without resorting to official channels. Some important Alaskan cities were Kodiak and Sitka.