The day when the Alaska changed country
The Alaska Day is observed every year on the 18th of October. It is a legal holiday specifically in the U.S. state of Alaska. On this day, the territory of Alaska was formally transferred from Russia to the United States in the year 1867. The deal between the two countries stating the formal transfer was signed for $7.2 Mn. The deal had been signed in March itself, but it was only in October that the commissioners arrived in Sitka, and the transfer was official. The flag was officially raised at the Fort Sitka on this day in 1867. When the transfer was actually being made, there were close to 250 uniformed U.S. soldiers who were a part of the ceremony that marched to the Governor’s house which was stationed at the “Castle Hill”. The Russian troops lowered their flag, while the U.S. flag was hoisted at this place.
There is a 11 hour difference between the two countries, and Russia used the Julian Calendar at that time. So, the date is sometimes written down as 7th October 1867 which was a Saturday. This day has been declared a holiday since 1917. The state employees enjoy a state holiday on this day.
Of course, an official celebration is held in the schools on this day. The students need to attend the celebrations, after which they are allowed to go home early. The re-enactment of the flag raising, and a parade are ways to commemorate the moment of transfer. Businesses remain closed through this day.
The Alaska Day is sometimes confused with Seward’s Day which is celebrated on the last Monday in the Month of March. This day commemorates the signing of treaty, or the official purchase made by U.S. for Alaska on 30th March in 1867. But, Alaska Day is the day when the flag was officially raised