The first occurred in 1998, when a Russian father and son attempted to walk from Russia to Alaska. They got stranded on the pack ice and drifted for days, shut off from shore. The ice eventually reached the far side of the Malabar Strait. The guys limped into American territory, on the verge of death. They survived, but the attempt made news around the world.
People have been trying to reach America by foot, bike, boat, and even balloon. But only a few have actually made it across.
In 2007, a British man named Chris Wardian set out with his dog Zorba to walk from Siberia to Alaska. He didn't get very far - about 300 miles - before he was caught in a severe storm that destroyed his tent and left him starving and freezing. After surviving those conditions, he was rescued by a helicopter crew who took him to a hospital, where doctors diagnosed him with frostbite. Wardian later wrote about his experience in a book called "Siberia to Alaska: A Journey in Two Directions."
A French man named Jean-Pierre Berthonnières walked from Russia to China in 1994. He spent several months living off landraces of wheat that had been cultivated for thousands of years in this part of Asia. In 1995, he walked back from China to Russia, following the same route he had taken earlier. That was the last time anyone ever walked from Russia to Alaska.
For more than a half-century, the popular narrative of how the first humans arrived in the Americas went something like this: 13,000 years ago, small bands of Stone Age hunters walked across a land bridge connecting eastern Siberia and western Alaska, eventually making their way down an ice-free inland corridor into the heart of... what was then known as North America.
But new research suggests that story may be wrong. The scientists who have studied the DNA of modern Americans say it's more likely that another group of people were responsible for first entering the continent: a separate wave about 15,500 years ago made up of several families from the Middle East called Lamanians. They might have traveled along the same route as the earlier hunters, but they would have gone further south before turning north.
The Lamanians are said to have been the ancestors of Native Americans, and their journey is now part of the history books because one of them left evidence of his presence in North America. His name was Mihirao and he built a camp on top of a large pile of stones near what is now Anchorage, Alaska.
Mihirao's descendants lived there for about 20 years before moving on. But since his campsite is still visible today, it must be at least partially covered by snow, so any traces of human activity that might help scientists date when it was built could also tell us more about how ancient people lived.
When fur traders landed in Alaska in 1747, they were the first Russians to come in America. Some settled in the area, and the Russian Orthodox Church established itself in the area around 1795. When the United States bought Alaska in 1867, most Russians in the area returned home. However, a few stayed on and became American citizens.
In the late 1800s, Americans began to migrate to Alaska because of its valuable resources. Most came during the Gold Rush years (1849-1890). They worked the mines or went fishing, hunting, or trading with the indigenous people. After the gold rush ended, many men stayed to work in the oil fields or build roads and schools for the new communities that had formed.
Alaska's population is now almost entirely made up of immigrants (native Americans are no longer living here). Most of these immigrants have been moving to California since it started offering free land to anyone who would live there. In fact, more people have moved to California than any other state in the country.
Russia banned slavery in 1855, so any slaves brought into the country by their owners would not be held against them. However, some slave owners in Alaska refused to give their slaves freedom after the law was passed. If they died without heirs, then their slaves would be freed. This happened often because ice storms, bears, and other disasters could kill a man or his family without leaving any survivors.