On April 6, 1917, the United States declared war on Germany and entered World War I. The war’s impact on Alaska varied. The increased demand for copper created a temporary mining boom, and the salmon industry was boosted when the military purchased salmon from Alaskan canneries to feed the troops. At the same time, the Territory’s population declined as the war effort drew people elsewhere. Similar to most state legislatures, the 3rd Alaska Territorial Legislature passed a resolution supporting the declaration of war, and enacted legislation on seditious acts during wartime with violations punishable by a fine of up to $1,000, or imprisonment of up to one year, or both.
As the prohibition movement gathered strength across the country, Alaskans voted in 1916, in favor of prohibition by a two to one margin. In 1917, Congress approved Alaska’s Bone Dry Law, which went into effect at the start of 1918. The Territorial Legislature banned the advertising of intoxicating liquor for sale or gift and established penalties for violations of the law.
Much to the frustration of Alaskans, the federal government maintained management of fisheries in the Territory. As local Alaskans continued to warn about the depletion of the fisheries by cannery-owned fish traps, government officials advocated for a fish hatchery program that, in theory, would allow Alaska salmon fisheries to continue without any reduction of fishing efforts. The federal government made more money available for hatcheries and, in 1917, Territorial lawmakers created a Board of Fish Commissioners to oversee a fish hatchery program and appropriated $80,000 for a Fish Hatcheries Fund to be used for developing the program.
The 3rd Territorial Legislature also
- Created the Alaska College of Agriculture and School of Mines, which later became the University of Alaska Fairbanks.
- Provided for the organization of school districts outside of incorporated towns.
- Established The Relief Fund for the rescue of persons lost while prospecting, boating, or hunting.
- Authorized road commissioners to build and maintain cabins for travelers and dog teams along certain roads and trails.
- Established the first bounty on eagles.
- Named the Forget-Me-Not as the Territorial flower.
Beyond the Legislature
A sea level cave-in floods the bulk of the Treadwell Mine complex in Douglas, Alaska, the largest gold mine in the world from 1911 to 1917.
Jazz is first recorded commercially by The Original Dixieland Jass Band-which later renamed itself The Original Dixieland Jazz Band. "Livery Stable Blues" and "Dixie Jass Band One Step" are the first jazz records.
The Russian Revolution of 1917 forces Tsar Nicholas II to abdicate and paves the way for the creation of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR).
Germany signs the armistice at Compiegne, France, ending the fighting of World War I at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month-11:00 am on November 11, 1918.
Jeannette Rankin becomes the first female member of the U.S. House of Representatives.