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Map of AlaskaAlaska is located in northwestern North America, separated from the rest of the United States by Canada. At the tip of the Seward Peninsula, Alaska lies only a few miles from the far eastern tip of Russia across the narrow Bering Strait. The southern coast, extending from the Panhandle in the southeast to the Alaska Peninsula and the Aleutian Islands in the southwest, is made up of numerous inlets and offshore islands. Mountains rise steeply inland. The Yukon flows through Alaska's interior wilderness, the Brooks Range to the north and the Alaska Range to the south.

Denali, formerly known as Mount McKinley, is, at 20,321 ft (6194 m) above sea level, the highest peak in North America.


The name "Alaska" was introduced when the territory was under Russian rule. It comes from word Alaxsxaq (also spelled Alyeska) in the language of the Native Aleuts, who are the indigenous people of the Aleutian Islands. The word means, literally, "the object towards which the action of the sea is directed”. This refers to the Alaska Peninsula, the “great land”, or “mainland”, as it might also be translated.
Brown bears in the Alaskan wilderness
Lakes and forest in the Denali National Park


The Alaska Native population includes Eskimos, American Indians and Aleuts. About half of all Alaska Natives are Eskimos (Eskimos living in Canada are known as Inuit). The two main Eskimo groups in Alaska are the Inupiat and Yupik.

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