Just for $ 7.2 million: the best deal ever signed by America

The current US President, probably would call it “a good deal” — despite an astronomical sum, which the Americans had to leave. $ 7.2 million — a little more than 2% of the annual budget, went in 1867 to unique purchase — the purchase of the colony under the name “Russian America” which is now the American state of Alaska.

In terms of today’s money this amount corresponds to approximately $ 15 billion. By the way, now it is only about 0.4% of the us budget, which is 3.65 trillion dollars.

Have prepared this “good deal” then Secretary of state William Seward (William H. Seward) — perhaps the most influential member of the government of Andrew Johnson (Andrew Johnson). The 17th President of the United States, who came to power after the deadly assassination attempt on Abraham Lincoln in 1865, gave his consent to the deal.

Since 1818 at the head of the only overseas colony of the Russian Empire were confidants of the king. First this harsh land was described by the Russian Semyon Davydov. Beating in 1648 in the ship around the extreme Eastern tip of Siberia and going in the direction of the Arctic, he proved that between Asia and America is the sea. On the other side of the current Bering Strait, whose width at its narrowest point is 82 kilometers, he saw an unknown land.

Only almost 90 years later, in 1732, to the land of Alaska has gone before the first Europeans, and the Russian again. But in 1741 the Russians again, having come here by ship, started in Alaska first study. Together with them were, by the way, serving Russia, the German zoologist Georg Wilhelm Steller (Georg Wilhelm Steller).

Soon afterwards a Russian expedition started economic activity into new territories. In the first place, they were engaged in hunting fur-bearing animals. However, they had to face resistance from the local population — epicski Eskimos. However, the Russian traveler and businessman Grigory Ivanovich Shelikhov ruthlessly suppressed the resistance and founded the first Russian settlement on the territory of Alaska.

It should be noted that with the Russian expansion from Asia to the American continent did not agree the other two Maritime powers of the eighteenth century. Spain had claim to all the Pacific coast of America, and the British felt threatened by Russia on the Eastern coast of the New world.

However, after the wars for independence in North and South America, which lasted from 1776 to 1825, the years, the British were left with nothing. Russia, meanwhile, was founded in Alaska own colony “Russian America” — and laid on the territory of present-day California, about 150 miles North of San Francisco, its Outpost Fort Ross.

After the unsuccessful for Russia Crimean war in 1856, the king urgently needed the extra money, and the next year began informal negotiations on the acquisition of colonies by the United States. However, where in 1861 the Civil war began, which lasted until 1865 and rolled away the deal on the backburner. But Secretary of state Seward jumped at the idea and raised the issue immediately after it was funded in addressing the most important issues in the southern States.

In early March, 1867, began negotiations with the Russian Ambassador Eduard Andreevich Stelem. March 30, at exactly 4 a.m. the parties agreed to: the US had to pay Russia 4.74 a dollar for every square kilometre — a total of 7.2 million.

However, the deal provoked sharp criticism from the public. So, the New York Times, compared the acquired land with the “squeezed orange” and claimed that it could accept a gift. However, contemptuous epithets like “Seward’s folly”, “Seward freezer” or “bear Park Johnson” was coined only later.

In October 1867, the last representative of the Czar of Russia, captain of the frigate Aleksey Alekseyevich Peshchurov officially handed over “the Russian America” of the US. First, the administration of the territory took the hands of the American army, then the Ministry of Finance and, finally, the naval forces of the United States. In 1884, Alaska had its own civil government, and in 1959 she formally joined the United States as 49 state.

Today Alaska is among the most economically successful States in 2015, its GDP amounted to nearly 82 thousand dollars per capita, and thereby outpaced the state of new York and the average for the country in the amount of about 56 thousand dollars.

The main and almost the sole cause of this prosperity are minerals. At the turn of the century it seemed that the natural resources has come to an end, however, it was soon discovered new deposits — even more extensive than the previous one. President Donald trump plans to repeal a ban on further mining in the Arctic, because of which the Shell group at the time refused similar projects. The current President obviously wants to monetize the “good deal” times of his distant predecessor, Andrew Johnson.