Oregon Country

Last updated
Map of Oregon Country. Oregoncountry2.png
Map of Oregon Country.
Carver's map from 1778, showing Lake Winnipeg, the River of the West, New Albion, and the Mountains of Bright Stone. Western North America 1778.png
Carver's map from 1778, showing Lake Winnipeg, the River of the West, New Albion, and the Mountains of Bright Stone.

In the nineteenth century, the Oregon Country was a disputed region of the Pacific Northwest of North America. The region was occupied by British and French Canadian fur traders from before 1810, and American settlers from the mid-1830s, with its coastal areas north from the Columbia River frequented by ships from all nations engaged in the maritime fur trade, most of these from the 1790s through 1810s being Boston-based. The Oregon Treaty of 1846 ended disputed joint occupancy pursuant to the Treaty of 1818 and established the British-American boundary at the 49th parallel (except Vancouver Island).[ citation needed ]

Oregon boundary dispute early 19th century US–UK boundary dispute

The Oregon boundary dispute or the Oregon Question was a territorial dispute over the political division of the Pacific Northwest of North America between several nations that had competing territorial and commercial aspirations over the region.

Pacific Northwest Region that includes parts of Canada and the United States

The Pacific Northwest (PNW), sometimes referred to as Cascadia, is a geographic region in western North America bounded by the Pacific Ocean to the west and (loosely) by the Rocky Mountains on the east. Though no official boundary exists, the most common conception includes the Canadian province of British Columbia (BC) and the U.S. states of Idaho, Oregon, and Washington. Broader conceptions reach north into Southeast Alaska and Yukon, south into northern California, and east to the Continental Divide to include Western Montana and parts of Wyoming. Narrower conceptions may be limited to the coastal areas west of the Cascade and Coast mountains. The variety of definitions can be attributed to partially overlapping commonalities of the region's history, culture, geography, society, and other factors.

North America Continent entirely within the Northern Hemisphere and almost all within the Western Hemisphere

North America is a continent entirely within the Northern Hemisphere and almost all within the Western Hemisphere. It is also considered by some to be a northern subcontinent of the Americas. It is bordered to the north by the Arctic Ocean, to the east by the Atlantic Ocean, to the west and south by the Pacific Ocean, and to the southeast by South America and the Caribbean Sea.


Oregon was a distinctly American term for the region. The British used the term Columbia District instead. [1] The Oregon Country consisted of the land north of 42°N latitude, south of 54°40′N latitude, and west of the Rocky Mountains—with the eastern border generally running on or close to the Continental Divide—westwards to the Pacific Ocean. The area now forms part of the present day Canadian province of British Columbia, all of the US states of Oregon, Washington, and Idaho, and parts of Montana and Wyoming. The British presence in the region was generally administered by the Hudson's Bay Company, whose Columbia Department comprised most of the Oregon Country and extended considerably north into New Caledonia and beyond 54°40′N, with operations reaching tributaries of the Yukon River. [2]

Columbia District Fur trading district in British North America

The Columbia District was a fur trading district in the Pacific Northwest region of British North America in the 19th century. Much of its territory overlapped with the disputed Oregon Country. It was explored by the North West Company between 1793 and 1811, and established as an operating fur district around 1810. The North West Company was absorbed into the Hudson's Bay Company in 1821–under which the Columbia District became known as the Columbia Department. The Oregon Treaty of 1846 marked the effective end of the Hudson's Bay Company's Columbia Department.

42nd parallel north circle of latitude

The 42nd parallel north is a circle of latitude that is 42 degrees north of the Earth's equatorial plane. It crosses Europe, the Mediterranean Sea, Asia, the Pacific Ocean, North America, and the Atlantic Ocean.

Parallel 54°40′ north

Parallel 54°40′ north is a line of latitude between the 54th and 55th parallels north that forms the southernmost boundary between the U.S. State of Alaska and the Canadian Province of British Columbia. The boundary was originally established as a result of tripartite negotiations between the Russian Empire, the British Empire and the United States, resulting in parallel treaties in 1824 and 1825.

Early exploration

George Vancouver explored Puget Sound in 1792. Vancouver claimed it for Great Britain on 4 June 1792, naming it for one of his officers, Lieutenant Peter Puget. Alexander Mackenzie was the first European to cross North America by land north of New Spain. [3] arriving at Bella Coola on what is now the Central Coast of British Columbia in 1793. From 1805 to 1806 Meriwether Lewis and William Clark explored the territory for the United States on the Lewis and Clark Expedition. David Thompson, working for the Montreal-based North West Company, explored much of the region beginning in 1807, with his friend and colleague Simon Fraser following the Fraser River to its mouth in 1808, attempting to ascertain whether or not it was the Columbia, as had been theorized about it in its northern reaches through New Caledonia, where it was known by its Dakleh name as the "Tacoutche Tesse". Thompson was the first European to voyage down the entire length of Columbia River. Along the way, his party camped at the junction with the Snake River on July 9, 1811. He erected a pole and a notice claiming the country for Great Britain and stating the intention of the North West Company to build a trading post on the site. Later in 1811, on the same expedition, he finished his survey of the entire Columbia, arriving at a partially constructed Fort Astoria two months after the departure of John Jacob Astor's ill-fated Tonquin . [4]

George Vancouver 18th-century English naval explorer

Captain George Vancouver was a British officer of the Royal Navy best known for his 1791–95 expedition, which explored and charted North America's northwestern Pacific Coast regions, including the coasts of what are now the American states of Alaska, Washington, and Oregon, as well as the province of British Columbia in Canada. He also explored the Hawaiian Islands and the southwest coast of Australia.

