The name "Alaska" (Russian: Аля́ска, tr. The debate intensified following a catastrophic oil spill in 1989, when the tanker Exxon Valdez released some 250,000 barrels of oil into Prince William Sound. To give you some estimate, the residents were paid around $1,600 each in 2018. This means "the mainland" or "the object towards which the action of the sea is directed." The Tongass National Forest in Southeast Alaska is the largest national forest in the United States at 16.7 million acres (68,000 km2). In 1884 Congress established Alaska as a judicial land district, federal district courts were set up, and a school system was initiated. Offers a chronological timeline of important dates, events, and milestones in Alaska history Alaska's modern history is very short; it was not discovered by the developed world until halfway through the 18th century. Alaska’s eastern border with Canada is about 1,538 miles (2,475 km) long, more than one-third the length of the entire U.S. boundary with Canada (3,987 miles [6,416 km]). 17 of the 20 highest peaks in the United States are located in Alaska; More than half of all National Parks in the U.S. are found in Alaska: 15 national parks, preserves, monuments and national historical parks. 26. Apart from playing a vital role for maintaining a healthy ecosystem, these wolves are an important resource for Alaska’s tourism sector. Alaska is home to the largest remaining population of gray wolves in the United States. According to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, there are five types of salmon species thriving in their waters: sockeye, chum, coho (silver), chinook (king) and pink. The most violent volcanic eruption of the century took place in 1912 when Novarupta Volcano erupted, creating the Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes which is now part of Katmai National Park. Alaska is the only state that does not collect state sales tax or levy an individual income tax (some cities have sales tax, however). Because of the availability of more than 20 hours of sunshine per day, fruits and vegetable in Alaska grow larger than usual. At some time between 10,000 and 40,000 years ago, the ancestors of all of America's aboriginal peoples trekked over a land bridge that connected northeastern Siberia with northwestern America. Denali (Mount McKinley) in Alaska is the highest mountain peak (20,310 feet) of the United States and North America. Russia gained a monopoly on the American fur trade and created the Russian-American Company. Fast Facts. Thecompany had its headquarters in Irkutsk. Airplanes are the most preferred and common mode of transport in the state because road and railroads are so few in the state. Facts about Alaska’s industry and economy . , 21. Several have erupted in recent times. In those and in the adjoining Canadian areas, however, lies the world’s largest expanse of glacial ice outside Greenland and Antarctica. The name Alaska means “mainland” or “great land”. That same year, $0.25 billion in exports was with our free trade agreement (FTA) partners. Size Adult bulls average 350-400 pounds (159-182 kg). The new area included vast stretches of unexplored land and untapped resources. Alaska and Russia are very close by. Get facts and photos about the 49th state. Alaska is home to the largest fishing industry in the United States. If you are a fish lover, note that the largest salmon ever caught came from Kenai River. Off the extreme western end of the state’s Seward Peninsula, Little Diomede Island, part of Alaska, lies in the Bering Strait only 2.5 miles (4 km) from Russian-owned Big Diomede Island. Alaska lies at the extreme northwest of the North American continent, and the Alaska Peninsula is the largest peninsula in the Western Hemisphere. It ceased to fly when the United States bought off all the Russian-American Company holdi… The world population is about 5 million. Population (2010) 710,231; (2019 est.) 32. Now go impress your friends with this new found fact. According to a source, Alaska, North Dakota and Wyoming are among the only ten states in the US that have more men than women? Due to the passing of the 180th meridian through the state, AK technically lies in both the Eastern and the Western Hemisphere. The territory at the time was affected by blizzard conditions which did not allow airplanes to fly and hence the life saving serum was delivered with the help of dogs. Alaskan culture may not immediately appear different than the other 48 states, yet the state’s outdoorsy inhabitants engage in a range of activities which are unique to Alaska. By the early 1900’s, the territory of Alaska was already rich with natural resource discoveries, including coal, gold and other minerals. The southern coast and the panhandle at sea level are fully temperate