The United States and Overseas Territories in 1970


Map Code: Ax02455

In 1959, the US admitted their two most recent (to date) and only non-contiguous states, Alaska and Hawaii. The Alaskan territory had originally been acquired by purchase from Russia in 1867, while Hawaii became a US territory in 1899 after US businessmen on the islands fomented a coup against the queen of the native population. The businessmen/conspirators were sugar magnates, and were soon importing migrants from another new US possession, Puerto Rico, to help harvest their crops. Puerto Rico was ceded to the US by Spain, following its defeat in 1898 (along with Guam in the Pacific), but a series of hurricanes the following year devastated their domestic sugar plantations, forcing an agricultural diaspora. Like Puerto Rico, American naval bases on the Japanese island of Okinawa were a by-product of military occupation, on this occasion after World War II. The purchase of the American Virgin Islands (1917) from Denmark was instigated as a precautionary measure to prevent their seizure by the Germans as a submarine base against the US in World War I.

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