|Territory of Oregon|
|Organized incorporated territory of the United States|
Seal of the Oregon Territory
|• Type||Organized incorporated territory|
|• Motto||Alis volat propriis|
• 1848–1850; 1853
|John P. Gaines|
|John W. Davis|
|George L. Curry|
|June 15, 1846|
|August 14 1848|
• Washington Territory split off
|March 2, 1853|
|February 14, 1859|
The Territory of Oregon was an organized incorporated territory of the United States that existed from August 14, 1848, until February 14, 1859, when the southwestern portion of the territory was admitted to the Union as the State of Oregon. Originally claimed by several countries (see Oregon Country), the region was divided between the UK and the US in 1846. When established, the territory encompassed an area that included the current states of Oregon, Washington, and Idaho, as well as parts of Wyoming and Montana. The capital of the territory was first Oregon City, then Salem, followed briefly by Corvallis, then back to Salem, which became the state capital upon Oregon's admission to the Union.
Originally inhabited by Native Americans, the region that became the Oregon Territory was explored by Europeans first by sea. The first documented voyage of exploration was made in 1777 by the Spanish, and both British and American vessels visited the region not long thereafter.Subsequent land-based exploration by Alexander Mackenzie and the Lewis and Clark Expedition and development of the fur trade in the region strengthened the competing claims of Great Britain and the United States.
The competing interests of the two foremost claimants were addressed in the Treaty of 1818, which sanctioned a "joint occupation", by British and Americans, of a vast "Oregon Country" (as the American side called it) that comprehended the present-day U.S. states of Oregon, Washington, and Idaho, parts of Montana and Wyoming, and the portion of what is now the Canadian province of British Columbia south of the parallel 54°40′ north.
During the period of joint occupation, most activity in the region outside of the activities of the indigenous people came from the fur trade, which was dominated by the British Hudson's Bay Company.Over time, some trappers began to settle down in the area and began farming, and missionaries started to arrive in the 1830s. Some settlers also began arriving in the late 1830s, and covered wagons crossed the Oregon Trail beginning in 1841. At that time, no government existed in the Oregon Country, as no one nation held dominion over the territory.
A group of settlers in the Willamette Valley began meeting in 1841 to discuss organizing a government for the area.These earliest documented discussions, mostly concerning forming a government, were held in an early pioneer and Native American encampment and later town known as Champoeg, Oregon. These first Champoeg Meetings eventually led to further discussions, and in 1843 the creation of the Provisional Government of Oregon. In 1846, the Oregon boundary dispute between the U.S. and Britain was settled with the signing of the Oregon Treaty.
The United States federal government left their part of the region unorganized for two years until news of the Whitman massacre reached the United States Congress and helped to facilitate the organization of the region into a U.S. territory.On August 14, 1848, Congress passed the Act to Establish the Territorial Government of Oregon, which created what was officially the Territory of Oregon. The Territory of Oregon originally encompassed all of the present-day states of Idaho, Oregon and Washington, as well as those parts of present-day Montana and Wyoming west of the Continental Divide. Its southern border was the 42nd parallel north (the boundary of the Adams-Onis Treaty of 1819), and it extended north to the 49th parallel. Oregon City, Oregon, was designated as the first capital.
The territorial government consisted of a governor, a marshal, a secretary, an attorney, and a three-judge supreme court.Judges on the court also sat as trial level judges as they rode circuit across the territory. All of these offices were filled by appointment by the President of the United States. The two-chamber Oregon Territorial Legislature was responsible for passing laws, with seats in both the upper-chamber council and lower-chamber house of representatives filled by local elections held each year.
Taxation took the form of an annual property tax of 0.25% for territorial purposes with an additional county tax not to exceed this amount.This tax was to be paid on all town lots and improvements, mills, carriages, clocks and watches, and livestock; farmland and farm products were not taxed. In addition, a poll tax of 50 cents for every qualified voter under age 60 was assessed and a graduated schedule of merchants' licenses established, ranging from the peddlar's rate of $10 per year to a $60 annual fee on firms with more than $20,000 of capital.
Oregon City served as the seat of government from 1848 to 1851, followed by Salem from 1851 to 1855. Corvallis served briefly as the capital in 1855, followed by a permanent return to Salem later that year.In 1853, as a result of the Monticello Convention and its approval by Congress and President Millard Fillmore, the portion of the territory north of the lower Columbia River and north of the 46th parallel east of the river was organized into the Washington Territory. The Oregon Constitutional Convention was held in 1857 to draft a constitution in preparation for becoming a state, with the convention delegates approving the document in September, and then general populace approving the document in November.
On February 14, 1859, the territory entered the Union as the U.S. state of Oregon within its current boundaries.The remaining eastern portion of the territory (the portions in present-day southern Idaho and western Wyoming) was added to the Washington Territory.
The Territory of Washington was an organized incorporated territory of the United States that existed from March 2, 1853, until November 11, 1889, when the territory was admitted to the Union as the State of Washington. It was created from the portion of the Oregon Territory north of the lower Columbia River and north of the 46th parallel east of the Columbia. At its largest extent, it also included the entirety of modern Idaho and parts of Montana and Wyoming, before attaining its final boundaries in 1863.
The Territory of Wyoming was an organized incorporated territory of the United States that existed from July 25, 1868, until July 10, 1890, when it was admitted to the Union as the State of Wyoming. Cheyenne was the territorial capital. The boundaries of the Wyoming Territory were identical to the modern State of Wyoming.
