Daily readings about people, places, and events in American history.
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January 3rd
A Few State Stats
On this day in 1959, Alaska became the first new state to enter the Union since Arizona, forty-seven years before. It’s by far the largest state – more than twice as large as Texas and almost a fifth as large as all the rest of the states put together. Nearly a third of Alaska lies north of the Arctic Circle, and its mainland stretches almost to Asia, coming within 51 miles of Russia. One of Alaska’s islands, Little Diomede Island, lies only two and a half miles from Russia’s Big Diomede Island, with the International Date Line running between them.

Here are a few more state statistics:

Largest
Alaska (663,267 sq. mi.)

Largest in Lower 48
Texas (268,581 sq. mi.)

Largest east of the Mississippi*
Michigan (96,716 sq. mi.)

Smallest
Rhode Island (1,545 sq. mi.)

Smallest west of the Mississippi**
Hawaii (10,931 sq. mi.)

Longest coastline
Alaska (6,640 mi.)

Shortest coastline
New Hampshire (13 mi.)

Most populated
California (approx. 37,000,000 people)

Least populated
Wyoming (approx. 544,000 people)

Most densely populated
New Jersey (1,174 people per sq. mi.)

Least densely populated
Alaska (1.2 people per sq. mi.)

First to enter union
Delaware (Dec. 7, 1787)

Latest to enter union
Hawaii (Aug. 21, 1959)

* Area figures include land and water. Georgia is the largest state east of the Mississippi in terms of land, with 57,906 square miles.

** In the Lower 48, Arkansas (53,179 sq. mi.) is the smallest state to lie entirely west of the Mississippi River. Louisiana (51,840 sq. mi.) lies mostly west of the Mississippi.

American History Parade
1777
A Patriot army under General George Washington defeats the British in the Battle of Princeton, New Jersey.

1870
Construction on the Brooklyn Bridge begins.

1947
Congressional proceedings are televised for the first time as part of the 80th Congress’s opening ceremonies and are broadcast in a few cities.

1959
Alaska becomes the forty-ninth state.
This content is courtesy of The American Patriot's Almanac
© 2008, 2010 by William J. Bennett and John T.E. Cribb
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