A Shrewd Business Deal

The Alaska purchase (also known as Seward's folly) was the agreement for the purchase of Alaska by the United States of America from the Russian empire.

It was with the initiative of a man named William H. Seward, the 14th U.S. Secretary of State, that the transaction was made. He had wanted to acquire Alaska for some time as he was eager to expand America's territory and the deal grew America's land by nearly 20 percent.

The Russian empire was in dire financial trouble during that time. The Russian Minister to the United States, Edouard de Stoeckl, made the deal. Russia also felt that Alaska would be hard to defend, especially against Britain in which they feared future conflict. Initially they offered Britain the deal first but they declined the offer. So Emperor Alexander II approved of the sell to America.

The deal was signed at 4 am on March 30, 1897 for the price of $7.2 million. This came out to about 2 cents an acre. Initially American congress ridiculed Seward for the deal but when the Klondike gold rush happened they were no longer scoffing. Alaska turned out to be rich in Gold and Oil.