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The history of Oregon , a U. The history of Oregon, and of the Pacific Northwest , has received little attention from historians, as compared to other regions of the American far west.
Volcanic activity in the region has been traced to 40 million years ago, in the Eocene era, forming much of the region's landscape. In the Pleistocene era the last ice age, two million to , years ago , the Columbia River broke through Cascade Range , forming the Columbia River Gorge. The Columbia River and its drainage basin experienced some of the world's greatest known floods toward the end of the last ice age.
The periodic rupturing of ice dams at Glacial Lake Missoula resulted in discharge rates ten times the combined flow of all the rivers of the world, as many as forty times over a thousand-year period. They also formed many unusual geological features, such as the channeled scablands of eastern Washington. Mount Mazama , once the tallest mountain in the region at 11, feet, had a massive volcanic eruption approximately B.
Helens , reduced Mazama's approximate 11, foot c. Mazama's collapsed caldera , in today's southern Oregon , contains Crater Lake , and the entire mountain is located in Crater Lake National Park.
The Klamath Native Americans of the area thought that the mountain was inhabited by Llao , their god of the underworld. After the mountain destroyed itself the Klamaths recounted the events as a great battle between Llao and his rival Skell, their sky god. The Cascadia earthquake resulted from a rupture at the Cascadia subduction zone along the coast of the Pacific Northwest.
Celilo Falls , a series of rapids on the Columbia River just upstream of present-day The Dalles, Oregon , was a fishing site for natives for several millennia. Native people traveled to Celilo Village from all over the Pacific Northwest and beyond to trade. The rapids were submerged in with the construction of The Dalles Dam. In , Mount St. Helens in nearby Washington erupted violently, temporarily reducing the Columbia River 's depth to as little as 13 feet, and disrupting Portland's economy.
The eruption deposited ash as far into Oregon as Bend. Although there is considerable evidence that Paleo-Indians lived in the Pacific Northwest 15, years ago, the first record of human activity within the boundaries of present-day Oregon came from archaeologist Luther Cressman 's discovery of sage bark sandals near Fort Rock Cave that places human habitation in Oregon as early as 13, years ago. The Natives generally welcomed the arrival of Europeans in the 19th century, for the increased trading opportunities; however, the introduction of foreign diseases would prove devastating to local populations.
Since the late 20th century, the establishment of casinos on reservations where state law does not apply has provided some income to tribes that are generally impoverished. Throughout the governorship of Ted Kulongoski , the Warm Springs Indians have negotiated for the right to build an off-reservation casino in the Columbia River Gorge. The perception of Oregon by early European explorers and settlers varied according to the purpose and method of exploration.
Official explorers came, at first, primarily by sea, in many cases seeking the Northwest Passage , and later over land, but missed many areas of the state now known as Oregon. Fur traders and trappers, initially from the Hudson's Bay Company , explored the land more thoroughly, documenting encounters with most of the local Indian tribes. Christian missionaries, and later immigrants planning to settle permanently in Oregon, sent glowing reports back to their families in the east.
In , Juan de Fuca undertook detailed mapping and studies of ocean currents. Stops along these trips included Oregon as well as the strait now bearing his name.
Soon the coast of Oregon became a valuable trading route to Asia. Spanish explorers found a way to explore the Pacific coast as early as , sending vessels northeast from the Philippines , riding the Kuroshio Current in a sweeping circular route across the northern part of the Pacific.
These ships — in as many years — would typically not land before reaching Cape Mendocino in California , but some landed or wrecked in what is now Oregon.
Nehalem Indian tales recount strangers and the discovery of items like chunks of beeswax and a lidded silver vase, likely connected to the wreck of the San Francisco Xavier. While returning south Heceta found the mouth of the Columbia River , but was unable to enter. Beginning in the late s many ships from Britain, America, and other countries sailed to the Pacific Northwest to engage in the region's emerging Maritime Fur Trade business.
American sea captain Robert Gray entered the Columbia in , and was soon followed by a ship under the command of George Vancouver , a British captain, who also explored Puget Sound and claimed it for Britain. The Lewis and Clark Expedition traveled through the region during their expedition to explore the Louisiana Purchase.
They built their winter fort at Fort Clatsop , near the mouth of the Columbia. Exploration by Lewis and Clark — and the United Kingdom's David Thompson , who extensively explored the Columbia River from —, publicized the abundance of fur-bearing animals in the area. Great Britain and the U. The dispute, friendly at first, escalated into the threat of war before it was resolved amicably in by splitting the region Following the Anglo American Treaty of , the region was "jointly occupied" by the U.