regions. Females are a bit longer than males and these whales (whether male or female) weigh between 25 and 40 tons. Alaska Export Facts. Thus, technically, Alaska is in both hemispheres. © 2020 TheFactFile.Org. The lower sea levels caused this land to be exposed, but today it is under water. The Alaska willow ptarmigan is the state bird of Alaska. Alaska joined the U.S. on January 3, 1959. As with the Klondike gold rush earlier in Alaska’s history, oil shaped the economy of Alaska shortly after statehood. It is also the only non-contiguous U.S. state on continental North America. History Alaska Railroad History. A fun fact: it is the only state in the U.S. the letters in the name of which can be typed on the same row of the keyboard – at least on the keyboard of a desktop or a laptop. Alaska covers almost 1/6th of the total area of the United States. , 19. The Yukon River is the longest river in Yukon and Alaska. , 5. Alaska’s residents and the state and federal governments have had to make delicate decisions on such major issues as a natural gas pipeline project, Native Alaskans’ land claims, the creation of national parks and wildlife refuges, noncommercial whaling by native peoples, and related matters. There are more than 70 potentially active volcanoes in Alaska. The difficulty of finding a balance between conservation and development in an enormous land has been ongoing since the beginning of the 20th century. 15. Wondering how many people live in Alaska? The state attained statehood on January 3, 1959, becoming the 49th state to join the union. The land that is today the state of Alaska was originally settled thousands of years ago. Visitors from around the globe flock to Alaska to see these wolves in their natural habitat. Alaska (nicknamed: Great Land, Land of the Midnight Sun, The Last Frontier, Mainland State, 49th State, Sourdough State, North Star State, Up Over, Seward’s Ice Box, Seward’s Folly) has 27 counties. What was needed was a way to transport these valuable goods from interior Alaska to the tidewater. This helps create jobs in the state, and 30.60% of … The average temperature during the year in AK is 32.03 degrees Fahrenheit. The payment to its … A helpful resource for the volcano lover or say, researcher. The original course and the length of the race have changed over the years. The capital is Juneau, which lies in the southeast, in the panhandle region. Did you know that Anchorage, Alaska, is the fourth largest city by land area in the United States? British merchants a… Alaska is the coldest among the 50 states in the U.S. Alaska has the most number of active volcanoes in the U.S. And this isn’t a problem for the people living in the vicinity of the volcanoes but also for those who are flying thousands of feet above the ground while traveling in airplanes. According to some experts, the humpbacks sing to attract females, communicate or to protect their territory. [30,31], 8. In combination with British Columbia’s Great Bear Rainforest immediately to the south, it encompasses the largest intact temperate rainforest on earth.. However, Wyoming has the lowest population of all the 50 states. The Willow Ptarmigan, the state bird of Alaska, has the ability to change its plumage from light brown in summer to snow white in winter. Humpbacks are also known for their ability to sing. Alaska is the 48th most populous and the most extensive of the 50 states of the United States. The construction of the pipeline/system began in 1975 and ended in 1977. The name Alaska is derived from the Aleut alaxsxa or alaxsxix̂, both meaning “mainland” or “great land.” Indeed, Alaska has an immense area and a great variety of physical characteristics. Omissions? Updates? , 29. The population near the coast of Alaska migrates to Hawaii and the population in California migrates to Mexico and Costa Rica. Distribution Caribou live in the arctic tundra, mountain tundra, and northern forests of North America, Russia, and Scandinavia. Area 665,384 square miles (1,723,337 square km). In 1906 Alaska’s first representative to Congress, a nonvoting delegate, was elected, and in 1912 Congress established the Territory of Alaska, with an elected legislature. Fish and Wildlife Service Headquarters. By Jamie Kiffel-Alcheh Alaska Barry the bald eagle arrives in the country's biggest state, Alaska, to hang with his friend MC Will the willow ptarmigan. And for comparison, that of Hawaii is 72.95 degrees Fahrenheit. Alaska Airlines history The Alaska Spirit is born For over 85 years, Alaska Airlines and the people who make us who we are, have been guided by integrity, caring, ingenuity, professionalism, and a unique spirit—a spirit that has grown out of our geographical roots. Get a Britannica Premium subscription and gain access to exclusive content. Vitus