The purchase of Alaska in 1867 marked the end of Russian efforts to expand trade and settlements to the Pacific coast of North America, and became an important step in the United States rise as a great power in the Asia-Pacific region. The strategic importance of Alaska was finally recognized in World War II. Alaska became a state on January 3, 1959, making it the 49th state. Celebrate your state's history by displaying state symbols, animals, and state flags. Find your supplies at Flagandbanner.com today.