During the s and early s the American West was explored by private trappers who formed fur trading companies originating from St. One of these privateer trappers and explorers was Jedediah Smith who led expeditions into the American West.
Eaton a letter and map containing information that he had gathered from to of his explorations into the Rockies, the South Pass, and Pacific Northwest. Smith recommended that President Jackson terminate the Treaty of that gave the British free rein over the Columbia River , and reported that the Indians favored the British over the Americans. British fur interests tried to block Americans by creating a "fur desert" along the eastern and southern borders by trapping all the animals and leaving nothing for the Americans.
The balance of power shifted in the s as thousands of American settlers arrived, completely dominating the southern half of the disputed region. Joint occupation ended with the signing of the Oregon Treaty in , when Britain and the U.
The Astor Expedition of —, financed by American businessman John Jacob Astor , brought fur traders to the future site of Astoria by both land and sea. Although the fort would remain under American control for only a short time, it would become a component of the United States' later claim on the region. During this time the North West Company put the Astorian scheme into practice, sending supplies by sea to the Columbia River and exporting furs directly to China.
Although fur depletion and a crash in fur prices undermined the company in the early s, it remained an important presence until the Oregon Treaty of In the s, several parties of Americans traveled to Oregon, further establishing the Oregon Trail. Many of these emigrants were missionaries seeking to convert natives to Christianity.
Jason Lee was the first, traveling in Nathaniel Jarvis Wyeth 's party in and establishing the Oregon Mission in the Willamette Valley ; the Whitmans and Spaldings arrived in , establishing the Whitman Mission east of the Cascades.
In the Peoria Party embarked for Oregon from Illinois. In , wealthy master trapper and entrepreneur Ewing Young died without a will , and there was no system to probate his estate. A probate government was proposed at a meeting after Young's funeral. Babcock chaired two meetings in at Champoeg halfway between Lee's mission and Oregon City to discuss wolves and other animals of contemporary concern.
These meetings were precursors to an all-citizen meeting in , which instituted a provisional government headed by an executive committee made up of David Hill , Alanson Beers , and Joseph Gale.
This government was the first acting public government of the Oregon Country before American annexation. The infamous "Lash Law," requiring that blacks in Oregon — be they free or slave — be whipped twice a year "until he or she shall quit the territory," is passed in June It is soon deemed too harsh and its provisions for punishment are reduced to forced labor in December The Oregon Trail brought many new settlers to the region, starting in —, after the United States agreed to jointly settle the Oregon Country with the United Kingdom.
For some time, it seemed the United States and the United Kingdom would go to war for a third time in 75 years see Oregon boundary dispute , but the border was defined peacefully in by the Oregon Treaty. The Oregon Territory was officially organized in Numerous efforts to find easier overland passage to the Willamette Valley were undertaken beginning in the s.
The Barlow Road , Meek Cutoff , and Applegate Trail represented efforts to cross the Cascades in the northern, central, and southern parts of Oregon, respectively. The Barlow Road would become the final leg of the Oregon Trail after its construction in , and the Santiam Wagon Road would cut through the central part of the mountains, succeeding where Meek had failed.
Settlement increased because of the Donation Land Claim Act of , in conjunction with the forced relocation of the native population to Indian reservations. The state was admitted to the Union on February 14, At the outbreak of the American Civil War , regular U.
Volunteer cavalry and infantry were recruited in California and sent north to Oregon to keep peace and protect the populace. Oregon also raised the 1st Oregon Cavalry that was activated in and served until June During the Civil War, immigrants continued to clash with the Paiute , Shoshone and Bannock tribes in Oregon, Idaho and Nevada until relations degenerated into the bloody - Snake War.
The 1st Oregon Volunteer Infantry Regiment was formed in and its last company was mustered out of service in July Both units were used to guard travel routes and Native American reservations, escort immigrant wagon trains, and protect settlers from Native American raiders. Several infantry detachments also accompanied survey parties and built roads in central and southern Oregon. In the s, the proliferation of railroads assisted in marketing of the state's lumber and wheat , as well as the more rapid growth of its cities.
This included the connection of the state to the Eastern United States via links to the transcontinental railroads that allowed for faster movement of goods and people. Immigration to Oregon increased after the connection to the east. Additional transportation improvements included the construction of several locks and canals to ease river navigation. Also in the s, writer Frances Fuller Victor published both fiction and histories that drew on her extensive research of the history of the region, informed by personal interviews with a number of Oregon pioneers.
Her most noted non-fiction, which covered many western states, was written while under contract with Hubert Howe Bancroft 's History Company, and at the time was published under his name. Her writing was said to accurately capture the notion of Manifest Destiny in this period of American expansion. Both the Oregon Territory and the State of Oregon have had multiple laws and policies discriminating against racial minorities.
