The History of North Slope Borough

The North Slope Borough is the largest borough in Alaska, over 15% of the total land area. It consists primarily of the north and northeastern coast of Alaska, including the Brooks Range, north of the Arctic Circle. It lies at approximately 69 00' N Latitude, 154 00' W Longitude . The community is located in the Barrow Recording District. The area encompasses 87,861 sq. miles of land and 5,963 sq. miles of water.

Inupiat Eskimos have lived in the region for centuries, active in trading between Alaskan and Canadian bands. Atqasuk was a source of coal during World War II. Oil exploration in the 1960s led to the development of the huge reserves in Prudhoe Bay and, subsequently, the Trans-Alaska Pipeline in the 1970s. The Borough incorporated in 1972. Today, oil operations support between 4,000 and 5,000 oil company and support service employees in the region. After the passage of the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA) in 1971, families from Barrow re-settled the abandoned villages of Atqasuk and Nuiqsut.


To Community Histories Index Alaska DCCED Community Database Online


History and map graphic used with permission from the Alaska Department of Community and Economic Development