Puget Sound sound along the northwestern coast of the U.S. state of Washington

Puget Sound is a sound along the northwestern coast of the U.S. state of Washington, an inlet of the Pacific Ocean, and part of the Salish Sea. It is a complex estuarine system of interconnected marine waterways and basins, with one major and two minor connections to the open Pacific Ocean via the Strait of Juan de Fuca—Admiralty Inlet being the major connection and Deception Pass and Swinomish Channel being the minor.

Kingdom of Great Britain Constitutional monarchy in Western Europe between 1707 and 1801

The Kingdom of Great Britain, officially called Great Britain, was a sovereign state in western Europe from 1 May 1707 to 1 January 1801. The state came into being following the Treaty of Union in 1706, ratified by the Acts of Union 1707, which united the kingdoms of England and Scotland to form a single kingdom encompassing the whole island of Great Britain and its outlying islands, with the exception of the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands. The unitary state was governed by a single parliament and government that was based in Westminster. The former kingdoms had been in personal union since James VI of Scotland became King of England and King of Ireland in 1603 following the death of Elizabeth I, bringing about the "Union of the Crowns". Since its inception the kingdom was in legislative and personal union with Ireland and after the accession of George I to the throne of Great Britain in 1714, the kingdom was in a personal union with the Electorate of Hanover.

Name origin

The earliest evidence of the name "Oregon" has Spanish origins. The term "orejón" comes from the historical chronicle Relación de la Alta y Baja California (1598) [5] which was written by the new Spaniard Rodrigo Motezuma and which made reference to the Columbia river when the Spanish explorers penetrated into the North American territory that became part of the Viceroyalty of New Spain. This chronicle is the first topographical and linguistic source with respect to the place name "Oregon". There are also two other sources with Spanish origins such as the name Oregano which grows in the southern part of the region. It is most probable that the American territory was named by the Spaniards as there are some populations in Spain such as "Arroyo del Oregón" which is situated in the province of Ciudad Real, also considering that the individualization in Spanish language "El Orejón" with the mutation of the letter "g" instead of "j". [6] Another subsequent theory is that French Canadian fur company employees called the Columbia River "hurricane river" le fleuve d'ouragan, because of the strong winds of the Columbia Gorge. George R. Stewart argued in a 1944 article in American Speech that the name came from an engraver's error in a French map published in the early 18th century, on which the Ouisiconsink (Wisconsin River) was spelled "Ouaricon-sint", broken on two lines with the -sint below, so that there appeared to be a river flowing to the west named "Ouaricon". [7] [8] This theory was endorsed in Oregon Geographic Names as "the most plausible explanation". [9]

<i>Lippia graveolens</i> species of plant

Lippia graveolens, a species of flowering plant in the verbena family, Verbenaceae, is native to the southwestern United States, Mexico, and Central America as far south as Nicaragua. Common names include Mexican oregano, redbrush lippia, orégano Cimmaron, scented lippia, and scented matgrass. The specific epithet is derived from two Latin words: gravis, meaning "heavy", and oleo, meaning "oil". It is a shrub or small tree, reaching 1–2.7 m (3.3–8.9 ft) in height. Fragrant white or yellowish flowers can be found on the plant throughout the year, especially after rains.

Ciudad Real Municipality in Castile-La Mancha, Spain

Ciudad Real is a city in Castile–La Mancha, Spain, with a population of c. 75,000. It is the capital of the province of Ciudad Real. Ciudad Real railway station is a stop on the AVE high-speed rail line and has begun to grow as a long-distance commuter town for Madrid, which is located 115 miles (185 km) to the north of Ciudad Real.

George R. Stewart American historian, toponymist, and novelist

George Rippey Stewart was an American historian, toponymist, novelist, and a professor of English at the University of California, Berkeley. His 1959 book, Pickett's Charge, a detailed history of the final attack at Gettysburg, was called "essential for an understanding of the Battle of Gettysburg". His 1949 post-apocalyptic novel Earth Abides won the first International Fantasy Award in 1951.

Territorial evolution

Spanish territorial claims in the West Coast of North America, 18th century. NutcaEN.png
Spanish territorial claims in the West Coast of North America, 18th century.

