Alternate History

Timeline (Alaska Forever!)

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  • 1867
    • April 9: The United States purchases Alaska from the Russian Empire for $7.2 million. Congress reluctantly agrees to approve the purchase, but also vows not to spend any money "on the upkeep or maintainance of Alaska," as per its own resolution. Public opinion is that the purchase is a foolhardy waste of money on a region no one wants.
    • September 7: President Andrew Johnson fires his Secretary of State William H. Seward for buying a territory he can't use. Benjamin Washburne is hired to replace him.
    • September 12: Senate Foreign Relations Committee chair Charles Sumner is expelled by his colleagues and sent to Alaska as the first Administrator, in revenge for supporting the purchase. Sumner, on his departure from Washington, vows to prove them wrong.
    • October 31: Administrator Sumner arrives in Alaska and disobeys his Congressional instructions - he enlists the resources of the Russian fur company (the de facto government) through shrewd diplomacy and proceeds to install himself as a virtual dictator in what would later become Juneau. Although frustrated, the federal government does nothing and focusses on cleaning up the mess from the American Civil War. Pundits quickly name the regime Sumnerocracy.
  • 1868
    • January 12: Sumner orders the Julian calendar finally be replaced - after a long delay - with the Georgian one, causing there to be two Sundays in a row.
    • Summer: Sumner orders the first real census and survey conducted, and reports that Alaska contained roughly 2,500 Russians and 8,000 Indians living in the small area under government control, with possibly another 50,000 Indians living outside government control.
    • September 4: President Johnson orders Sumner to fly the US flag over Alaska. Sumner refuses and vows to fly his own flag instead. Johnson, who lacked the support of Congress over the Alaska issue and had only recently been impeached (albeit unsuccessfully), commands the navy to remove Sumner from power. He causes public outrage, as the public largely does not understand the fuss over such a remote region. Johnson later loses his re-election in November.
    • October 9: Sumner flies his new Big Dipper flag in Juneau as an act of defiance. The next day, the Navy arrives and finally routs him from power. It is only later discovered much later that he and his Russian allies had killed almost 350 panhandle natives by working them to death, wiping out several villages in and around Juneau.
  • 1869
    • February 21: After a short period of interim Naval administration, outgoing president Johnson makes one of his last acts appointing Floyd Ross as Administrator of Alaska with a specific mandate to bring the territory under complete American control.
    • June 1: Western Union arrives in Alaska intending to build a telegraph line across the Bering Strait. The southern workers invade native-controlled land, ruining Ross' uncertain relationship with the local people. Angry at having his repeated demands for more sensitivity ignored, Ross ejects the company from the territory when the local natives threaten to kill anyone who continued to trespass. By doing so, Ross wins the natives' trust and thus a means to achiving his mandate slowly and gently. His gargantuan task his made harder by the fact that his entire budget must come from the territory's income, not from Washington.
    • Fall: Ross sends an emissary to California to raise the funds to buy out the Russian fur company, which has opposed his rule over Alaska in the absence of Sumner. He gets the money in exchange for giving a group of investors a twenty-year renewable monopoly over natural resources in the panhandle part of the territory, primarily fish and timber.
  • 1870
    • May: Angry at foreign encroachments on what is still their land, natives in the panhandle rebel against their new southern overlords, killing 20 of them out of a total of roughly 150. Ross, reluctant to provoke another insurrection and make things worse, simply has the culprits arrested and deported to California. At the same time, he also encourages the entrance of more resource workers into the panhandle, so long as they agree to behave themselves.

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