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Alaska is an independent republic situated in the northwest extremity of the North American continent, with Canada to the east, the Arctic Ocean to the north, and the Pacific Ocean to the west and south, with Russia further west across the Bering Strait.
Alaska, along with Bellinsgauzenia, was formerly a part of the Russian Empire before gaining its independence in 1926.
The name "Alaska" (Аляска) was already introduced in the Russian colonial period, when it was used only for the peninsula and is derived from the Aleut alaxsxaq, meaning "the mainland" or more literally, "the object towards which the action of the sea is directed". It is also known as Alyeska, the "great land", an Aleut word derived from the same root.