An territorial statute outlawed slavery but also forced freed slaves to leave the territory  under threat of lashing later hard labor.
Explaining the law, head of Oregon's legislative assembly Peter Burnett said this:. The object is to keep clear of that most troublesome class of population. We are in a new world, under the most favorable circumstances and we wish to avoid most of those evils that have so much afflicted the United States and other countries. The law was repealed the following year before it could take effect.
The law was repealed in An exclusion clause was incorporated into the Oregon constitution in , and stood multiple repeal attempts until finally being repealed by a narrow margin in Although exclusion laws were rarely enforced, they seem to have had the intended results: Industrial expansion began in earnest following the construction of the Bonneville Dam in — on the Columbia River.
The power, food, and lumber provided by Oregon helped fuel the development of the West, although the periodic fluctuations in the nation's building industry have hurt the state's economy on multiple occasions.
The state has a long history of polarizing conflicts: British fur trappers, British vs./p>
See State of Jefferson , Cascadia , and Ecotopia. In , Oregon approved of a system of direct legislation by the state's citizens by way of initiative and referendum , known as the Oregon System, and in also empowered its citizens to recall public officials by ballot initiative. Oregon state ballots often include politically conservative proposals such as anti-gay and pro-religious measures side-by-side with politically liberal issues like drug decriminalization which demonstrates the wide spectrum of political thought in the state.
The historical policies of racial discrimination have had long-term effects on Oregon's population. A report from an Oregon Supreme Court task force found minorities more likely to be arrested, charged, convicted, incarcerated and on probation than "similarly situated non-minorities.
The report recommends multicultural training of the existing justice system personnel and also recommends diversifying the perspectives, backgrounds and demographics of future hires. Media related to History of Oregon at Wikimedia Commons. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Geology of the Pacific Northwest. Native American peoples of Oregon. Marmes Rockshelter and Kennewick Man. Oregon in the American Civil War. Oregon black exclusion laws. Historical outline of Oregon.
Bibliography of Oregon history. Bancroft, Hubert Howe The Slow Road to Rapid Communications, — The Making of Oregon: A Study in Historical Geography. Oregon Historical Society Press. A History of Oregon and Washington. The Forum Press, Inc. Across Time and Terrain in the Pacific Northwest. Empire of the Columbia: A History of the Pacific Northwest. Johnson, Overton; Winter, William H.
A History of Blacks in Oregon, Portland: Gregorian, Marsh, Tom. To the Promised Land: Bonanza of the West. The Caxton Printers, Ltd. The Oregon Story University of Washington Press. Schwantes, Carlos Arnaldo University of Nebraska Press. Historiography [ edit ] Richards, Kent D. The Historiography of Oregon and Washington". Wild in the City. Archived from the original on Archived from the original on September 6, Fire Mountains of the West: The Cascade and Mono Lake Volcanoes.
Mountain Press Publishing Company, Missoula. A study in historical geography. The Oregon Historical Society. Juan Perez Expedition of , HistoryLink. Historical Atlas of the Pacific Northwest: Maps of exploration and Discovery. Pletcher, The Diplomacy of Annexation: University of Oregon Press.
The Episcopal Diocese of Oregon. Archived from the original on June 18, Accessed 8 March Years in Oregon —present. For the rest of his working life he was in the pump game, dealing in the rude, mechanical practicalities of getting water from one place to another. This pragmatic life lasted until the moment in the early s that changed everything. I saw it for 15 seconds. His sighting was typical in that it was fleeting. Most of the solid ones, he says, last for eight to 15 seconds.
He says he tried for a long time afterwards to dismiss what he had seen, and forgetting it is still his recommendation to anyone who spots a Bigfoot for the first time. Your life will be easier. Affirming a public belief in Bigfoot is not easy. He nominates a long list of people whose careers were all but destroyed when they decided to take all of this seriously. Eventually, years after his first sighting, he stumbled across a bookshop in north Portland owned by the leader of the Western Bigfoot Society , and he started attending their meetings.
Soon, he was hooked. Beelart thinks that the people who last longest in the Bigfoot movement are those who, like him, unwillingly experience something they cannot later get out of their heads. Some of them get lucky.
Beelart himself says that one evening in the forest, a Sasquatch stood at the foot of his bed for some 15 minutes. His book is methodical and exhaustive, in the manner of many autodidacts. OR - Eugene Learn about local investing www. Endeavor to make Lane County, OR history appreciated and enjoyed by the public. Children's Museum Interactive children's museum www. Serve a provided nutritional meal to seniors kathyb rrpark.
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