Oregon Territory

Last updated

Territory of Oregon
Organized incorporated territory of the United States
US flag 29 stars.svg
1848–1859 Flag of the United States (1851-1858).svg
 
Flag of Oregon.svg
Oregon-Territory-seal.tif
Seal of the Oregon Territory
Motto
Alis volat propriis
Capital
Government Organized incorporated territory
Governor
  1848–1850; 1853 Joseph Lane
  1850 Kintzing Prichette
  1850–1853 John P. Gaines
  1853–1854 John W. Davis
  1854–1859 George L. Curry
History
   Oregon Treaty June 15, 1846
   Organized August 14, 1848
   Washington Territory split offMarch 2, 1853
   Statehood 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 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.

United States Federal republic in North America

The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States or America, is a country comprising 50 states, a federal district, five major self-governing territories, and various possessions. At 3.8 million square miles, the United States is the world's third or fourth largest country by total area and is slightly smaller than the entire continent of Europe's 3.9 million square miles. With a population of over 327 million people, the U.S. is the third most populous country. The capital is Washington, D.C., and the largest city by population is New York City. Forty-eight states and the capital's federal district are contiguous in North America between Canada and Mexico. The State of Alaska is in the northwest corner of North America, bordered by Canada to the east and across the Bering Strait from Russia to the west. The State of Hawaii is an archipelago in the mid-Pacific Ocean. The U.S. territories are scattered about the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, stretching across nine official time zones. The extremely diverse geography, climate, and wildlife of the United States make it one of the world's 17 megadiverse countries.

Oregon State of the United States of America

Oregon is a state in the Pacific Northwest region on the West Coast of the United States. The Columbia River delineates much of Oregon's northern boundary with Washington, while the Snake River delineates much of its eastern boundary with Idaho. The parallel 42° north delineates the southern boundary with California and Nevada. Oregon is one of only three states of the contiguous United States to have a coastline on the Pacific Ocean.

Oregon Country Early 19th century US fur trade district in North America

The Oregon Country was a predominantly American term referring to 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.

Contents

Background

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. [1] [2] 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. [3]

Alexander Mackenzie (explorer) Scottish explorer

Sir Alexander Mackenzie was a Scottish explorer known for accomplishing the first east to west crossing of North America north of Mexico, which preceded the more famous Lewis and Clark Expedition by 12 years. His overland crossing of what is now Canada reached the Pacific Ocean in 1793. The Mackenzie River, the longest river system in Canada and the second longest in North America, is named after him.

Lewis and Clark Expedition American overland expedition to the Pacific coast

The Lewis and Clark Expedition from May 1804 to September 1806, also known as the Corps of Discovery Expedition, was the first American expedition to cross the western portion of the United States. It began in Pittsburgh, Pa, made its way westward, and passed through the Continental Divide of the Americas to reach the Pacific coast. The Corps of Discovery was a selected group of US Army volunteers under the command of Captain Meriwether Lewis and his close friend Second Lieutenant William Clark.

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. [4]

Treaty of 1818 treaty signed in 1818

The Convention respecting fisheries, boundary and the restoration of slaves between the United States of America and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, also known as the London Convention, Anglo-American Convention of 1818, Convention of 1818, or simply the Treaty of 1818, was an international treaty signed in 1818 between the above parties. Signed during the presidency of James Monroe, it resolved standing boundary issues between the two nations. The treaty allowed for joint occupation and settlement of the Oregon Country, known to the British and in Canadian history as the Columbia District of the Hudson's Bay Company, and including the southern portion of its sister district New Caledonia.

British Columbia Province of Canada

British Columbia is the westernmost province of Canada, located between the Pacific Ocean and the Rocky Mountains. With an estimated population of 5.016 million as of 2018, it is Canada's third-most populous province.

Formation

Oregon Territory, as originally organized, in 1848 Wpdms oregon territory 1848.png
Oregon Territory, as originally organized, in 1848
Oregon Territory (blue) with Washington Territory (green) in 1853 Wpdms oregon washington territories 1853.png
Oregon Territory (blue) with Washington Territory (green) in 1853
State of Oregon (blue) with Washington Territory (green) in 1859 Wpdms oregon washington territory 1859.png
State of Oregon (blue) with Washington Territory (green) in 1859

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. [5] Over time, some trappers began to settle down in the area and began farming, and missionaries started to arrive in the 1830s. [5] Some settlers also began arriving in the late 1830s, and covered wagons crossed the Oregon Trail beginning in 1841. [6] At that time, no government existed in the Oregon Country, as no one nation held dominion over the territory.

