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Posts Tagged ‘“Seward’s Icebox”’

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USA bought Alaska from Russia 3/30/1867, being one of the greatest real estate deals – both in space & best price per square mile – of all time.  It was purchased for 7.2 million or about $0.02 (2 cents) per acre.

A move was afoot for this USA – Russian sale before the uncivil war.  Following it, Eduard Stekl, Russian’s envoy to Washington, negotiated the talks. Of the $7.2 million one source says $165,000 (a lot of money in that day) was used to bribe some U.S. senators & newspapermen.  It is said to have passed senate by one vote & was called “Seward’s Follie” “Seward’s Icebox” – a term you may have to explain to some.

The Russians had discovered the Alaska mainland in an expedition led by Vitus Bering (a Dane) in 1741.  The first Russian settlement was established 8/14/1784 & the first Russian Orthodox Church in the west was started 1795 (in Kodiak). It wasn’t until 2/22/1825, that Russia & Britain established the Alaska/Canada boundary. A quote heard in 1985 & one that has few exceptions is, “Every man that visits Alaska either returns or always wants to.”  The following was written while in AK some years ago:

Pointed  Trees

To humanly count the pointed trees,

Guarding just one cool, Alaskan stream,

Could take a life-time, if you please,

(And t’would be a nightmare – not a dream).

 

Trees are there whom no man has yet seen,

All awkwardly pointing to the sky,

An odd blend of black, gray, and green,

Silent, except for the wind’s sad cry.

 

From seedling to youth, to great old age,

They stand rooted in the northern sod,

Of wonders they’re just on more page,

Mute life, glorifying their high God.

– eab,  9/16/06

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