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On March 30, 1867, the United States Senate votes on the purchase of Alaska. Although the vote is 25-14 in favor of the purchase, the two-thirds majority needed is not reached. Thus, the Alaskan Territory remains part of the Russian Empire.
Pre-Revolution Settlement (1896-1917)
The territory does not see any huge increase in population until the late 1890's. On August 18, 1896, miners discover gold near the Bonanza Creek in the Yukon Territory of western Canada. When the news reached the United States, nearly 100,000 miners traveled to the Yukon through southeastern Alaska; however, only about 30,000 of these travelers ever made it to their destination. Some of the Americans begin to form their own settlements in Alaska. In response to this, Tsar Nicholas II passes the Alaskan Settlement Act (ASA) in January 1897. Under the law, any foreigner who wishes to settle in the territory can be granted 150 acres of land under the condition that they learn the Russian language and pay a tax to the government.
The Klondike Gold Rush begins to die out after gold is discovered at Anvil Creek near Nome, Alaska in the summer of 1898. Americans and Canadians begin to move westward in the territory and form new settlements. Being closer to the mainland, even Russians begin to migrate to Alaska in search of gold. Over time, the influence of the Russian-American Company begins to weaken. Its' original purpose was the form settlements to increase colonization, however, this becomes meaningless as foreigners have been forming their own settlements. Tsar Nicholas II officially abolishes the Company in 1901.
During the Russo-Japanese War, the Japanese land on the Aleutian Islands in late July, 1905. However, the occupation is only brief as the Treaty of Portsmouth (signed September 5) requires Japan to pull out of the islands. After the First World War begins, many Russians in Alaska move back to the mainland to fight on the Eastern front. Similarly, many Americans and Canadians fight for their respective countries as well.
Russian Revolution(s) and Creation of the Tsardom (1917-1919)
Tsar Nicholas II abdicates on March 15, 1917 due to the February Revolution; he is placed under house arrest at the Alexander Palace a week later. The Provisional Government names Grand Duke Michael Alexandrovich as the heir to the throne. On November 8, communist forces led by Vladimir Lenin overthrow the Provisional Government, establishing Soviet Russia. During the Russian Civil War, Grand Duke Cyril Vladimirovich and his family flee to the Alaskan Territory along with other refugees.
After Soviet Russia surrenders to the Central Powers in March 1918, the Allies fear that the Germans or the Bolsheviks could capture material stockpiles in Arkhangelsk. This, combined with the fear of communism spreading to North America, causes U.S. President Woodrow Wilson to order 9,000 troops to Alaska and Siberia the following month. In a matter of weeks, the U.S. Army successfully has control over the Alaskan Territory.
On June 12, Tsar Michael is executed by the Bolsheviks. The following day, upon hearing the news of his brother's death, Duke Cyril claims that he is the rightful heir to the throne. He delivers a speech in which he declares Alaskan independence from Soviet Russia and names himself to be the autocrat of all Alaskan residents. Negotiations between "Tsar" Cyril and the American and Canadian takes place in hopes that, while a non-communist state may be established, the Tsar would not have total power.
Negotiations last about four months until October 15 when the Alaskan Constitution is ratified. The Tsar is recognized as the head of state, while a president (elected via popular vote to a single 6-year term) is the head of the government. A legislative system similar to that of the U.S. is created as well. On this day, the reign of Tsar Cyril is officially recognized by both the United States and Canada. All non-Russian residents of this new country are granted dual citizenship to both Alaska and their nation of origin.
On January 1, 1919, the coronation of Tsar Cyril takes place in the city of Juneau. During his speech, Cyril states that 1919 "is the beginning of a new era for the Russian people."