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Echoes of Oregon History Learning Guide

Chronology of Events, 1543-1859


Captain Robert Gray at the mouth of the Columbia River in 1792 (Oregon State Capitol mural).

Captain Robert Gray at the mouth of the Columbia River in 1792 (Oregon State Capitol mural).


 

1543
Spanish explorers sight the Oregon Coast north of the forty-second parallel near the Rogue River.

1765
British Major Robert Rogers uses the name "Ouragon" in a proposal to explore the country west of the Mississippi.

1778
British Captain James Cook trades along the Oregon Coast. Publication of his journals about these voyages spurs great interest in future trade.

1792
American sea captain Robert Gray and British explorer George Vancouver arrive at the mouth of the Columbia River on separate voyages of discovery. Gray names the river after his ship, "Columbia Rediviva."

1793
Alexander McKenzie leads an expedition over the Canadian Rockies to the Pacific.

1805
Sent by President Thomas Jefferson, the Lewis and Clark Expedition reaches the mouth of the Columbia River.

1811
British trader and explorer David Thompson completes a survey of the Columbia River. The Pacific Fur Company, founded by American financier John Jacob Astor, establishes a string of trading posts along the lower Columbia.

1813
British interests take control of Fort Astoria and rename it Fort George.

1814
Jane Barnes becomes the first woman to land in Oregon.

1818
The United States and Great Britain agree on "joint occupancy" for the Oregon Country.

1819
The Adams-Onis Treaty establishes the 42nd parallel as the southern boundary of the Oregon Country.

1821
The Hudson's Bay Company acquires a fur monopoly for all of British North America after merging with the North West Company.

1822
Dr. John Floyd urges Congress to look into settling the "Origon" territory, marking the first American use of the name.

1825
John McLoughlin, Chief Factor of the Columbia District for the Hudson's Bay Company, constructs Fort Vancouver on the north bank of the Columbia and uses it as his headquarters.

1827
The United States and Great Britain renew the terms of the 1818 "joint occupancy" agreement for the Oregon Country.

1829
Hall Jackson Kelley organizes the "American Society for Encouraging the Settlement of the Oregon Territory."

1830
Epidemics strike the Oregon Indians, killing thousands along the Columbia and Willamette Rivers.

1831
Three Nez Perce and one Flathead Indian travel to St. Louis reportedly seeking knowledge of Christianity.

1832
Nathaniel Wyeth leads an American colonizing expedition overland to the Columbia but the venture fails.

1834
Separate expeditions, led by Wyeth and Kelley, arrive at Fort Vancouver. Methodist missionaries Jason and Daniel Lee accompany Wyeth to Fort Vancover and establish a mission ten miles north of present day Salem.

1836
Marcus and Narcissa Whitman and other missionaries establish missions among the Indians. Mrs Whitman and the other missionary wives become the first white women to cross the Continental Divide. On orders from President Andrew Jackson, Lieutenant William Slacum arrives to report on conditions in Oregon.

1837
The Willamette Cattle Company is formed marking the first cooperative venture among Oregon settlers.

1838
Jason Lee delivers a petition to Congress asking for legislation securing title to lands that settlers occupy and for the extension of the laws of the United States over the Oregon Country. Fathers Francois Blanchet and Modeste Demers, Catholic missionaries, arrive in Oregon.

1840
Parties of Americans from California and Illinois, and reinforcements to the Methodist mission, arrive in the Willamette Valley.

1841
Ewing Young's death and the need to probate his estate prompt some American settlers to attempt to establish a provisional government. Three meetings are held at Champoeg but because French Canadians refuse to participate, no government is established.

1842
John McLoughlin plats his land claim and names it Oregon City.

1843
Settlers meet to deal with the menace of wild animals. The "Wolf Meetings" lead to the Drafting of a constitution and the formation of Oregon's first government.

1844
Acts to prohibit slavery and to exclude blacks and mulattoes from Oregon are passed.

1845
The Hudson's Bay Company officially recognizes the provisional government. The executive committee is reorganized and changes are made to allow British participation in the government. Two thousand settlers now reside in the Willamette Valley.

1846
The United States and Great Britain agree to divide the Oregon country at the forty-ninth parallel. Hudson's Bay Company headquarters are moved from Fort Vancouver to Fort Victoria on Vancouver Island. John McLoughlin resigns his position as Chief Factor and moves to Oregon City. The Applegate Trail is established off of the Oregon Trail. The "Oregon Spectator" begins publication.

1847
The Whitmans and twelve others are killed by the Cayuse Indians at the Waiilatpu Mission.

1848
The Oregon Country is made a United States territory.

1849
The territorial government convenes in Oregon City.

1850
More settlers move to the Oregon Territory and Indian-white hostilities increase as results of the passage of the "Donation Land Law." Congress provides for the renegotiation of treaties with the Indians of the territory. Gold is discovered in the Rogue River Valley leading to the establishment of cities and towns in Southern Oregon. Five Indians are sentenced to hang for the "Whitman Massacre."

1853
Washington Territory is created from land north of the Columbia River. Willamette University is chartered. A treaty is made creating the Oregon Territory's first Indian Reservation at Table Rock.

1854
Congress authorizes making treaties, whenever necessary, with the Indians in the Oregon Territory.

1857
A convention is held in Salem to write a state constitution. Voters overwhelmingly approve the document that fall.

1859
Congress admits Oregon as the thirty-third state on February 14.

Oregon Secretary of State • 136 State Capitol • Salem, OR 97310-0722
Phone: (503) 986-1523 • Fax: (503) 986-1616 • oregon.sos@state.or.us

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