The Oregon Country was originally claimed by Great Britain, France, Russia, and Spain; the Spanish claim was later taken up by the United States. The extent of the region being claimed was vague at first, evolving over decades into the specific borders specified in the US-British treaty of 1818. The U.S.-based its claim in part on Robert Gray's entry of the Columbia River in 1792 and the Lewis and Clark Expedition. Great Britain based its claim in part on British overland explorations of the Columbia River by David Thompson and on prior discovery and exploration along the Coast. Spain's claim was based on the Inter caetera and Treaty of Tordesillas of 1493–94, as well as explorations of the Pacific coast in the late 18th century. [10] Russia based its claim off its explorations and trading activities in the region and asserted its ownership of the region north of the 51st parallel by the Ukase of 1821, which was quickly challenged by the other powers and withdrawn to 54°40′N by separate treaties with the US and Britain in 1824 and 1825 respectively. [11] Spain gave up its claims of exclusivity via the Nootka Conventions of the 1790s. In the Nootka Conventions, which followed the Nootka Crisis, Spain granted Britain rights to the Pacific Northwest, although it did not establish a northern boundary for Spanish California, nor did it extinguish Spanish rights to the Pacific Northwest. [12] Spain later relinquished any remaining claims to territory north of the 42nd parallel to the United States as part of the Adams-Onís Treaty of 1819. In the 1820s, Russia gave up its claims south of 54°40′ and east of the 141st meridian in separate treaties with the United States and Britain. [13]

France Republic with majority of territory in Europe and numerous oversea territories around the world

France, officially the French Republic, is a country whose territory consists of metropolitan France in Western Europe and several overseas regions and territories. The metropolitan area of France extends from the Mediterranean Sea to the English Channel and the North Sea, and from the Rhine to the Atlantic Ocean. It is bordered by Belgium, Luxembourg and Germany to the northeast, Switzerland and Italy to the east, and Andorra and Spain to the south. The overseas territories include French Guiana in South America and several islands in the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian oceans. The country's 18 integral regions span a combined area of 643,801 square kilometres (248,573 sq mi) and a total population of 67.02 million. France is a unitary semi-presidential republic with its capital in Paris, the country's largest city and main cultural and commercial centre. Other major urban areas include Lyon, Marseille, Toulouse, Bordeaux, Lille and Nice.

Russia transcontinental country in Eastern Europe and Northern Asia

Russia, or the Russian Federation, is a transcontinental country in Eastern Europe and North Asia. At 17,125,200 square kilometres (6,612,100 sq mi), Russia is, by a considerable margin, the largest country in the world by area, covering more than one-eighth of the Earth's inhabited land area, and the ninth most populous, with about 146.79 million people as of 2019, including Crimea. About 77% of the population live in the western, European part of the country. Russia's capital, Moscow, is one of the largest cities in the world and the second largest city in Europe; other major cities include Saint Petersburg, Novosibirsk, Yekaterinburg and Nizhny Novgorod. Extending across the entirety of Northern Asia and much of Eastern Europe, Russia spans eleven time zones and incorporates a wide range of environments and landforms. From northwest to southeast, Russia shares land borders with Norway, Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland, Belarus, Ukraine, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, China, Mongolia and North Korea. It shares maritime borders with Japan by the Sea of Okhotsk and the U.S. state of Alaska across the Bering Strait. However, Russia recognises two more countries that border it, Abkhazia and South Ossetia, both of which are internationally recognized as parts of Georgia.

Spain Kingdom in Southwest Europe

Spain, officially the Kingdom of Spain, is a country mostly located in Europe. Its continental European territory is situated on the Iberian Peninsula. Its territory also includes two archipelagoes: the Canary Islands off the coast of Africa, and the Balearic Islands in the Mediterranean Sea. The African enclaves of Ceuta, Melilla, and Peñón de Vélez de la Gomera make Spain the only European country to have a physical border with an African country (Morocco). Several small islands in the Alboran Sea are also part of Spanish territory. The country's mainland is bordered to the south and east by the Mediterranean Sea except for a small land boundary with Gibraltar; to the north and northeast by France, Andorra, and the Bay of Biscay; and to the west and northwest by Portugal and the Atlantic Ocean.

Meanwhile, the United States and Britain negotiated the Anglo-American Convention of 1818 that extended the boundary between their territories west along the 49th parallel to the Rocky Mountains. The two countries agreed to "joint occupancy" of the land west of the Rockies to the Pacific Ocean.[ citation needed ]

49th parallel north circle of latitude

The 49th parallel north is a circle of latitude that is 49° north of Earth's equator. It crosses Europe, Asia, the Pacific Ocean, North America, and the Atlantic Ocean.

