Posted on March 30, 2017

Happy Seward’s Day!

Seward’s Day is usually held on the last Monday of March, but the actual anniversary it commemorates is today, March 30, so I’m going to wish you a happy Seward’s Day today!

On March 30, 1867, the United States purchased Alaska from Russia. William H. Seward was the person chiefly responsible for that action, understanding the territory’s natural resources and geographical location would be important in our Pacific interests. He was the Secretary of State for President Johnson at the time; before that, he served under Lincoln and was a state senator, governor of New York and U.S. senator. The State Department has a nice biography of him at https://history.state.gov/departmenthistory/people/seward-william-henry.

 

William Henry Seward, source U. S. Department of State

William Henry Seward, source U. S. Department of State

 

Alaskans named a town after Seward and many see him as kind of a founding father. Of course, the relationship between the United States and the Alaska Natives, the first people here, has been complex and not always a positive one. So our view of Seward is also not easily summed up in ten words or less. But the anniversary, especially this year’s150th or sesquicentennial, is notable. Here are a few events:

Music Without Borders: A Musical Journey into the Cultural Heritage of Alaska, April 1st in Sitka

Polar Bear Garden exhibit, through September 17, at the Anchorage Museum

Emanuel Leutze’s painting Signing of the Alaska Treaty is traveling to different venues around the state through October

Learn more at the Alaska Historical Society website at

http://alaskahistoricalsociety.org/sewards-day/.

One Response

  1. A couple articles in today’s newspaper:

    Evan Gershkovich from the New York Times: 150 Years after sale of Alaska, some Russian have second thoughts
    https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/30/world/europe/alaska-russia-sale-150.html?_r=0

    Michael Dunham from the Alaska Dispatch News: Alaska Purchase was just part of Seward’s legacy
    https://www.adn.com/opinions/2017/03/30/alaska-purchase-was-just-part-of-sewards-legacy/

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