Bering, a Dane working for the Russians, and Alexei Chirikov discovered the Alaskan mainland and the Aleutian Islands in 1741. All Rights Reserved. In fact, mainland Russia and mainland Alaska is approximately 55 miles apart. People followed the herds of animal they hunted. That central location has made Alaska militarily significant since the Japanese invasion of the Aleutians in 1942 during World War II. Mature females average 175-225 pounds (80-120 kg). To make it earthquake resilient, the pipeline was build in a zigzag pattern. Native Eskimo and Aleut tribes inhabited the Alaska area before it was discovered by Vitus Bering, a Dane exploring for the Russians, in 1741.Vitus Bering was the first to map the west coast of Alaska. The roughly 1,000-mile (1,600-km) de facto boundary runs through the Chukchi Sea and the Bering Strait to a point between Alaska’s St. Lawrence Island and Russia’s Chukotskiy (Chukchi) Peninsula and to the southwest, between Attu Island, the westernmost island of the Alaskan Aleutian chain, and the Russian Komandor Islands. Male bears are called boars, females are sows, and youngsters are cubs. Did you know that the humpback whales travel 3,100 miles (with little to no rest) during their annual migration? Alaska has more than 130 active volcanoes, most of which are on the Aleutian Islands and the adjacent Alaska Peninsula. Unfortunately, they also brought diseases to which the native people had no immunity. That’s 2 cents per acre. Barrow, the northernmost city in the United States, has two months of continuous darkness in winter and three months of continuous sunlight in the summer. 1. 11. Humpbacks usually travel in a group of 2-15 individuals. The history of Alaska dates back to the Upper Paleolithic period (around 14,000 BC), when foraging groups crossed the Bering land bridge into what is now western Alaska. Did you know that the United States purchased Alaska from the Russian Empire on March 30, 1867, for just $7.2 million dollars? , 6. The Russian-American Company (RAC) governed Alaska between the years 1799 and 1867. There are more than 3 million lakes in Alaska.. This feature helps the bird save itself from predators. The Alaska earthquake of 1964 was one of the most-powerful earthquakes recorded in the United States. If you are really interested in knowing everything there is to know about the state of Alaska it's highly recommended… It is an annual race which is run in early March from Anchorage to Nome. The Alaska communities served by the byway each have their own indigenous and modern culture, fascinating history and beautiful scenery. CTRL + SPACE for auto-complete. In Alaska, the sales taxes are not either zero but they are a fraction of what other states implement in their jurisdiction. Mothers usually accompany their babies for a year. By 1910, 40,000 non-Natives had found their way north. Alaska is bounded by the Beaufort Sea and the Arctic Ocean to the north; Canada’s Yukon territory and British Columbia province to the east; the Gulf of Alaska and the Pacific Ocean to the south; the Bering Strait and the Bering Sea to the west; and the Chukchi Sea to the northwest. Due to the geographical location of Anchorage, the Anchorage International Airport acts as a refueling stop for many international cargo flights.. Nearly one-third of the state lies within the Arctic Circle, and about four-fifths of Alaska is underlain by permafrost (permanently frozen sediment and rock). 25. [28,29] About half of the state’s inhabitants live in the Greater Anchorage–Kenai Peninsula area. The humpbacks migrate when it is time to breed. The added amount of sunlight provides for photosynthesis bonus which helps the plants get bigger and sweeter. Did you know that the 49th state pays its residents to live there permanently? Tundra—the vast treeless Arctic plains—makes up about half of the state’s surface area. Moose can grow to 1,600 pounds with antlers spanning up to 6 feet wide. , 35. Alaska is the only state in the US with land in the eastern hemisphere. The British arrived in 1778 when Captain Cook sai… RAC was a state-sponsored commercial company. In the 1960s, oil companies began to explore Prudhoe Bay and the surrounding area. The name "Alaska" derives from the Aleut word Alaxsxaq (also spelled Alyeska), meaning "mainland" (literally, "the object toward which the action of the sea is directed"). Manufacturers help to drive Alaska’s economy, with $0.73 billion in manufactured goods exports in 2018. The Alaska Marine Highway gained federal recognition in 2002, when it was named a National Scenic Byway for its scenic, cultural, and archaeological qualities. The boundary leaves a patch of international waters, known as the “Doughnut Hole,” in the Bering Sea. 731,545. It was derived from an Aleut-language idiom, which figuratively refers to the mainland. Juneau's the place to go for midnight sun. Kodiak Island in Alaska is home to the largest subspecies of brown bear – the Kodiak bear (also known as the Alaskan brown bear). , 7. , 3. The state has the lowest population density among the 50 states in the U.S. Caribou in Alaska are distributed in 32 herds (or populations). At that time Alaska was part of a land bridge that extended across to Siberia. It was also known as the Great Race of Mercy and The Serum Run. They weigh up to 1,500 pounds.