In 1821, as part of the forced merger between the North West Company and the Hudson's Bay Company, the British Parliament imposed the laws of Upper Canada on British subjects in Rupert's Land and Columbia District, and gave the authority to enforce those laws to the Hudson's Bay Company. Chief Factor John McLoughlin, as HBC's manager in the Columbia District, applied the law to British subjects and sought to maintain law and order over American settlers, as well.[ citation needed ]

In 1843 settlers established their own government, called the Provisional Government of Oregon. A legislative committee drafted a code of laws known as the Organic Law. It included the creation of an executive committee of three, a judiciary, militia, land laws, and four counties. There was vagueness and confusion over the nature of the 1843 Organic Law, in particular whether it was constitutional or statutory. In 1844, a new legislative committee decided to consider it statutory. The 1845 Organic Law made additional changes, including allowing the participation of British subjects in the government. Although the Oregon Treaty of 1846 settled the boundaries of US jurisdiction, the Provisional Government continued to function until 1849, when the first governor of Oregon Territory arrived. [14]

A faction of Oregon politicians hoped to continue Oregon's political evolution into an independent nation, but the pressure to join the United States would prevail by 1848, four months after the Mexican–American War. [15]

Early settlement

Fort Vancouver in 1845. Fort Vancouver 1845.jpg
Fort Vancouver in 1845.
David Thompson navigated the entire length of Columbia River in 1811. Map of Columbia and its tributaries showing modern political boundaries. Columbiarivermap.png
David Thompson navigated the entire length of Columbia River in 1811. Map of Columbia and its tributaries showing modern political boundaries.
Map of the route of the York Factory Express, 1820s to 1840s. Modern political boundaries shown. York-Factory-Express.png
Map of the route of the York Factory Express, 1820s to 1840s. Modern political boundaries shown.
The Oregon trail started in St. Louis, Missouri. Oregontrail 1907.jpg
The Oregon trail started in St. Louis, Missouri.

In 1805, the American Lewis and Clark expedition marked the first official American exploration of the area, then creating the first temporary settlement of Euro-Americans in the area near the mouth of the Columbia River at Fort Clatsop. Two years later in 1807, David Thompson of the British-owned North West Company (later the Hudson's Bay Company) penetrated the Oregon Country from the north, via Athabasca Pass, near the headwaters of the Columbia River. From there he navigated nearly the full length of the river through to the Pacific Ocean.

In 1810, John Jacob Astor commissioned and began the construction of the American Pacific Fur Company fur-trading post at Fort Astoria just five miles from the site of Lewis and Clark's former Fort Clatsop, completing construction of the first permanent Euro-American settlement in the area in 1811. This settlement later served as the nucleus of present day Astoria, Oregon. During the period of the construction of Fort Astoria, Thompson traveled down the Columbia River, then noting the partially constructed American Fort Astoria only two months after the departure of the supply ship Tonquin .

Along the way, Thompson had set foot on and claimed for the British Crown, the lands in the vicinity of the future Fort Nez Perces site at the confluence of the Columbia and Snake rivers. This claim initiated a very brief era of competition between American and British fur traders. During the War of 1812 Fort Astoria was captured by the British and sold to the North West Company. Under British control, Fort Astoria was renamed Fort George. [16]

In 1821 when the North West Company was merged with the Hudson's Bay Company, the British Parliament moved to impose the laws of Upper Canada upon British subjects in Columbia District and Rupert's Land, and issued the authority to enforce those laws to the Hudson's Bay Company. Chief Factor John McLoughlin was appointed manager of the district's operations in 1824. He moved the regional Company headquarters to Fort Vancouver (modern Vancouver, Washington) in 1824. Fort Vancouver became the centre of a thriving colony of mixed origin, including Scottish Canadians and Scots, English, French Canadians, Hawaiians, Algonkians, and Iroquois, as well as the offspring of company employees who had intermarried with various local native populations. McLoughlin applied the laws to British subjects, kept the peace with the natives and maintained friendly relations with American merchants and later colonists.[ citation needed ]

Astor continued to compete for Oregon Country furs through his American Fur Company operations in the Rockies. [17] In the 1820s, a few American explorers and traders visited this land beyond the Rocky Mountains. Long after the Lewis and Clark Expedition and also after the consolidation of the fur trade in the region by the Canadian fur companies, American "Mountain Men" such as Jedediah Smith and Jim Beckwourth came roaming into and across the Rocky Mountains, following Indian trails through the Rockies to California and Oregon. They sought beaver pelts and other furs, which were obtained by trapping. These were difficult to obtain in the Oregon Country due to the Hudson's Bay Company policy of creating a "fur desert": deliberate over-hunting of the area's frontiers, so that American trades would find nothing there. [18] The Mountain Men, like the Metis employees of the Canadian fur companies, adopted Indian ways and many of them married Native American women.[ citation needed ]

Reports of Oregon Country eventually circulated in the eastern United States. Some churches decided to send missionaries to convert the Indians. Jason Lee, a Methodist minister from New York, was the first Oregon missionary. He built a mission school for Indians in the Willamette Valley in 1834. Others followed within a few years.[ citation needed ]

