Not having a formal government, the miners of Juneau and the Interior, like their counterparts in the American West, drafted their own form of frontier democracy known as miners’ codes. These codes regulated mining practices and community conduct.
In the meantime, Congress passed a measure in 1884 to provide Alaska with a simple civil government. Alaska was designated a judicial district, and the law code of Oregon was applied. The president, with Senate approval, was to appoint a governor, a district court judge, four lesser-court commissioners, a district attorney, a U.S. marshal and four deputies, and a clerk of court. The act expressly forbade a legislature and a delegate to Congress. Natives were not to be disturbed in their occupancy or use of the land, and prohibition of liquor was retained. The sum of $25,000 was provided for the education of children.
With the gold discovery in the Klondike in Canada’s Yukon Territory in 1896, people soon flocked north from all parts of the world. As the gateway to the Klondike, Alaska prospered, and new communities and businesses developed to meet the gold seekers’ needs. Many of those disappointed in the Klondike drifted to Alaska. In 1898 four miners discovered gold at Anvil Creek on the Seward Peninsula, and the Nome Mining District was organized there. By the summer of 1900, Nome was a tent city with more than 20,000 miners working the claims and the beaches, which also contained gold.
The next great strike after Nome occurred in the Tanana Valley and led to the founding of Fairbanks in 1902.
Other discoveries in the valley helped make Fairbanks the center of interior Alaska. District Court Judge James Wickersham moved the headquarters of the Third Judicial District to Fairbanks, which attracted other government functions and gave the town economic stability. It acquired schools, churches, and a hospital, and by 1905 its population had grown to 5,000.
Gold was mined and new towns founded throughout Alaska. North of the Arctic Circle gold was found near the Chandalar and Koyukuk rivers, where two settlements, Coldfoot and Wiseman, came into existence. In the area of the Kuskokwim and Innoko rivers, Iditarod, McGrath, Bethel, Flat, and Ophir were communities of some size that developed from mining camps. "USA" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia
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