State Route 98 in Alaska


Get started Skagway
End White Pass
Length 15 mi
Length 24 km
SkagwayKlondike Highway

State Route 98 is a state route in the U.S. state of Alaska. Also known as the Klondike Highway, the road connects Skagway with Canada. The road is 24 kilometers long.

  • Topschoolsoflaw: State overview and brief history of Alaska, including its geography and popular cities.

Travel directions

Route 98 begins in the coastal town of Skagway, located at the end of a fjord surrounded by snow-capped mountains. The road heads north and reaches the 873-meter White Pass, on the border with Canada, for 15 miles (24 kilometers). On the Canadian side, the Klondike Highway continues through British Columbia to Carcross in Yukon.

  • thembaprograms: Geography information of Alaska, including animals and plants. Also covers brief history and major cities of the state.


Construction of the road between Skagway and Carcross began in the 1950s but was later discontinued. Construction resumed in the mid-1970s and the road opened to traffic in 1978. The road was originally intended for tourists, but became Skagway’s primary access road and sea access from Yukon. The road was improved in the 1980s and 1990s. The road was given the unusually high number “98” in memory of the Klondike gold rush in 1898.

Traffic intensities

1,900 vehicles drive daily in Skagway and 900 vehicles just outside Skagway. This drops to 400 vehicles on the border with Canada.

Russian America

Russian America Русская Америка Russian America
Capital city Kodiak (1799–1804) Novo-Arkhangelsk (1804–1867)
Languages Russian and native languages
Portal History

Russian America (Russian: Русская Америка, English: Russian America) was a colony of the Russian Empire, which existed between 1799 and 1867. Russian America largely consisted of the present-day U.S. state of Alaska, but there were also Russian forts in California and Hawaii under Russian America. The colony was founded in 1799, but the Russians had been active in the area since the mid-18th century. Russian America was especially important for animal hunting (for fur), whaling and fishing. Until the middle of the 19th century, Russian America was the main supplier of fur to Russia, but due to overhunting there were few animals. After this, Russia saw the colony as worthless and feared that the British would conquer Russian America. Because of this, the Russians decided to sell it to the United States for a low price in 1867 (the Alaska purchase).


Russian discovery

During the 17th century, Russia expanded further east. Legend has it that Semyon Dezhnev was the first Russian to discover Alaska in 1648. He would have drifted off course with his ships and arrived in Alaska, but there is no evidence of this. Dezhnev never reported his discovery to the Russian government, so it was unknown whether Siberia and Alaska were connected. In 1725, Tsar Peter the Great decided to send an expedition to Alaska, which took place under Vitus Bering between 1733 and 1743. From 1743, Russian fighters were active in Alaska. The animals shot were used for fur, which brought in a lot of money. Incidentally, the Russians did not do this themselves, but forced the native population to do it for them. The native inhabitants were treated like slaves. Tsarina Katherina the Greatcame to power in 1763 and wanted the native peoples to be treated equally with other Russians. This led to peaceful trade between the Russians and indigenous peoples, but in other parts of Alaska it was less peaceful. Families were taken hostage, separated or had to leave their homes and villages. The Russians also brought European diseases with them, which did not exist in North America. These diseases were very contagious and about 80% of the indigenous population died from them. Several Russian companies were present in Alaska until the arrival of Alexander Andreyevich Baranov. He was hired by the Russian government to set up one company that had the right to hunt in Alaska. It was founded in 1799 as the Russian-American Company, which led to the foundation of Russian America.

Russian Colonial Period

Russia never fully colonized Alaska. The colony consisted of only a few forts along the coasts. The interiors were basically not colonized at all. The Russians did make efforts to expand their fortresses to other parts of North America and Oceania. Between 1812 and 1841, Russian America had forts in California and between 1814 and 1817 in the Kingdom of Hawaii. In the 1830s the colony became less profitable as the British could supply more and cheaper fur from their colonies in Canada. The Russians had close ties with the Americans for the sale of the fur. The fortresses were also used by the Russian Orthodox Church for religious missions. The Orthodox Church wanted to convert the native inhabitants to Christianity, mainly in Alaska. It also set up schools for native children, where they learned Russian. This is also the reason why many Russian Orthodox churches can still be found in Alaska today.

Sales to the United States

From the middle of the 19th century, Russian America began to be almost unprofitable. They also feared that the British would take the colony, as they were expanding Canada westward. The Russians therefore wanted to get rid of the colony and approached the Americans for its sale in the 1860s. Negotiations for the sale took longer, as the Americans were also engaged in the American Civil War. Ultimately, the Russians sold Alaska to the United States in 1867 for $7.2 million (about $127 million today). This was the official end of Russian America. The Russians thought the colony was worthless, because there was only animals, ice and fish. This was also what the Americans first thought and called it a waste of money. Alaska was called an ice chest. Several years after the sale, Alaska’s land was found to be full of oil, gas, and other minerals (such as gold). As a result, the Americans bought Alaska for the relatively low price.

State Route 98 in Alaska

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