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Portland History

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Historical Timeline of Oregon

  • 1543
    Spanish explorer Bartolome Ferrello travels along the Oregon and Washington coastlines
  • 1775
    Bruno Heceta discovers the Columbia River
  • 1778
    Englishman Captain James Cook explores the coastal areas
  • 1778
    U.S. Captain Robert Gray is the first man to traverse and survey the Columbia River
  • 1805
    Lewis and Clark expedition arrives at the Pacific Coast after a journey down the Snake and Columbia Rivers
  • 1811
    John Jacob Astor's Pacific Fur Company establishes Fort Astoria, the first permanent white settlement in the state
  • 1834
    The Hudson Bay Company takes control of Fort Astoria
  • 1846
    Thousands of settlers begin to arrive from the east, along the rigorous Oregon Trail
  • 1848
    Oregon Territory is established
  • 1859
    Oregon becomes the 33rd state
  • 1877
    Chief Joseph and the Nez Perce people are forced out of their traditional Oregon home
  • 1883
    The Transcontinental Railroad helps connect Portland to the east
  • 1911
    Oregon becomes the first U.S. state to hold primary elections
  • 1937
    The Bonneville Dam hydroelectric project on the Columbia River is completed
  • 1942
    A solitary Japanese submarine shells Fort Stevens during World War II
  • 1961
    Oregon elects Maurine Neuberger as its first woman senator
  • 1966
    Oregon and Washington are linked by the completion of the Astoria Bridge
  • 1991
    Barbara Roberts becomes Oregon's first woman governor
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