Alaska's Sesquicentennial (150th) Commemoration
2017 is an exciting year for Alaska, as it marks the 150th Anniversary of the Transfer of Alaska from Russia to the United States with a grand Sesquicentennial Commemoration.
March 30 is officially recognized in Alaska as Seward's Day. On this date in 1867, Russia and the United States signed the Treaty of Cession agreeing to the sale of vast Alaskan lands. That same year, on October 18, now known as Alaska Day, the official Transfer ceremony took place in Sitka, Alaska, the capital of Russian America since 1808. The Russian Flag was lowered, the American Flag was raised; and Alaska became a US territory. Today, historic sites from Russian occupation and Alaska Native culture remain in Sitka as reminders of our heritage.
There are specific moments that shape the future beyond anything that could have been foreseen at the time. The Transfer of Alaska was one of those moments, not only for Sitka and Alaska, but also for the United States and the world.
It is important to consider Alaska's Sesquicentennial as a commemoration not a celebration and consider that the event was not a celebration in the eyes of all people. Still, this commemoration provides all with opportunities to share different perspectives about the Transfer and its impact on cultures and Alaska's history.
On March 30, 2017, Sitka will kick off its year-long commemoration of this historic event with numerous community activities that will provide interest for all visitors. Members of the Sesquicentennial steering committee invite you to join us as we remember, share, learn, and commemorate 150 years of history.