The Territory of Idaho was an organized incorporated territory of the United States that existed from March 3, 1863, until July 3, 1890, when the final extent of the territory was admitted to the Union as Idaho.
The Northwestern United States, also known as the American Northwest, is an informal geographic region of the United States. The region consistently includes the states of Oregon, Washington and Idaho—and usually Montana and Wyoming. Some sources include Southeast Alaska in the Northwest. The related but distinct term "Pacific Northwest" generally excludes areas from the Rockies eastward.
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 (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.
William J. Bailey was a British-born physician who immigrated to the United States, where he became a pioneer and politician in the Oregon Country, particularly the Willamette Valley. Bailey participated in the Champoeg Meetings that led to the creation of a provisional government in Oregon. Bailey was selected as a member of that government, first on the Executive Committee and later in the Provisional Legislature of Oregon.
The Provisional Government of Oregon was a popularly elected settler government created in the Oregon Country, in the Pacific Northwest region of North America. Its formation had been advanced at the Champoeg Meetings since February 17, 1841 and it existed from May 2, 1843 until March 3, 1849, and provided a legal system and a common defense amongst the mostly American pioneers settling an area then inhabited only by the many Indigenous Nations. Much of the region's geography and many of the Natives were not known by people of European descent until several exploratory tours were authorized at the turn of the 18th and 19th centuries. The Organic Laws of Oregon were adopted in 1843 with its preamble stating that settlers only agreed to the laws "until such time as the United States of America extend their jurisdiction over us." According to a message from the government in 1844, the rising settler population was beginning to flourish among the "savages", who were "the chief obstruction to the entrance of civilization" in a land of "ignorance and idolatry."
Historic ferries in Oregon are water transport ferries that operated in Oregon Country, Oregon Territory, and the state of Oregon, United States. These ferries allowed people to cross bodies of water, mainly rivers such as the Willamette in the Willamette Valley, and the Columbia, in order to transport goods, move people, and further communications until permanent bridges were built to allow faster crossing of the water. The early ferries were used by wagons and pedestrians, while later ones transported trains and then automobiles. Oregon has a few automobile ferries still in operation.
William Holden Willson was a pioneer of the U.S. state of Oregon and the founder of its capital city, Salem. A native of New Hampshire, he immigrated to the Oregon Country in 1837 to work at the Methodist Mission, and there would participate in the Champoeg Meetings. Willson served as the first treasurer of the Provisional Government of Oregon.
The Provisional Legislature of Oregon was the single-chamber legislative body of the Provisional Government of Oregon. It served the Oregon Country of the Pacific Northwest of North America from 1843 until early 1849 at a time when no country had sovereignty over the region. This democratically elected legislature became the Oregon Territorial Legislature when the territorial authorities arrived after the creation of the Oregon Territory by the United States in 1848. The body was first termed the Legislative Committee and later renamed the House of Representatives. Over the course of its six-year history the legislature passed laws, including taxation and liquor regulation, and created an army to deal with conflicts with Native Americans.
Oregon's Territorial Legislature was a bicameral legislative body created by the United States Congress in 1848 as the legislative branch of the government of the Oregon Territory. The upper chamber Council and lower chamber House of Representatives first met in July 1849; they served as the region's legislative body until Oregon became a state in February 1859, when they were replaced by the bicameral Oregon State Legislature.
The Organic Laws of Oregon were two sets of legislation passed in the 1840s by a group of primarily American settlers based in the Willamette Valley. These laws were drafted after the Champoeg Meetings and created the structure of a white government in the Oregon Country. At the last Champoeg Meeting in May 1843, the majority of the male European descendants present voted to create what became the Provisional Government of Oregon. Laws were drafted by the committee and accepted by a popular vote in July. These laws were reformed by a second version in 1845.
John Smith Griffin (1807–1899) was an American missionary in Oregon Country who participated at the Champoeg Meetings that created the Provisional Government of Oregon in 1843. In Oregon he served as a tutor at Fort Vancouver and later organized a church on the Tualatin Plains in the Tualatin Valley.
Pierre Belleque or Pierre Billique (1793–1849) was a French Canadian fur trader in the British-claimed Columbia District, which was also known as the Oregon Country and also claimed by the United States. He settled on the French Prairie in what is now the state of Oregon where in 1843 he participated in the Champoeg Meetings. Pierre was elected one of three Constables. He voted affirmative for the measure to form a provisional government at the May 2, 1843 meeting. That measure passed and led to the creation of the Provisional Government of Oregon.
Joseph Conant Avery was the founder of Corvallis, Oregon, United States. Avery was the first postmaster for the community, and served as a legislator in the Provisional Government of Oregon and the government of the Oregon Territory. Avery House at Oregon State University was named after him.
The following outline traces the territorial evolution of the U.S. State of Wyoming.
The following timeline traces the territorial evolution of the U.S. State of Montana.
The following timeline traces the territorial evolution of the U.S. State of Idaho.
The 1763 Treaty of Paris ended the major war known by Americans as the French and Indian War and by Canadians as the Seven Years' War / Guerre de Sept Ans, or by French-Canadians, La Guerre de la Conquête. It was signed by Great Britain, France and Spain, with Portugal in agreement. Preferring to keep Guadeloupe, France gave up Canada and all of its claims to territory east of the Mississippi River to Britain. With France out of North America this dramatically changed the European political scene on the continent.