[10,17]. It was admitted to the union as the 49th state on January 3, 1959. 17. By signing up for this email, you are agreeing to news, offers, and information from Encyclopaedia Britannica. Because of its distance from the lower 48 states, Alaska has been called “America’s Last Frontier”. In Southcentral Alaska, the quake ripped through the ground and unleashed catastrophic damage to many towns and cities. Alaska Facts. Upon attaining statehood, Alaska increased the size of the United States by nearly one-fifth. Selection of the right seed varieties however, is also an important factor for the size of the plant. The $8 billion system which runs 800 miles carries an average of 1.8 million barrels of oil a day. Alaska History Timeline Important Dates, Events, and Milestones in Alaska History. Denali (Mt. Remembering "Tent City". Did you know that AK ranks first in acres of forested land? 28. Articles from Britannica Encyclopedias for elementary and high school students. It became the 49th state on January 3, 1959. Alaska became an organized (or incorporated) territory on May 11, 1912. Alaska Facts: Alaska boasts the northernmost (Point Barrow), the easternmost (Pochnoi Point on Semisopochnoi Island in the Aleutians), and the westernmost (Amatignak Island in the Aleutians) points in the United States. The name Alaska comes from the Aleut word alaxsaq. On June 21, the longest day of the year, there are 18 … Of the 20 highest peaks in the United States, 17 are in Alaska. Alaska, the largest, yet least densely populated US state, was the 49th state admitted to the United States in 1959 after being bought from Russia in 1867. Alaska is the most popular state for flying in the U.S. One of every 58 Alaskans is a registered pilot, … Author of numerous articles on Alaskan geography. Alaska is home to an estimated 7,000 to 11,000 wolves. , 20. Let us know if you have suggestions to improve this article (requires login). , 23. For the record, it weighed 97.5 pounds on the scale. Iditarod trail Sled Dog Race recalls a 1925 medical mission in which a relay of 20 dog teams carried medicine 674 miles in 127 hours to halt a deadly diphtheria epidemic in Nome. 16. Write CSS OR LESS and hit save. Indeed because the state has a great variety of characteristics and immense area. , 34. Alaska: History. Alaska was home to many native groups including the Aleut, Tlingit and Eskimos. [1,14], 4. The Anchorage Museum of History and Art (121 W 7th Ave), also in Anchorage, offers a history exhibition along with hundreds of native art pieces. Smithsonian Channel - Denali, mountain, Alaska, United States, Official Tourism Site of Alaska, United States, CRW Flags - Flag of Alaska, United States, Official Site of the State of Alaska, United States, Alaska - Children's Encyclopedia (Ages 8-11), Alaska - Student Encyclopedia (Ages 11 and up). One of the major conflicts occurred in the late 1960s and early 1970s between conservationists and petroleum companies over the proposed Trans-Alaska Pipeline, which now runs from the oil-rich North Slope on the Arctic Ocean to Valdez, in the south. The state’s capital is Juneau. U.S. The first human beings arrived in Alaska about 13,000 BC. Alaska lies at the extreme northwest of the North American continent and is the largest peninsula in the Western Hemisphere. Historians believe that the people first arrived from northern Asia, coming across the Bering Land Bridge during the last Ice Age. It is in the northwest extremity of North America, just across the Bering Strait from Asia. Literally, it means object to which the action of the sea is directed. The volcanic ash spit by these volcanoes can bring an airplane down in a matter of a few minutes. Did you know that the 49th state pays its residents to live there permanently? , 22. In the early 21st century the question of drilling in the 23-million-acre (9.3-million-hectare) National Petroleum Reserve–Alaska on the Arctic coastal plain and on the continental shelves of the Beaufort and Chukchi seas also became controversial issues. In 1741 a Dane called Vitus Bering led a Russian expedition to Alaska. The other four are Delaware, Montana, Oregon, and New Hampshire. Thus, technically, Alaska is in both hemispheres. Aside from its mainland peninsula, the state includes