American settlers began to arrive from the east by the Oregon Trail starting in the early 1840s, and came in increasing numbers each subsequent year. Increased tension led to the Oregon boundary dispute. Both sides realized that settlers would ultimately decide who controlled the region. The Hudson's Bay Company, which had previously discouraged settlement as it conflicted with the lucrative fur trade, belatedly reversed their position. In 1841, on orders from Sir George Simpson, James Sinclair guided more than 100 settlers from the Red River Colony to settle on HBC farms near Fort Vancouver. The Sinclair expedition crossed the Rockies into the Columbia Valley, near present-day Radium Hot Springs, British Columbia, then traveled south-west down the Kootenai River and Columbia River following the southern portion of the well established York Factory Express trade route.[ citation needed ]

The Canadian effort proved to be too little, too late. In what was dubbed "The Great Migration of 1843" or the "Wagon Train of 1843", an estimated 700 to 1,000 American emigrants came to Oregon, decisively tipping the balance. [19] [20] Britain gave up claims to its portion of the Columbia District south of the 49 parallel to the United States by the Oregon Treaty in 1846.[ citation needed ]

The Oregon Treaty

Mural on walls of Oregon Capitol Building depicting the provisional government seal. Oregon State Capitol Interior Provisional.JPG
Mural on walls of Oregon Capitol Building depicting the provisional government seal.

In 1843, settlers in the Willamette Valley established a provisional government at Champoeg, which was personally (but not officially) recognized by John McLoughlin of the Hudson's Bay Company in 1845.[ citation needed ]

Political pressure in the United States urged the occupation of all the Oregon Country. Expansionists in the American South wanted to annex Texas, while their counterparts in the Northeast wanted to annex the Oregon Country whole. It was seen as significant that the expansions be parallel, as the relative proximity to other states and territories made it appear likely that Texas would be pro-slavery and Oregon against slavery.[ citation needed ]

In the 1844 U.S. Presidential election, the Democrats had called for expansion into both areas. After his election as president, however, James K. Polk supported the 49th parallel as a northern limit for U.S. annexation in Oregon Country. It was Polk's uncompromising support for expansion into Texas and relative silence on the Oregon boundary dispute that led to the phrase "Fifty-Four Forty or Fight!", referring to the northern border of the region and often erroneously attributed to Polk's campaign. The goal of the slogan was to rally Southern expansionists (some of whom wanted to annex only Texas in an effort to tip the balance of slave/free states and territories in favor of slavery) to support the effort to annex Oregon Country, appealing to the popular belief in Manifest Destiny. The British government, meanwhile, sought control of all territory north of the Columbia River.[ citation needed ]

Despite the posturing, neither country really wanted to fight what would have been the third war in 70 years against the other. The two countries eventually came to a peaceful agreement in the 1846 Oregon Treaty that divided the territory west of the Continental Divide along the 49th parallel to Georgia Strait; with all of Vancouver Island remaining under British control. This border today divides British Columbia from neighboring Washington, Idaho, and Montana.[ citation needed ]

Hudson's Bay Company

In 1843 the Hudson's Bay Company—HBC shifted its Columbia Department headquarters from Fort Vancouver to Fort Victoria on Vancouver Island. The plan to move to more northern locations dated back to the 1820s. George Simpson was the main force behind the move north; John McLoughlin became the main hindrance. McLoughlin had devoted his life's work to the Columbia business and his personal interests were increasingly linked to the growing settlements in the Willamette Valley. He fought Simpson's proposals to move north, but in vain. By the time Simpson made the final decision in 1842 to move the headquarters to Vancouver Island, he had had many reasons for doing so. There was a dramatic decline in the fur trade across North America. In contrast the HBC was seeing increasing profits with coastal exports of salmon and lumber to Pacific markets such as Hawaii. Coal deposits on Vancouver Island had been discovered and steamships such as the Beaver had shown the growing value of coal, economically and strategically. A general HBC shift toward Pacific shipping and away from the interior of the continent made Victoria Harbour much more suitable than Fort Vancouver's location on the Columbia River. The Columbia Bar at the river's mouth was dangerous and routinely meant weeks or months of waiting for ships to cross. The largest ships could not enter the river at all. Finally, the growing numbers of American settlers along the lower Columbia gave Simpson reason to question the long term security of Fort Vancouver. He worried, rightfully so, that the final border resolution would not follow the Columbia River. By 1842 he thought it more likely that the US would at least demand Puget Sound, and the British government would accept a border as far north as the 49th parallel, excluding Vancouver Island. Despite McLoughlin's stalling, the HBC had begun the process of shifting away from Fort Vancouver and toward Vancouver Island and the northern coast in the 1830s. The increasing number of American settlers arriving in the Willamette Valley after 1840 served to make the need more pressing. [21]

Oregon Territory

In 1848, the U.S. portion of the Oregon Country was formally organized as the Oregon Territory. In 1849, Vancouver Island became a British Crown colony—the Colony of Vancouver Island, with the mainland being organized into the Colony of British Columbia in 1858. Shortly after the establishment of Oregon Territory there was an effort to split off the region north of the Columbia River. As a result of the Monticello Convention Congress approved the creation of Washington Territory in early 1853. President Millard Fillmore also approved on March 2, 1853. [22]

Descriptions of the land and settlers

Alexander Ross, an early Scottish Canadian fur trader, describes the lower Columbia River area of the Oregon Country (known to him as the Columbia District):

The banks of the river throughout are low and skirted in the distance by a chain of moderately high lands on each side, interspersed here and there with clumps of wide spreading oaks, groves of pine, and a variety of other kinds of woods. Between these high lands lie what is called the valley of the Wallamitte [ sic ], the frequented haunts of innumerable herds of elk and deer ... In ascending the river the surrounding country is most delightful, and the first barrier to be meet with is about forty miles up from its mouth. Here the navigation is interrupted by a ledge of rocks, running across the river from side to side in the form of an irregular horseshoe, over which the whole body of water falls at one leap down a precipice of about forty feet, called the Falls.

