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Territories to Statehood, Alaska and Hawaii: Topics in Chronicling America

In 1959, both Alaska and Hawaii joined the Union as the last two states. This guide provides access to materials related to the "Alaska and Hawaii: Territories to Statehood" in the Chronicling America digital collection of historic newspapers.


A New Old Glory. The 50 stars now include both Alaska and Hawaii. August 23, 1959. Evening Star (Washington, DC), Image 31. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers.

Although Alaska and Hawaii were United States territories in the late 19th century, they were not admitted to the union until 1959.

In January 1959, Alaska became the 49th state admitted to the union. Over half a year later, Hawaii joined as the 50th state. With their addition to the United States, the 50-star flag became the official flag of the United States. Read more about it!

The information in this guide focuses on primary source materials found in the digitized historic newspapers from the digital collection Chronicling America.

The timeline below highlights important dates related to this topic and a section of this guide provides some suggested search strategies for further research in the collection.


March 30, 1867 Alaska territory is purchased from Russia for $7.2 million.
1898 Hawaii is annexed as a United States territory.
January 3, 1959 Alaska is admitted as the 49th state of the Union.
August 21, 1959 Hawaii is admitted as the 50th state of the Union.
August 21, 1959 The 50 star flag becomes the official flag of the United States.