Oregon History Timeline

By | May 12, 2022

People arriving over the Bering Strait from Mongolia about 13,000 years ago first inhabited the Pacific Northwest. Spanish and British sailors are believed to have sighted the Oregon coast as early as the 1500s. It is estimated that there were 125 distinct Northwestern tribes in the area at the time.

In 1775, Spanish captain Don Bruno de Eceta sailed from Mexico all the way to the Canadian border, subsequently claiming all the lands he had visited for Spain. In 1790 Spain opened this huge territory to fishers and explorers from other countries, mainly Great Britain and the United States. British Captain James Cook charted part of the coastline in 1778 looking for a water route (Northwest Passage) that would connect the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.

American Captain John Gray discovered the Columbia Estuary in 1792 and named it after his ship. He established a trade in sea otter skin. President Thomas Jefferson sent Lewis and Clark overland to search for the Northwest Passage, and although they found the passage did not exist, they laid claim to the territory. Their expedition, along with Captain Gray’s explorations, gave the United States a large share of the land.

The British Hudson’s Bay Colony established the first regional economy based on the fur trade. The first capital of the Oregon Territory was built in Oregon City at the northern end of the Willamette Valley. John Jacob Astor established his fur warehouse in Astoria in 1811. European the fashion of beaver hats fueled trapping and trading activity in Oregon and nearly devastated the beaver population.

In 1819 Spain ceded their earlier claims on this land to the United States, although the British disputed it and the area existed for several decades under disputed joint control.

  • Topschoolsintheusa: Guides to study in Oregon, including geography, climate, economy, and tourism of the state.
  • A2zcamerablog: Offers general information about Oregon, covering history, population, economy and county list.
  • Campingship: State outline of Oregon, including geography location, state capital, brief history and a list of largest counties by area.

The Oregon Trail: A New Frontier

With the opening of the Oregon Trail in 1841, pioneers settled in the fertile Willamette Valley. Gold discoveries in the high country and along the coast led to further settlement. However, these caused tragic wars with the Native Americans, which ended with the Indian surrender of all their lands.

The settlers met in 1843 to address the threat of wild animals. These “Wolf Meetings” led to the drafting of the constitution and the formation of Oregon’s first government, which included both American and British participation.

Oregon timeline

1500s – 1700s

  • (1543) Spanish explorer Bartolome Ferrello traveled along the Oregon and Washington coastlines
  • (1579) Sir Francis Drake visited Oregon
  • (1765) First use of the name “Ouragon” by Mage by Robert Rogers
  • (1778) Captain Cook started the fur trade on the coast
  • (1792) Captain Robert Gray traveled and named Columbia


  • (1805) Lewis and Clark Expedition explored the Serpent and Columbia rivers; established Clatsop fort
  • (1811) John Jacob Astor’s Pacific Fur Company established Fort Astoria, first permanent white settlement in Oregon
  • (1818) American and British agreed to an Agreement of Joint Occupation
  • (1819) Treaty with Spain established Oregon’s southern border
  • (1827) Second agreement of Joint Occupation with a large Britian
  • (1843) First group of 900 emigrants arrived via the Oregon Trail
  • (1847) Cayuse Indian War; Whitman massacre
  • (1848) Oregon Territory established
  • (1859) Oregon became 33rd state
  • (1861) Albany flood, water 36 feet higher than normal
  • (1869) Union and Central Pacific Railroads merged
  • (1872) Modoc Indian War
  • (1873) Great fire in Portland destroyed much of the city
  • (1877) Nez Persa Indiana War
  • (1878) Indian Pone-Paiute War
  • (1885) Chief Joseph’s Nez Persian Tribes relocated to Colville Reservation


  • (1911) Oregon first S. state to hold a primary
  • (1933) Tillamook burn destroyed over 240,000 acres of forest
  • (1935) Fire up the ruined Capitol building
  • (1936) Fire in Bandon killed eleven and destroyed the city
  • (1937) Bonneville Dam hydroelectric project on Columbia completed
  • (1939) Tillamook burn destroyed 190,000 acres of forest; rebuild the completed Capitol
  • (1942) Japanese submarine shelling Fort Steves during World War II; Japanese plane firebombing Siskiyou National Forest
  • (1945) Tillamook burn destroyed 180,000 acres of forest
  • (1947) Plane crash killed Gov. Snell, Secretary of State, Farrell and others
  • (1960) Maurine Neuberger, first female Oregon senator elected
  • (1964) Death penalty abolished
  • (1966) Astoria Bridge completed connecting Oregon and Washington
  • (1978) Capital punishment restored
  • (1984) Voters ratified the Oregon Lottery
  • (1991) Barbara Roberts elected, first female governor


  • (2002) Record wildfire season burned 1,000,000 acres
  • (2004) Attorney Brandon Mayfield arrested by the FBI in connection with the March terrorist attacks in Madrid; Archdiocese of Portland first in the US to file for bankruptcy fails to cover costs for claims of people allegedly abused by priests
  • (2006) US Supreme Court upholds law allowing doctors in Oregon to help terminally ill patients die
  • (2010) 19 year old Somali held for allegedly plotting a car bombing in downtown Portland
  • (2011) Former Native American students at Jesuit schools awarded settlements for abuse
  • (2011) Take Blocked Protesters Work on Three of the Port of Portland Terminals
  • (2012) After 94 years, the Oregon Ducks won the Rose Bowl


Tulsa, Oklahoma, is the state’s cultural center and center for the arts.┬áLocated to the northeast of Oklahoma City and nestled on the Arkansas River in the foothills of the Ozark Mountains, Tulsa is a combination of Old West charm and a modern, cosmopolitan atmosphere.

Voted one of “America’s Most Affordable Big Cities”, it rivals Miami Beach for the largest concentration of art deco architecture in the US.
Tulsa has a wide variety of world class museums including the Philbrook Museum and the Aerospace Museum. In addition, it is home to numerous performing arts venues, annual festivals and a growing collection of attractive public monuments and sculptures.

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  • Here is another one. It’s against the law to bring an elephant into downtown Tulsa.
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Aerospace Museum The Tulsa Aerospace Museum allows visitors to explore over 19,000 square feet of exhibits highlighting Tulsa’s aviation history. From vintage aircraft to a full dome planetarium, the museum offers hands-on activities, educational and entertaining shows, collections of photographs and documents, World War II exhibits, and an exhibition of Pearl Harbor┬ásurvivors. BOK Center The BOK Center, or Bank of Oklahoma Center, is a 19,999-seat grand arena and main indoor sports arena and event venue. Designed to accommodate a host of concerts, hockey games, arena football and basketball games, the Center is the pride of this Formerly State City.Big musical names have already graced Tulsa’s sleek downtown downtown area with their presence, including The Eagles, Celine Dion and Elton John, with many more on the way.

Tulsa Raceway
Park Tulsa Raceway Park is a quarter-mile IHRA drag strip located on the site of the old Tulsa International Canal.
Hailing anyone who loves drag racing and racing in general, Tulsa Raceway Park is home to numerous high stakes, high profile auto events.
Featuring a 10,000 fan seating capacity, 10 organization lane and Musco designed track, this track is sure to get an adrenaline rush! Sooners are dedicated race fans, and all visiting race enthusiasts will feel right at home during their Oklahoma vacations by visiting this break roaring, professional track.

Oregon History