One thing that comes up often when discussing "what-ifs" with family or friends is why the British government never nabbed Alaska when Russia had placed it up for sale and made it into Canada's fourth territory. Was it bad timing (Canada gained self governence that year), no money (hard to believe with an Empire of that size), or no interest? Or indeed another reason that I haven't' thought of?
Because Russia had been at war with Britain for most of the preceding two decades.
One of Russia's problems in owning Alaska was defending it against it being used as a British route to invade Russia (militarily insane - but that's politics) - remember Canada was British at the time.
By selling it to America they installed one of Britain's adversaries in the way
Russia and America (the Union) were allies during the Civil War. The implied enemies were the South (Confederacy) and Great Britain.
Although Russia wanted to "monetize" Alaska, she also wanted it in "friendly" hands. The (re-united) U.S. fit the bill. Great Britain did not, after having allied with France and Turkey in the Crimean war.