The U.S. State of Oregon was admitted as the 33rd state of the union on February 14th, 1859. Like much of North America, the area comprising modern day Oregon was home to several ancient indigenous societies for several thousands of years prior to European exploration of the land. There is evidence of indigenous civilization in the region dating back to at least 15,000 years ago. However, by the 16th century, Oregon was home to several Native American nations including the Chinook, Bannock, and Shasta, to name a few.
Among the first Europeans to explore modern day Oregon were Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo, a Spanish explorer, and Francis Drake, who sailed through Nehalem Bay, both in the mid to late 1500’s. While various trade routes and trading posts were established in the region during the 18th and 19th centuries, the land went officially unclaimed. However, by 1818, the British and Americans agreed on joint control of the land west of the Rocky Mountains, the area of which comprises modern day Oregon. By the 1830’s, the area was highly disputed between the British, the French, and American settlers.
Following the Oregon Trail, large numbers of Americans made their way to the area and as its population grew, so did the uncertainty of who was actually claiming the land. In 1846, the Oregon Treaty was signed that officially and peacefully established borders between the British Columbia region, and the soon to be formed American-owned Oregon Territory, which was recognized two years later. Over ten a decade went by before Oregon was eligible for statehood, they applied and were formally admitted as the 33rd state of the union on February 14th, 1859.
In the late 1880’s the expansion of the railroad helped to spur growth in population and Oregon’s already successful lumber and agriculture industries. Portland, Oregon quickly became a booming city before the turn of the century.
The state of Oregon ranks 9th among the fifty states in terms of land area and 27th in terms of population. In 2016, the United States Census Bureau estimated the population of Oregon to be 4,093,465. The capital city of Salem is dwarfed by the massive coastal city of Portland, Oregon, which is home to upwards of 600,000 people.
The vast forests of the Pacific Northwest have contributed greatly to the economy of Oregon. Oregon’s lumber industry has been a backbone of its economy since its official admission to the union. In addition, its geographical location along the Pacific Ocean coast has given it the opportunity to establish one of the largest salmon fishing industries in the world. In addition, Oregon relies largely on its tourism industry for economic growth. Aside from the array of natural geographical features such as mountains, rivers, waterfalls, forests, and beaches, Oregon offers numerous destinations to appeal to every kind of interest.
From Crater Lake National Park and the Oregon Caves National Monument and Preserve, to Mount Hood and Mount Bachelor, the beauty of the natural world is clear in Oregon. Portland is home to the Portland Art Museum and the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry. For those visitors who would prefer to explore Portland’s culture, they can find some of the best street food in the world, which Portland has been recognized for by several publications.