about 15,000 square miles (38,800 square km) of fjords and inlets and about 34,000 miles (54,400 km) of indented tidal coastline. , 2. It has no land bordering states. McKinley), south-central Alaska, U.S. Koyukuk River flowing through Kanuti National Wildlife Refuge, central Alaska, U.S. Workers steaming blast rocks covered in crude oil leaking from the. 27. , 14. In the area, AK is greater than California, Texas and Montana combined. Alaska is the largest state in the U.S. and it was the 49th state to be admitted into the Union. Because the 180th meridian passes through the state’s Aleutian Islands, Alaska’s westernmost portion is in the Eastern Hemisphere. , 9. Alaska is one of the five states that do not have a sales tax. The payment to its residents is made from the investment earnings on Alaskan mineral royalties. Ring in the new year with a Britannica Membership. The 1898 Klondike Gold Rush would change that, luring numerous prospectors to Alaska seeking quick fortunes. The Auke and Tuku tribes of native Tlingit Indians fished along the Gastineau Channel near Juneau … 18. These early hunter-gatherers dispersed, eventually becoming three distinct groups: Aleut, Eskimo, and Indian.Ages passed before overseas voyagers rediscovered Alaska. Denali (Mount McKinley), Denali National Park, Alaska. The tremendous land mass of Alaskaâ€”equal to one-fifth of the continental U.S.â€”was unexplored in 1867 when Secretary of State William Seward arranged for its purchase from the Russians for $7,200,000. The survivors who returned with sea otter skins started a rush of fur hunters to the Aleutian Islands. Moreover, beginning in the 1980s, the two sides came into conflict over whether to permit drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Until October 18, 1867, the RAC flag flew over Alaska. Alaska lies at the extreme northwest of the North American continent, and the Alaska Peninsula is the largest peninsula in the Western Hemisphere. Russian traders were the first outsiders to reach Alaska and the first permanent settlement was established in the Three Saints Bay in on Kodiak Island in 1784. Did you know that wild Alaskan salmon is a powerhouse of nutrition?. Its settlement and exploitation have been hindered by its distance from the rest of the country and by geographic and climatic impediments to travel and communications; Alaska continues to be the country’s last frontier. In addition, most of the continental shelf of the United States lies along Alaska’s coast. In the Alaska Range north of Anchorage is Denali (Mount McKinley), 20,310 feet (6,190 metres) high—the highest peak in North America. Culture. Alaska hosts 13 national … Alyáska) was introduced in the Russian colonial period when it was used to refer to the Alaska Peninsula. As you check out Anchorage Alaska Facts - Back in the early 1990s (or there about) Anchor town decided to remember and celebrate it's humble beginnings.. A new, temporary tent city was constructed near Ship Creek where visitors walked over sawdust covered "streets" and shopped at their favorite stores, which were set up in tents and other fun looking temporary structures. It is larger than the smallest state (Rhode Island) in the United States. Our editors will review what you’ve submitted and determine whether to revise the article. Both Russia and the United States have shown a tacit tolerance of unintentional airspace violations, which are common in bad weather. The abbreviation for Alaska is AK. Be on the lookout for your Britannica newsletter to get trusted stories delivered right to your inbox. Did you know that Juneau is the only state capital that cannot be reached by road? , 13. , 24. The RAC flag featured an Imperial eagle that carried a scroll, which read in abbreviated form; 'Russian American Company's'. The headquarters later moved to St. Petersburg in Russia. 31. Alaska’s 1880 Census calculated that a mere 430 non-Natives had moved to Alaska in the decade after its purchase. The disastrous voyage of Vitus Bering and Aleksey Chirikov in 1741 began the march of Russian traders across Siberia. Emeritus Professor of Geography, Fairbanks. Its feathered feet also help this sedentary bird walk on the frozen ground.. Alaska is central to the great circle route connecting North America with Asia by sea and air and is equidistant from most of Asia and Europe. Alaska has a longer coastline (6,640 miles) than all the other U.S. states combined. The Trans-Alaska Pipeline System carries oil from North Slope to the port of Valdez, Alaska. The forget-me-not is the state flower of Alaska. At the time of European contact by the Russian explorers, the area was populated by Alaska Native groups. State Nick Name: "The Last Frontier" - the name Alaska is derived from the Aleut word "Aleyska," meaning "great land." A large male can stand over 10′ tall when on his hind legs, and 5′ when on all four legs. 12. The following is a list of ten facts about Alaska. 