Oregon History - the history of Oregon
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Vacation 2 USA   >   Oregon   >   History
Vacation 2 USA   >   History   >   Oregon History


Oregon History

Prior to the arrival of Europeans, Oregon was inhabited by Native American peoples including the Bannock, Chinook, Klamath and Nez Perce.

The British navigator, James Cook, explored the Oregon coast in 1778 while searching for the Northwest Passage. The Lewis and Clark Expedition traveled throught the region (1805 to 1806), as did Britain's David Thompson (1811). As a result, the abundance of fur-bearing animals in the region became known, and in 1811 the Pacific Fur Company established Fort Astoria at the mouth of the Columbia River, which was the first permanent European settlement in the area.

During the War of 1812, the British took control of the Pacific Fur Company outposts. And for the next two decades, the British Hudson Bay Company dominated the region, and established Fort Vancouver in 1825.

The establishment of the Oregon trail brought new settlers to the region, and for a period it seemed that Britain and the United States would go to war, until the 1846 Oregon Treaty set the boundary between the United States and British North America (which later became Canada at the 49th parallel.

European settlement increased following the Donation Land Claim Act of 1850 (which gave free land to white immigrants into the Oregon Territory), and the forceable resettlement of Native Americans into Indian Reservations. Oregon was admitted as the 33rd state of the Union on February 14th 1859.

In the 1880s, the arrival or railroads brough further settlement as well as new economic opportunties. The state began industrializing following the construction of the Bonneville Dam on the Columbia River (1943).

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The Oregon Trail: A New American Journey

By Rinker Buck

Simon Schuster
Released: 2016-06-07
Paperback (464 pages)

The Oregon Trail: A New American Journey
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  • Simon Schuster
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#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • #1 Indie Next Pick • Winner of the PEN New England Award

“Enchanting…A book filled with so much love…Long before Oregon, Rinker Buck has convinced us that the best way to see America is from the seat of a covered wagon.” —The Wall Street Journal

“Amazing…A real nonfiction thriller.” —Ian Frazier, The New York Review of Books

“Absorbing…Winning…The many layers in The Oregon Trail are linked by Mr. Buck’s voice, which is alert and unpretentious in a manner that put me in mind of Bill Bryson’s comic tone in A Walk in the Woods.” —Dwight Garner, The New York Times

A major bestseller that has been hailed as a “quintessential American story” (Christian Science Monitor), Rinker Buck’s The Oregon Trail is an epic account of traveling the 2,000-mile length of the Oregon Trail the old-fashioned way—in a covered wagon with a team of mules—that has captivated readers, critics, and booksellers from coast to coast. Simultaneously a majestic journey across the West, a significant work of history, and a moving personal saga, Buck’s chronicle is a “laugh-out-loud masterpiece” (Willamette Week) that “so ensnares the emotions it becomes a tear-jerker at its close” (Star Tribune, Minneapolis) and “will leave you daydreaming and hungry to see this land” (The Boston Globe).

Oregon's Promise: An Interpretive History

By David Peterson del Mar

Brand: Oregon State University Press
Paperback (320 pages)

Oregon s Promise: An Interpretive History
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The first history of Oregon to appear in twenty-five years, "Oregon's Promise explores familiar and neglected people and movements in the state's history, while challenging readers to view Oregon's past, present, and future in a new way. David Peterson del Mar recognizes that the words "Oregon history" conjure up images of Lewis and Clark and rugged pioneers. But he argues that the explorers' impact was both different from and less significant then commonly assumed, and that the state's settlers were much more varied, contentious, complicated, and interesting than conventional heroic stereotypes would suggest. "Oregon's Promise is a concise general history spanning the period from that of the region's earliest inhabitants to the present. It moves beyond the more familiar episodes of Oregon history to discuss indigenous peoples before and after contact with whites, the profound and evolving impact of broad forces like industrialization and suburbanization, and the varied fortunes of a growing stream of people form across the world who have sought the good life in Oregon. It explores the tensions behind contemporary disagreements rending our political, social, and cultural fabric. The book's many themes revolve around Peterson del Mar's consideration of how Oregonians have attempted to build a prosperous and just society. He examines both the traditional center of Oregon history and its often overlooked margins--the people who have struggled to be included in Oregon's promise. Each chapter includes brief biographies of noteworthy Oregonians. David Peterson del Mar is both a respected historian and an engaging writer, with a talent for explaining Oregon's past in a way that will appeal togeneral readers as well as to scholars and students.

