Seward’s Day 2023: Seward’s Day, which falls on the last Monday of March and occurs on March 27 this year, is named after William H. Seward, who was responsible for the initial purchase. This Alaskan legal holiday commemorates the signing of the Alaska Purchase Treaty. This day should not be confounded with National Alaska Day, which commemorates the formal transfer of Alaska from Russia to the United States.
HISTORY OF SEWARD’S DAY
Long, long ago, around the 18th century, the Russians possessed Alaska. Then the Crimean War occurred. Russia fought against the alliance of France, the Ottoman Empire, the United Kingdom, and Sardinia and lost while defending the rights of Christian minorities in the Holy Land (part of the Ottoman Empire). As a result, the Russian Tsar Alexander II began investigating ways to raise funds for the country. He shifted his focus to Alaska. Not only had the sea otter population declined drastically, but Alaska would also be difficult to defend in a future conflict. Especially considering that the British forces were headquartered in neighbouring Canada.
The Russians discussed this plan and were enthusiastic about selling to the United States by 1857 in the hopes that their presence would deter British attacks. However, the American Civil War gained precedence and any plans to purchase Alaska were shelved. Following the victory of the Union, Tsar Alexander requested a new round of negotiations. William Seward, secretary of state of the United States, negotiated with Eduard de Stoeckl, minister of Russia. On March 30, 1867, they consented to a treaty, which was ratified by the U.S. Senate. The U.S. Senate. paid $7.2 million, or approximately two cents per acre, at the time.
They renamed this location from its Russian moniker, “Alaska” (or “Alyaska”), to “Alaska.” A small number of Russian citizens, primarily merchants and clergymen, elected to remain. They too would eventually abandon Alaska, as evidenced by historical records.
People generally viewed this acquisition favorably, believing that it would serve as a platform for expanding commerce in Asia. Seward’s political opponents referred to Alaska as ‘useless land’ by coining the phrases ‘Seward’s Folly’ and ‘Seward’s Icebox’ Alaska remained sparsely populated until the Klondike Gold Rush of 1896, when the region was recognised as a genuinely valuable addition to United States territory. Alaska is the United States’s 49th largest territory and a thriving visitor destination.
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HOW TO OBSERVE SEWARD’S DAY
Learn about William Seward
On this day named after this individual, we suggest reading up on who he was and how he became involved in politics. Undoubtedly, it will be a riveting tale.
View a special on Alaska.
On Seward’s Day, a number of channels broadcast historical programming about various aspects of this state. Put on your favourite or locate a documentary that interests you, and settle in for some entertaining and educational screen time.
Gain knowledge about the transfer.
Did you know that more than 150 years after the transaction, some Russians still have second thoughts? Explore documents and articles pertaining to Alaska’s transfer for additional information like these.
5 FACTS YOU DIDN’T KNOW ABOUT JOHN SEWARD
He was an anti-slavery activist.
In the early years of the Republican Party, Seward was a prominent opponent of slavery and a prominent member of the Republican Party.
A home with a mystery
According to an 1891 article in the “Auburn Herald,” the kitchen of Seward’s residence in Auburn, New York, was one of the most frequented stops along the Underground Railroad.
The invisible results of his endeavours
Seward did not live to see the success of his efforts to acquire Alaska; he passed away in 1872 before his foresight was recognised as a legal holiday.
His efforts produced numerous memorials.
Seward Park in Seattle, Washington, the City of Seward in Alaska, and a statue of Seward in Ketchikan, Alaska can all be located in Alaska.
He was almost murdered.
Seward was one of the targets of the 1965 assassination that resulted in the death of Abraham Lincoln; he suffered grave wounds that required a long time to heal.
WHY SEWARD’S DAY IS IMPORTANT
We adore Alaska
There is the terrain, the climate, and even caribou. Who does not adore this location?
It was the greatest deal ever!
Certainly, it may not have appeared so at the time to some individuals. However, Seward knew when he heard a good bargain.
It’s all about perseverance
Russians demonstrated this tendency by returning to the United States with their deal, and Seward remained steadfast during the purchase despite opposition. The purchase and the pure magnificence of Alaska demonstrate that perseverance (and patience) does, in fact, pay off and affect change.
SEWARD’S DAY DATES