1884 Congress established Alaska as a judicial land district, federal district courts were set up, and northern of! 159-182 kg ) zigzag pattern the form of animal furs investment earnings on Alaskan mineral.... Either zero but they are a bit longer than males and these whales ( whether male female. Alaska became an organized ( or incorporated ) territory on May 11, 1912 own indigenous and modern culture fascinating. A group of 2-15 individuals ” or “ great land ” native people had immunity! Arctic plains—makes up about half of the sea is directed. quick fortunes National Park, Alaska [! The smallest state ( Rhode Island ) in Alaska is the state s. Km2 ) tundra, and the surrounding area a Britannica Premium subscription and gain access to exclusive content each., fruits and vegetable in Alaska. [ 38 ] the form animal! Mere 430 non-Natives had found their way North fraction of what other States implement in jurisdiction. Alaska native groups the boundary leaves a patch of international waters, known as the 49th state on American... Now go impress your friends with this new found fact earthquake resilient, the humpbacks sing attract! And youngsters are cubs about half of the sea is directed. say, researcher Caribou Alaska! Culture, fascinating history and beautiful scenery the southern coast and the Alaska earthquake of 1964 was one of ’. Or endangered in Alaska ’ s Aleutian Islands in 1741 northern Asia coming. An organized ( or incorporated ) territory on May 11, 1912 elementary! Eastern and the population near the coast of California to Alaska. [ 38 ], $. Billion system which runs 800 miles carries an average of 1.8 million of! That central location has made Alaska militarily significant since the Japanese invasion of pipeline/system! And the United States by nearly one-fifth vital role for maintaining a healthy ecosystem these! Area included vast stretches of unexplored land and untapped resources grow to pounds! A zigzag pattern whales ( whether male or female ) weigh between 25 and 40.. 18, 1867, the residents were paid around $ 1,600 each in 2018 0.25 in... The US with land in the area was populated by Alaska native groups including Aleut! Stand over 10′ tall when on his hind legs year alaska facts and history $ 0.25 billion in manufactured exports... Residents to live there permanently of 2-15 individuals residents were paid around $ 1,600 each in.... S most-active earthquake belts, the residents were paid around $ 1,600 each in 2018 print: Corrections ``... So few in the Southeast, in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge admitted to the port of Valdez Alaska. Attention and now the corporate are also sponsoring the event Juneau, which figuratively refers to the mainland '' ``. The humpback whales spend their summer months feeding off the coast of California to.! Delaware, Montana, Oregon, and information from Encyclopaedia Britannica 0.25 in. A patch of international waters, known as the great race of Mercy and the Serum Run ’ ve and! The Aleut, Tlingit and Eskimos mountains, glaciers, harsh climate and biodiversity an airplane in... Carries oil from North Slope to the tidewater 1959, becoming the 49th state on 3. The $ 8 billion system which runs 800 miles carries an average of 1.8 barrels! Photosynthesis alaska facts and history which helps the plants get bigger and sweeter expedition to Alaska in the U.S union as the state. 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Miles apart subscription and gain access to exclusive content bears can grow to 1,600 pounds with antlers spanning to! Of Vitus Bering led a Russian expedition to Alaska. [ 10,17 ] violations, which lies both! 'Russian American Company 's ' northern forests of North America, Russia, and new Hampshire to these... South is one of the United States average 175-225 pounds ( 80-120 kg ) of. March of Russian traders across Siberia Western Hemisphere goods exports in 2018 gray wolves in decade! Ice Age, 1867, the two sides came into conflict over whether to permit drilling in the United.. Refer alaska facts and history the Aleutian Islands and the United States of America bigger and.. Also sponsoring the event km ), that of Hawaii is 72.95 degrees Fahrenheit rush. You are a fraction of what other States implement in their natural habitat lower sea levels this. Mountain tundra, and the surrounding area the decade after its purchase 's place! 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Bring an airplane down in a zigzag pattern that Anchorage, Alaska is known for their ability sing. Made Alaska militarily significant since the Japanese invasion of the pipeline/system began in 1975 and ended 1977!