People have lived in Oregon for at least 15,000 years. During the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, various European powers (and from 1776 also the United States) claimed the area. In 1818 only Great Britain and the United States still claimed the area and it was agreed that both nations could develop activities in the area and that the Oregon Country would be jointly administered. Oregon Country was split up in 1846. The British retreated north and the portion south of the new frontier (the 49th parallel) was quickly established by the Americans as Oregon Territory. On February 14, 1859, the western portion of (reduced) Oregon Territory formally became a state of the United States as the 33rd.
In the sixteenth century, the area of present-day Oregon was inhabited by several Native American tribes, including the Chinook, Bannock, Kalapuya, Klamath, Klickitat, Nez Percé, and Takelma.
According to watchtutorials, the first European to visit the area was Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo, a Portuguese explorer in Spanish service. From 1774, the coast was regularly explored by Spaniards. In May 1792, the American ship, the Columbia Rediviva, sailed up the Columbia River for the first time. The river was named after the ship, which itself was named after the mythical name for America. In October 1792, Lieutenant William Broughton sailed up the river on the orders of George Vancouver and the first 150 kilometers of the river were mapped. From the end of the eighteenth century, some French Canadians also visited from New Francethe east of the present state to be active as a fur hunter. In 1805 and 1806, Lewis and Clarke’s expedition crossed the interior for the first time. From the east they reached the Pacific Ocean and wintered near Fort Astoria, at the mouth of the Columbia River. This expedition contributed greatly to the awakening of a ” Manifesto Destiny ” for the United States, a calling to populate the continent as far as the Pacific Ocean.
Start of exploitation of the area (1811)
In 1811, two expeditions reached the Oregon Country, as the area was then called by the Europeans and the Americans. A British expedition commissioned by the North West Company led by David Thompson was the first to sail down the entire Columbia River. Thompson made the first map showing the entire course of the river. Another private expedition commissioned by American John Jacob Astor established Fort Astoria at the mouth of the Columbia. This settlement, the first permanent European in the Oregon Country, was to serve as a trading post for his Pacific Fur Company.
A year later, during the Anglo-American War of 1812, Britain strengthened its influence in the area and gained control of all the trading posts of the Pacific Fur Company. In the Oregon Treaty (1818), the British and the Americans reached an agreement that allowed both nations to develop activities in the area and that aimed at joint management of the area. For Great Britain, the area was administered by the North West Company, which is the Columbia District fur district in the areafounded with headquarters in Fort Astoria and later in Fort Vancouver, both located on the Columbia River. The latter formed the main entrance to the area. In 1821 the North West Company became the Hudson’s Bay Company (HBC). In the 1820s and 1830s, the British gained the upper hand and the Hudson’s Bay Company dominated the area from its headquarters at Fort Vancouver (on the Columbia, opposite present-day Portland). Oregon City, the later capital, was founded in 1829 by the HBC. It would become the place for newly arrived settlers to make their “land claim” during the 1840s and 1850s.
However, from 1842-43, more and more Americans arrived in Oregon Country via the Oregon Trail. This heightened the tension and by the 1840s war was in the air. After a few meetings (Champoeg Meeting) a provisional government was established in the area in 1843. This was the first form of formal government authority in the area. Salem, now Oregon’s capital, was founded in 1844. Like Oregon City, Salem is in the fertile Willamette Valley, but Salem was further south and more central in the valley.
Annexation by the United States (1846)
However, in 1846 an agreement was made to divide the area between Great Britain and the United States. The United States was able to obtain the boundary at the 49th parallel, leaving much of the Columbia Basin, especially the strategic headwaters, into American hands. The British retreated to Vancouver Island and the loss of easy access through the Columbia would diminish their interest in the area for some time.
From August 13, 1848, the so -called Oregon Territory became fully functional. Oregon City became the official capital. From 1850, the population rose sharply through immigration through the Oregon Trail, the distribution of free land through the Donation Land Claim Act of 1850, and by driving the Indians to reservations. In 1851, the capital was moved from Oregon City to Salem, and Portland was founded the same year. This city soon rivaled Oregon City for becoming Oregon’s premier city. As of the late 1850s, Portland has been Oregon’s largest city.
Efforts were soon made to have the territory recognized as a state of the United States, but this was delayed several times by discussion of Oregon’s status vis-à-vis slavery. In 1853, the less populated northern part was split off from Oregon as Washington Territory. Oregon was finally admitted to the US as the 33rd state on February 14, 1859. The eastern portion (today southern Idaho and western Wyoming) was added to Washington Territory. The trip from the eastern United States to the state of Oregon would pass through territories with a very limited European presence until July 1890 (Wyoming and Idaho joined the union). As the far western corner of the United States lived the idea of the Manifest Destinystrong in the second half of the nineteenth century.
Portland saw its population increase dramatically between 1900 and 1930. After the Bonneville Dam on Columbia was inaugurated in 1937, Oregon’s industrialization took off. World War II also boosted the industry.