Oregon: A History

By Gordon B. Dodds

W. W. Norton & Company
Paperback (272 pages)

Oregon: A History
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To many Americans, Oregon is an idyllic, fruitful garden on the northwestern shore of a troubled urban nation. But, as author Gordon B. Dodds explains in this thoughtful history, behind that image lies the story of a state that has retained many of the conservative values of its first settlers while accommodating the forces of national development.

Generations of Oregonians have searched out and found a moderate path where quiet competence, self-restraint, loyalty, and trust have been the greatest virtues. Today, Oregonians can be proud that other Americans look to their state "for inspiration in responsible government, civil personal relationships, and respect for the natural world." Whether they look with nostalgia or anticipation, the future will judge. 

Pioneer Days of Oregon History: All Volumes

By S.A. Clarke

CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
Paperback (596 pages)

Pioneer Days of Oregon History: All Volumes
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The westward movement of Americans in the 19th century was one of the largest and most consequential migrations in history, and among the paths that blazed west, the most well-known is the Oregon Trail, which was not a single trail but a network of paths that began at one of four “jumping off” points. The eastern section of the Oregon Trail, which followed the Missouri River through Kansas, Nebraska, and Wyoming, was shared by people traveling along the California, Bozeman, and Mormon Trails. These trails branched off at various points, and the California Trail diverged from the Oregon Trail at Fort Hall in southern Idaho. From there, the Oregon Trail moved northward, along the Snake River, then through the Blue Mountains to Fort Walla Walla. From there, travelers would cross the prairie before reaching the Methodist mission at The Dalles, which roughly marked the end of the Trail. The Trail stretched roughly half the country, and hundreds of thousands of settlers would use it, yet the Oregon Trail is famous not so much for its physical dimensions but for what it represented. As many who used the Oregon Trail described in memoirs, the West represented opportunities for adventure, independence, and fortune, and fittingly, the ever popular game named after the Oregon Trail captures that mentality and spirit by requiring players to safely move a party west to the end of the trail. Perhaps most famously, the game that helped popularize current generations’ interest in the Oregon Trail highlighted the obstacles the pioneers faced in moving West. Indeed, as all too many settlers discovered, traveling along the Trail was fraught with various kinds of obstacles and danger, including bitter weather, potentially deadly illnesses, and hostile Native Americans, not to mention an unforgiving landscape that famous American explorer Stephen Long deemed “unfit for human habitation.” And while many would look back romantically at the Oregon Trail over time, 19th century Americans were all too happy and eager for the transcontinental railroad to help speed their passage west and render overland paths like the Oregon Trail obsolete. From the preface: “A FEW words will explain the conformation of the region known, from the earliest time, when the far Northwest had a history, as Oregon. It embraced all the territory of the United States north of the 42° of latitude, and west of the Rocky Mountains. This region is naturally divided by the Cascade Range, that is a continuation of the Sierra Nevadas of California, reaching to the Arctic Circle. Their summits average about an hundred miles from the ocean, presenting a barrier that retains to the coast valleys the warm breath of the ocean currents of the Pacific, also holds back the colder conditions that prevail in the Inland Empire, to the eastward. East of the Cascades much of the country is arid, or semi-arid, with fertile valleys that are immensely productive, producing to-day the tens of millions of bushels of wheat that the Inland Empire sends to the world’s markets. There are also extensive ranges—too dry for cultivation—where graze the immense flocks and herds that form the wealth of that region.”

