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Alaska Deed History

Alaska, the 49th state, was granted statehood in 1959. Prior to that, the state had been owned by the United States since 1867 when it was purchased from Russia. Before becoming a state, Alaska underwent many administrative changes and was known variously as the Department of Alaska, the District of Alaska, and as the Territory of Alaska. Juneau, the state capital was founded in 1880 and was the first town to be founded after Alaska was purchased by America.

For various economical and governmental reasons, Alaska uses boroughs instead of counties as a form of regional government. The state is divided into 19 boroughs and one unorganized borough. The unorganized borough is larger than any U.S. state, encompassing more than half of Alaska. The unorganized borough does not have a government of its own, but the U.S. Census Bureau divides the area into 11 census designations, solely for the purpose of census taking.

Alaska utilizes a statewide recording system, which consists of 34 recording districts and a total of 12 separate offices located throughout the state. Although the official recording of documents dates back to 1884, early records for the state contain scant information on fee title to real property. This is mainly attributed to the fact that, before Alaska was granted statehood Congress had neglected to enact legislation for the acquisition of fee titles in the state. The first official recorder was Andrew T. Lewis from Illinois, who was appointed in 1884 as the clerk of court in the District of Alaska. The current recording districts in Alaska were put into effect in 1960.