Alaska Marks 59th Anniversary of Statehood

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FAIRBANKS, Alaska - Today marks Alaska's 59th birthday as one of the United States.
On January 3rd, 1959, President Dwight Eisenhower signed the Statehood Act, making Alaska the 49th state.
The push for statehood had broad support here in Alaska, and the passage of the Statehood Act through Congress in July of 1958 triggered celebrations across the territory.
Alaska was purchased from Russia in 1867, and gained territorial status in 1912.
But as the state's population and resource wealth grew, Alaskans pushed hard for greater ability to manage the territory's affairs from home, instead of accepting mandates handed down from Washington, DC.
Alaskans gave final approval to statehood during a special election in August of 1958, approving three ballot measures relating to the Statehood Act by a six-to-one margin.
With Eisenhower's signature on this day 59 years ago, Alaska officially became the 49th star on the U.S. flag.