Fur trade Worldwide industry dealing in the acquisition and sale of animal fur

The fur trade is a worldwide industry dealing in the acquisition and sale of animal fur. Since the establishment of a world fur market in the early modern period, furs of boreal, polar and cold temperate mammalian animals have been the most valued. Historically the trade stimulated the exploration and colonization of Siberia, northern North America, and the South Shetland and South Sandwich Islands.

Hudsons Bay Company Canadian retail business group

The Hudson's Bay Company is a Canadian retail business group. A fur trading business for much of its existence, HBC now owns and operates retail stores in Canada, the United States, and parts of Europe including Belgium, the Netherlands, and Germany. The company's namesake business division is Hudson's Bay, commonly referred to as The Bay. Other divisions include Galeria Kaufhof, Home Outfitters, Lord & Taylor and Saks Fifth Avenue. HBC's head office is currently located in Brampton, Ontario. The company is listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange under the symbol "HBC".

Oregon Trail Historic route to and through the American Old West

The Oregon Trail is a 2,170-mile (3,490 km) historic East–West, large-wheeled wagon route and emigrant trail in the United States that connected the Missouri River to valleys in Oregon. The eastern part of the Oregon Trail spanned part of the future state of Kansas, and nearly all of what are now the states of Nebraska and Wyoming. The western half of the trail spanned most of the future states of Idaho and Oregon.

A group of settlers in the Willamette Valley began meeting in 1841 to discuss organizing a government for the area. [7] 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. [7] These first Champoeg Meetings eventually led to further discussions, and in 1843 the creation of the Provisional Government of Oregon. [7] In 1846, the Oregon boundary dispute between the U.S. and Britain was settled with the signing of the Oregon Treaty. [4] The British gained sole possession of the land north of the 49th parallel and all of Vancouver Island, with the United States receiving the territory south of that line.

Willamette Valley valley in the Pacific Northwest region of the United States

The Willamette Valley is a 150-mile (240 km) long valley in the Pacific Northwest region of the United States. The Willamette River flows the entire length of the valley, and it is surrounded by mountains on three sides – the Cascade Range to the east, the Oregon Coast Range to the west, and the Calapooya Mountains to the south. It forms the cultural and political heart of Oregon, and is home to approximately 70 percent of its population including its six largest cities: Portland, Eugene, Salem, the state capital, and the cities of Gresham, Hillsboro and Beaverton in the Portland metropolitan area. Eight of Oregon's ten – and 16 of its 20 – largest cities are located in the Willamette Valley.

Champoeg, Oregon Ghost town in Oregon, United States

Champoeg is a former town in the U.S. state of Oregon. Now a ghost town, it was an important settlement in the Willamette Valley in the early 1840s. Located halfway between Oregon City and Salem, it was the site of the first provisional government of the Oregon Country.

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.

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. [8] On August 14, 1848, Congress passed the Act to Establish the Territorial Government of Oregon, which created what was officially the Territory of Oregon. [8] 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. [8] 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. [9]

Whitman massacre The murder of Marcus and Narcissa Whitman, and 11 other missionaries, in 1847 marked the beginning of the Indian Wars of the Pacific Northwest region of North America.

The Whitman massacre was the murder of Oregon missionaries Marcus Whitman and his wife Narcissa, along with eleven others, on November 30th, 1847. They were killed by members of the Cayuse tribe who accused him of having poisoned 200 Cayuse in his medical care. The incident began the Cayuse War. It took place in southeastern Washington state near the town of Walla Walla, Washington and was one of the most notorious episodes in the U.S. settlement of the Pacific Northwest. Whitman had helped lead the first wagon train to cross Oregon's Blue Mountains and reach the Columbia River via the Oregon Trail, and this incident was the climax of several years of complex interaction between him and the local Indians. The story of the massacre shocked the United States Congress into action concerning the future territorial status of the Oregon Country, and the Oregon Territory was established on August 14, 1848.

United States Congress Legislature of the United States

The United States Congress is the bicameral legislature of the Federal Government of the United States. The legislature consists of two chambers: the House of Representatives and the Senate.

The Oregon Bill of 1848, officially titled when approved, "An Act to Establish the Territorial Government of Oregon," was an act of Congress to turn Oregon into an official U.S. Territory. The bill was passed on August 14, 1848. It was enacted by the 30th United States Congress, and signed by President James K. Polk. The bill came into question several years after the Oregon Treaty. For two years following that treaty, the United States paid little attention to it until news of the Whitman massacre reached Congress. This provided the impetus to formally establish the Territorial Government of Oregon. The Act created a territory that encompassed present-day Idaho, Oregon, and Washington; as well as parts of Montana and Wyoming.