Hidden History of Portland, Oregon (Hidden History)

By JD Chandler

Arcadia Publishing
Released: 2013-11-12
Paperback (192 pages)

Hidden History of Portland, Oregon (Hidden History)
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In this engaging narrative, author JD Chandler crafts a people's history of Portland, Oregon, sharing the lesser-known stories of individuals who stood against the tide and fought for liberty and representation: C.E.S. Wood, who documented the conflict between Native Americans and the United States Army; Beatrice Morrow Cannady, founding member of the Portland NAACP and first African American woman to practice law in Oregon; women's rights advocate Dr. Marie Equi, who performed abortions and was an open lesbian; and student athlete Jack Yoshihara, who, in the wake of Pearl Harbor, was barred from participating in the 1942 Rose Bowl. From scandal and oppression to injustice and the brink of revolution, join Chandler as he gives voice to the Rose City's quiet radicals and outspoken activists.

In Search of Ancient Oregon: A Geological and Natural History

By Ellen Morris Bishop

Brand: Timber Press
Paperback (288 pages)

In Search of Ancient Oregon: A Geological and Natural History
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Geology is an extremely visual subject, and In Search of Ancient Oregon is a beautifully photographed, expertly written account of Oregon's fascinating geological story. Written by a passionate and professional geologist who has spent countless hours in the field exploring and photographing the state, In Search of Ancient Oregon is a book for all those interested in Oregon's landscapes and environments. It presents fine-art-quality color photographs of well-known features such as Mount Hood, Crater Lake, Smith Rock, Steens Mountain, the Columbia River Gorge, and Cannon Beach, and scenic, not so well known places such as Jordan Craters, Leslie Gulch, Abert Rim, Hells Canyon, Elkhorn Mountains, and Three Fingered Jack. Each of the more than 220 stunning photographs is accompanied by readable text, presenting the story of how Oregon's diverse landscapes evolved --- and what we may expect in the future. Until now, no book has presented this dynamic story in a way that everyone interested in Oregon's natural history can easily understand. The combination of extraordinary photographs and the author's lucid explanations make this book both unique and essential for those curious about our own contemporary landscape.

Hiking Oregon's History : The Stories Behind Historic Places You Can Walk to See

By William L Sullivan

Brand: Navillus Press
Paperback (320 pages)

Hiking Oregon s History : The Stories Behind Historic Places You Can Walk to See
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Recounted in a fresh style that's fun for armchair travelers and hikers alike, this guidebook tells the stories behind 56 of Oregon's most scenic historic sites. Come follow Lewis and Clark's trail across Tillamook Head. Ride with Chief Joseph on his tragic retrat through Hells Canyon. Discover paths to fire lookouts, lighthouses, and abandoned gold mines. Relive legends, discoveries, scandals, and triumphs that rocked the West. Come hike Oregon's history!

Roadside History of Oregon (Roadside History (Paperback))

By Bill Gulick

Brand: Mountain
Released: 1991-06-01
Paperback (430 pages)

Roadside History of Oregon (Roadside History (Paperback))
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Join the excitement of discovery in Oregon--from its high desert plateau and majestic mountain peaks to its storm-wracked coast and the depths of the Columbia Gorge. The stirring, colorful stories of Oregon's empire builders are told here with skill and style by a man who has spent a lifetime writing about the Pacific Northwest.

Muller v. Oregon: A Brief History with Documents (Bedford Series in History & Culture (Paperback))

By Nancy Woloch

Nancy Woloch
Paperback (206 pages)

Muller v. Oregon: A Brief History with Documents (Bedford Series in History & Culture (Paperback))
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  • Muller v Oregon A Brief History with Documents
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In 1908 the Supreme Court unanimously upheld an Oregon law that set a ten-hour limit on the workdays of women in factories and laundries. Using lawyers' briefs, arguments over single-sex protective laws, and other major court decisions, Nancy Woloch examines a moment in which constitutional history, women's history, and progressive politics converged.

The Oregon Trail: An Interactive History Adventure (You Choose: History)

By Matt Doeden

Matt Doeden
Paperback (112 pages)

The Oregon Trail: An Interactive History Adventure (You Choose: History)
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  • The Oregon Trail
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You’re living in the United States during the time of the Westward Expansion. Settlers are heading west on the Oregon Trail as they seek better lives. Will you: Go west with your family as part of a wagon train? Serve as a trail guide for a group of settlers? Try to cope with the changes in your way of life as a western American Indian? Everything in this book happened to real people. And YOU CHOOSE what you do next. The choices you make could lead you to opportunity, to wealth, to poverty, or even to death.

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