Today in History: October 18, 1867

Alaska Is Transferred to U.S.

The Alaska territory is formally transferred from Russia to the United States. The two countries earlier agreed on a $7.2 million price for the more than 600,000 square miles. An American flag is raised at Fort Sitka, Alaska. William Seward, secretary of state under President Andrew Johnson, negotiated the purchase of the territory, which is twice the size of Texas. Critics referred to the purchase as "Seward's Icebox" or "Seward's Folly" but they were proved wrong when a trove of natural resources such as gold and oil were discovered.