Government

The territorial government consisted of a governor, a marshal, a secretary, an attorney, and a three-judge supreme court. [8] Judges on the court also sat as trial level judges as they rode circuit across the territory. [8] All of these offices were filled by appointment by the President of the United States. [8] 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. [8]

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. [10] 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. [10] 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. [10]

Gaining statehood

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. [11] In 1853, 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. [12] 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. [13]

On February 14, 1859, the territory entered the Union as the U.S. state of Oregon within its current boundaries. [13] The remaining eastern portion of the territory (the portions in present-day southern Idaho and western Wyoming) was added to the Washington Territory.

Territorial evolution of Oregon

See also

Related Research Articles

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.

Wyoming Territory territory of the USA between 1868-1890

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.

Idaho Territory territory of the USA between 1863–1890

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.

Montana Territory territory of the USA between 1864-1889

The Territory of Montana was an organized incorporated territory of the United States that existed from May 26, 1864, until November 8, 1889, when it was admitted as the 41st state in the Union as the state of Montana.

Nebraska Territory territory of the USA between 1854-1867

The Territory of Nebraska was an organized incorporated territory of the United States that existed from May 30, 1854, until March 1, 1867, when the final extent of the territory was admitted to the Union as the State of Nebraska. The Nebraska Territory was created by the Kansas–Nebraska Act of 1854. The territorial capital was Omaha. The territory encompassed areas of what is today Nebraska, Wyoming, South Dakota, North Dakota, Colorado, and Montana.

District of Louisiana territory of the USA between 1804-1805

The District of Louisiana, or Louisiana District, was an official, temporary, United States government designation for the portion of the Louisiana Purchase that had not been organized into the Orleans Territory. It officially existed from March 10, 1804, until July 4, 1805, when it was incorporated as the Louisiana Territory.

Missouri Territory territory of the USA between 1812-1820

The Territory of Missouri was an organized incorporated territory of the United States that existed from June 4, 1812 until August 10, 1821. In 1819, the Territory of Arkansas was created from a portion of its southern area. In 1821, a southeastern portion of the territory was admitted to the Union as the State of Missouri, and the rest became unorganized territory for several years.

Historic regions of the United States Wikimedia list article

This is a list of historic regions of the United States that existed at some time during the territorial evolution of the United States and its overseas possessions, from the colonial era to the present day. It includes formally organized territories, proposed and failed states, unrecognized breakaway states, international and interstate purchases, cessions, and land grants, and historical military departments and administrative districts. The last section lists informal regions from American vernacular geography known by popular nicknames and linked by geographical, cultural, or economic similarities, some of which are still in use today.

Northwestern United States geographical region of the United States

The Northwestern United States 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.

Lincoln (proposed Northwestern state)

Lincoln is the name for several proposals to create a new state in the Northwest United States. The proposed State has been defined in multiple ways, but can generally be said to be coterminous with the region known as the Inland Northwest. The proposed state was named in honor of Abraham Lincoln, who was President during the American Civil War. His name was also proposed for the states that were eventually named North Dakota and Wyoming.

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.

Provisional Government 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."

Oregon Territorial Legislature

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.

Index of Wyoming-related articles

The following is an alphabetical list of articles related to the U.S. state of Wyoming.

Outline of Wyoming Overview of and topical guide to Wyoming

The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to the U.S. state of Wyoming:

Outline of Wyoming territorial evolution Overview of and topical guide to Wyoming territorial evolution

The following outline traces the territorial evolution of the U.S. State of Wyoming.

Territorial evolution of Montana

The following timeline traces the territorial evolution of the U.S. State of Montana.

Territorial evolution of Idaho

The following timeline traces the territorial evolution of the U.S. State of Idaho.

Territorial evolution of North America since 1763

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.

References

  1. Howard M. Corning, ed. (1989). Dictionary of Oregon History. Binfords & Mort Publishing. p. 110.
  2. Horner, John B. (1919). Oregon: Her History, Her Great Men, Her Literature. The J.K. Gill Co.: Portland. pp. 28–29.
  3. Horner, pp. 53–59.
  4. 1 2 Corning, p. 129.
  5. 1 2 Horner, pp. 60–64.
  6. Corning, p. 186.
  7. 1 2 3 Corning, p. 206.
  8. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Corning, p. 240.
  9. Writers' Program of the Work Projects Administration in the State of Oregon (1940). Oregon: End of the Trail. American Guide Series. Portland, Oregon: Binfords & Mort. p. 191. OCLC   4874569.
  10. 1 2 3 Hubert Howe Bancroft, The Works of Hubert Howe Bancroft: Volume 29: History of Oregon: Volume 1, 1834-1848. San Francisco, CA: The History Company, 1886; pg. 540.
  11. Horner, p. 162.
  12. Horner, p. 153.
  13. 1 2 Horner, p. 166.

Coordinates: 45°30′N117°00′W / 45.5°N 117°W / 45.5; -117