On the penultimate day of March, 1867, America bought Alaska from Russia for $7.2 million, which works out at roughly five cents per hectare (two cents per acre).
It was bought by US Secretary of State William H. Seward in a deal that was known as "Seward's Folly" - which today doesn't look like such a folly at all. Just to put the numbers into context, the manager of Abu Dhabi's Emirates Palace Hotel spent double that sum on a pre-decorated Christmas tree.
Seward's budget bought America a slice of land twice the size of Texas, which became a genuinely valuable acquisition with the Klondike gold strike just 29 years later.
Toast America's 49th state with an Alaskan Martini tonight.
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