After living in Oregon from 1843 to 1848, Peter H. Burnett wrote:

[Oregonians] were all honest, because there was nothing to steal; they were all sober, because there was no liquor to drink; there were no misers, because there was no money to hoard; and they were all industrious, because it was work or starve. [23] [24]

See also

Related Research Articles

John McLoughlin Founder of the Oregon Country

Dr. John McLoughlin, baptized Jean-Baptiste McLoughlin, was a French-Canadian, later American, Chief Factor and Superintendent of the Columbia District of the Hudson's Bay Company at Fort Vancouver from 1824 to 1845. He was later known as the "Father of Oregon" for his role in assisting the American cause in the Oregon Country. In the late 1840s, his general store in Oregon City was famous as the last stop on the Oregon Trail.

Fort Vancouver United States historic place

Fort Vancouver was a 19th-century fur trading post that was the headquarters of the Hudson's Bay Company's Columbia Department, located in the Pacific Northwest. Named for Captain George Vancouver, the fort was located on the northern bank of the Columbia River in present-day Vancouver, Washington. The fort was a major center of the regional fur trading. Every year trade goods and supplies from London arrived either via ships sailing to the Pacific Ocean or overland from Hudson Bay via the York Factory Express. Supplies and trade goods were exchanged with a plethora of Indigenous cultures for fur pelts. Furs from Fort Vancouver were often shipped to the Chinese port of Guangzhou where they were traded for Chinese manufactured goods for sale in the United Kingdom. At its pinnacle, Fort Vancouver watched over 34 outposts, 24 ports, six ships, and 600 employees. Today, a full-scale replica of the fort, with internal buildings, has been constructed and is open to the public as Fort Vancouver National Historic Site.

Fort Hall United States historic place

Fort Hall was a fort that was built in 1834 as a fur trading post by Nathaniel Jarvis Wyeth. It was located on the Snake River in the eastern Oregon Country, now part of present-day Bannock County in southeastern Idaho, United States. Mr. Wyeth was an inventor and businessman from Boston, Massachusetts, who also founded a post at Fort William, in present-day Portland, Oregon, as part of a plan for a new trading and fisheries company. Unable to compete with the powerful British Hudson's Bay Company, based at Fort Vancouver, in 1837 Wyeth sold both posts to it. Great Britain and the United States both operated in the Oregon Country in these years.

Fort Astoria United States historic place

Fort Astoria was the primary fur trading post of John Jacob Astor's Pacific Fur Company (PFC). A maritime contingent of PFC staff was sent on board the Tonquin, while another party traveled overland from St. Louis. This land based group later became known as the Astor Expedition. Built at the entrance of the Columbia River in 1811, Fort Astoria was the first American-owned settlement on the Pacific coast.

New Caledonia was a fur-trading district of the Hudson's Bay Company that comprised the territory of the north-central portions of present-day British Columbia, Canada. Though not a British colony, New Caledonia was part of the British claim to North America. Its administrative centre was Fort St. James. The rest of what is now mainland British Columbia was called the Columbia Department by the British, and the Oregon Country by the Americans. Even before the partition of the Columbia Department by the Oregon Treaty in 1846, New Caledonia was often used to describe anywhere on the mainland not in the Columbia Department, such as Fort Langley in the Fraser Valley.

Fort Victoria (British Columbia) human settlement in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada

Fort Victoria began as a fur trading post of the Hudson’s Bay Company and was the headquarters of HBC operations in the Columbia District, a large fur trading area now part of the province of British Columbia, Canada and the U.S. state of Washington. Construction of Fort Victoria in 1843 highlighted the beginning of a permanent British settlement now known as Victoria, the capital city of British Columbia. The fort itself was demolished in November 1864 as the town continued to grow as a commercial centre serving the local area as well as trading with California, Washington Territory, the United Kingdom, and others.

Fort Colvile

The trade center Fort Colvile was built by the Hudson's Bay Company (HBC) at Kettle Falls on the Columbia River in 1825 and operated in the Columbia fur district of the company. Named for Andrew Colville, a London governor of the HBC, the fort was a few miles west of the present site of Colville, Washington. It was an important stop on the York Factory Express trade route to London via the Hudson Bay. The HBC for some time considered Fort Colvile second in importance only to Fort Vancouver, near the mouth of the Columbia, until the foundation of Fort Victoria.

