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Time in Alaska (Russian America)

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Time Zones of Alaska (Russian America)

The three time zones of Alaska.

Time in Alaska (Russian: время в Аляске, vremya v Alyaske) is divided between three official time zones which span across the 18 governorates of the Alaskan Democratic Federative Republic. Two additional time zones are unofficially used in the easternmost and westernmost portions of Alaska.

For practical purposes, all of Alaska's time zones are kept in sync with those of Borealia, Mexico, and the United States. Despite their cultural and historic connections, Alaska is currently a day behind the Russian Federation (divided by the International Date Line).

History

Throughout the 19th Century, Alaska was an integral part of the larger Russian Empire. Cities and villages across Russia commonly employed their own local mean time, which was based on the position of the Sun. Since this practice was commonly used across the world, combined with the rarity of long-distance travel, the use of local time would be prevalent until the early 20th Century.

Витебский

The Vitebsky Station (early 1900s) in Saint Petersburg, Russia.

The use of local times became impractical by the 1870s with the expansion and utilization of railroads. Rather than going through the hassle of calculating the many local times in use, railroads began to operate on their own timetables (marking the beginning of time zones as we know them today). Across the Russian Empire, the timetable of the Vitebsky Station (Tsarskoselsky Station) in Saint Petersburg would serve as the only timetable for all Russian railways. In practice, this meant that Russian American railways operated on a timetable which was 10 hours ahead the local time, which also had the consequence of placing the territory west of the International Date Line. This differed immensely from the United States, which opted to partition the nation into three, separate time zones.

In 1916, the State Duma of the American Krai proposed the establishment of three to five time zones within the territory (as well as being moved east of the International Date Line). These proposals were never implemented, as Alaska declared their independence from the Russian Empire just months later. It wouldn't be until the 1920s that the break-away republics would formally standardized their times. Following the reunification of Alaska, all of the pre-existing time zones would remain in effect, giving Alaska a grand total of seven time zones spanning from seven to 13 hours behind the Prime Meridian. During this same period, the Soviet Union would formally adopt a 24-hour clock, while Alaska would continue to use a 12-hour clock (as did the United States).

Irving K. Barber Library

The Ladner Clock Tower located at the University of Columbia.

In late 1956, President Igor Voronov proposed shrinking Alaska's seven time zones into three. These proposals were in direct response to the nation's modernization and urbanization projects orchestrated by Voronov and his predecessor, Ivan Gnatyshin. The three zones were designated using a color code (blue, white, and red) and would span between eight and ten hours behind the Prime Meridian (respectively). New Archangel, the national capital, would serve as the standard-barrier of the central White Zone, with the remaining zones being an hour ahead or behind the capital.

Despite being phased-out, two additional time zones continue to be unofficially used to some degree. Portions of Idaho and the Oregon Panhandle would continue to use Mountain Time, as it was beneficial for international commerce with Mexico and the United States. In the west, Aleutia and Bering would continue to use Bering Time, which better represented the Sun's location in the sky. The overall use of these unofficial time zones have been in decline, with the standard time zones being in wider use.

List of Time Zones

Time Zone Standard Time Daylight Time Governorates
Blue Zone
(Синий пояс)
BLST
(UTC−08:00)
BLDT
(UTC−07:00)
 Flag of Columbia (Russian America) Columbia
 Flag of Idaho (Russian America) Idaho
 Flag of New Caledonia (Russian America) New Caledonia
 Flag of Oregon (Russian America) Oregon
 California Lone Star Flag 1836 Sonoma
 Flag of Vancouver Island Vancouver Island
White Zone
(Белый пояс)
WHST
(UTC−09:00)
WHDT
(UTC−08:00)
 Flag of New Caledonia (Russian America) New Caledonia
 Flag of the Queen Charlotte Islands (Russian America) Queen Charlotte Islands
 Flag of Sitka (Russian America) Sitka
 Flag of Tongass (Russian America) Tongass
 Flag of Yakutat (Russian America) Yakutat
 Flag of Yukon (Russian America) Yukon
Red Zone
(Красный пояс)
RDST
(UTC−10:00)
RDDT
(UTC−09:00)
 Flag of Aleutia (Russian America) Aleutia
 Flag of Bering (Russian America) Bering
 Flag of the Far North (Russian America) Far North
 Flag of Kenai (Russian America) Kenai
 Flag of Cornwall Kodiak
 Flag of New Irkutsk (Russian America) New Irkutsk
 Flag of Shelikof (Russian America) Shelikof


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