Fort Nisqually United States historic place

Fort Nisqually was an important fur trading and farming post of the Hudson's Bay Company in the Puget Sound area, part of the Hudson's Bay Company's Columbia Department. It was located in what is now DuPont, Washington. Today it is a living history museum located in Tacoma, Washington, USA, within the boundaries of Point Defiance Park. The Fort Nisqually Granary, moved along with the Factor's House from the original site of the second fort to this park, is a U.S. National Historic Landmark. Built in 1843, the granary is the oldest building in Washington state and one of the only surviving examples of a Hudson's Bay Company "post on sill" structure. The Factor's House and the granary are the only surviving Hudson's Bay Company buildings in the United States.

Fort Boise United States historic place

Fort Boise is either of two different locations in the western United States, both in southwestern Idaho. The first was a Hudson's Bay Company (HBC) trading post near the Snake River on what is now the Oregon border, dating from the era when Idaho was included in the British fur company's Columbia District. After several rebuilds, the fort was ultimately abandoned in 1854, after it had become part of United States territory following settlement in 1846 of the northern boundary dispute.

Champoeg Meetings constituent assemblies of European settlers in the southern Oregon Country

The Champoeg Meetings were the first attempts at formal governance by European-American and French Canadian pioneers in the Oregon Country on the Pacific Northwest coast of North America. Between 1841 and 1843, a series of public councils was held at Champoeg, a settlement on the French Prairie of the Willamette River valley in present-day Marion County, Oregon, and at surrounding settlements. The meetings were organized by newly arrived settlers as well as Protestant missionaries from the Methodist Mission and Catholic Jesuit priests from Canada.

Oregon pioneer history

Oregon pioneer history (1806—1890) is the period in the history of Oregon Country and Oregon Territory, in the present day state of Oregon and Northwestern United States.

The Puget Sound Agricultural Company (PSAC), with common variations of the name including Puget Sound or Puget's Sound, was a subsidiary joint stock company formed in 1840 by the Hudson's Bay Company (HBC). Its stations operated within the Pacific Northwest, in the HBC administrative division of the Columbia Department. The RAC-HBC Agreement was signed in 1839 between the Russian-American Company and the HBC, with the British to now supply the various trade posts of Russian America. It was hoped by the HBC governing committee that independent American merchants, previously a major source of foodstuffs for the RAC, would be shut out of the Russian markets and leave the Maritime fur trade.

Fort William was a fur trading outpost built in 1834 by the American Nathaniel Jarvis Wyeth, a Boston merchant, backed by American investors. It was located on the Columbia River on Wappatoo Island near the future Portland, Oregon. After a few years, in 1837 Wyeth sold the post to the British Hudson’s Bay Company, which had much more power in the region from its base at Fort Vancouver on the north side of the Columbia River near Fort William.

Étienne Lucier was a French-Canadian fur trader active primarily in the Pacific Northwest. He was hired by the Pacific Fur Company and sent to the region to help establish Fort Astoria. Later he became a settler in the Willamette Valley. Lucier attended the Champoeg Meetings and was one of few French-Canadians or "Canadiens" to vote for the Provisional Government of Oregon, an American and Canadian civil authority for the valley. He is credited with becoming the first European descendant farmer within the modern state of Oregon.

York Factory Express 19th-century fur trading convoy route

The York Factory Express, usually called "the Express" and also the Columbia Express and the Communication, was a 19th-century fur brigade operated by the Hudson's Bay Company (HBC). Roughly 4,200 kilometres (2,600 mi) in length, it was the main overland connection between HBC headquarters at York Factory and the principal station of Columbia Department, Fort Vancouver.

Thomas McKay (1796–1849) was an Anglo-Métis Canadian Fur trader who worked mainly in the Pacific Northwest for the Pacific Fur Company (PFC), the North West Company (NWC), and the Hudson's Bay Company (HBC). He was a fur brigade leader and explorer of the Columbia District and later became a U.S. citizen and an early settler of Oregon.

Fort Simpson was a fur trading post established in 1831 by the Hudson's Bay Company (HBC) near the mouth of the Nass River in present-day British Columbia, Canada. In 1834, it was moved to the Tsimpsean Peninsula, about halfway between the Nass River and the Skeena River, and was later referred to as Port Simpson or as the native name Lax Kw'alaams. The fort was part of the HBC's Columbia Department.

Fort Stikine was a fur trade post and fortification in what is now the Alaska Panhandle, at the site of the present-day of Wrangell, Alaska, United States. Originally built as the Redoubt San Dionisio or Redoubt Saint Dionysius in 1834, the site was transferred to the British-owned Hudson's Bay Company as part of a lease signed in the region in 1838, and renamed Fort Stikine when turned into a Hudson's Bay Company post in 1839. The post was closed and decommissioned by 1843 but the name remained for the large village of the Stikine people which had grown around it, becoming known as Shakesville in reference to its ruling Chief Shakes by the 1860s. With the Alaska Purchase of 1867, the fortification became occupied by the US Army and was renamed Fort Wrangel, a reference to Baron von Wrangel, who had been Governor of Russian America when the fort was founded. The site today is now part of the city of Wrangell.


  1. Meinig, D.W. (1995) [1968]. The Great Columbia Plain (Weyerhaeuser Environmental Classic ed.). University of Washington Press. p. 104. ISBN   0-295-97485-0.
  2. Mackie, Richard Somerset (1997). Trading Beyond the Mountains: The British Fur Trade on the Pacific 1793-1843. Vancouver: University of British Columbia (UBC) Press. p. 284. ISBN   0-7748-0613-3.
  3. DeVoto, Bernard (1953). The Journals of Lewis and Clark. Houghton Mifflin Company. p. xxix. ISBN   0-395-08380-X.
  4. Nisbet, Jack (1994). Sources of the River: Tracking David Thompson Across Western North America. Sasquatch Books. pp. 4–5. ISBN   1-57061-522-5.
  5. Motezuma, Rodrigo (2002). La isla de oro: relación de la alta y Baja California (1. ed.). Valladolid: Universitas Castellae. ISBN   84-92315-67-9.
  6. Fernández-Shaw, Carlos M. (1987). Presencia española en los Estados Unidos (2a ed. aum. y corr. ed.). Madrid: Instituto de Cooperación Iberoamericana, Ediciones Cultura Hispánica. ISBN   84-7232-412-5.
  7. Stewart, George R. (1944). "The Source of the Name 'Oregon'". American Speech. Duke University Press. 19 (2): 115–117. doi:10.2307/487012. JSTOR   487012.
  8. Stewart, George R. (1967) [1945]. Names on the Land: A Historical Account of Place-Naming in the United States (Sentry edition (3rd) ed.). Houghton Mifflin. pp. 153, 463.
  9. McArthur, Lewis A.; Lewis L. McArthur (2003) [1928]. Oregon Geographic Names (Seventh ed.). Portland, Oregon: Oregon Historical Society Press. ISBN   0-87595-277-1.
  10. Elliott, John Huxtable (2007). Empires of the Atlantic World. Yale University Press. pp. 11–12. ISBN   978-0-300-12399-9. online at Google Books
  11. Haycox, Stephen W. (2002). Alaska: An American Colony. University of Washington Press. pp. 1118–1122. ISBN   978-0-295-98249-6.
  12. Weber, David J. (1994). The Spanish Frontier in North America. Yale University Press. p. 287. ISBN   978-0-300-05917-5. online at Google Books
  13. Chiorazzi, Michael G.; Marguerite Most (2005). Prestatehood Legal Materials. Haworth Press. p. 959. ISBN   978-0-7890-2056-7. online at Google Books
  14. Chiorazzi, Michael G.; Marguerite Most (2005). Prestatehood Legal Materials. Haworth Press. pp. 959–962. ISBN   978-0-7890-2056-7. online at Google Books
  15. Clarke, S.A. (1905). Pioneer Days of Oregon History. J.K. Gill Company.
  16. Meinig, D.W. (1995) [1968]. The Great Columbia Plain (Weyerhaeuser Environmental Classic ed.). University of Washington Press. p. 52. ISBN   0-295-97485-0.
  17. Mackie, Richard Somerset (1997). Trading Beyond the Mountains: The British Fur Trade on the Pacific 1793-1843. Vancouver: University of British Columbia (UBC) Press. pp. 65, 108, 110–111. ISBN   0-7748-0613-3.
  18. Mackie, Richard Somerset (1997). Trading Beyond the Mountains: The British Fur Trade on the Pacific 1793-1843. Vancouver: University of British Columbia (UBC) Press. pp. 64–65, 259. ISBN   0-7748-0613-3.
  19. The Wagon Train of 1843: The Great Migration. Oregon Pioneers. Retrieved on 2007-12-22 from "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2008-05-31. Retrieved 2016-02-06.Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link).
  20. The West Film Project (2001). Events in The West: 1840-1850. PBS, 2001. Retrieved on 2007-12-22 from https://www.pbs.org/weta/thewest/events/1840_1850.htm.
  21. Mackie, Richard Somerset (1997). Trading Beyond the Mountains: The British Fur Trade on the Pacific 1793-1843. Vancouver: University of British Columbia (UBC) Press. pp. 240–245, 256–262, 264–273, 276. ISBN   0-7748-0613-3. online at Google Books
  22. Weber, Dennis P. (2003). "The Creation of Washington: Securing Democracy North of the Columbia" (PDF). Columbia - The Magazine of Northwest History. 17 (3). Retrieved 9 September 2019.
  23. MacColl, E. Kimbark (1979). The Growth of a City: Power and Politics in Portland, Oregon 1915-1950. Portland, Oregon: The Georgian Press. ISBN   0-9603408-1-5.
  24. MacColl cites Peter H. Burnett, Recollections and Opinions of an Old Pioneer, New York 1880, pg 181.


Coordinates: 48°N122°W / 48°N 122°W / 48; -122