For thousands of years, the Vancouver WA area was home to native people who flourished on the bounty of forest and river.
In May, 1792, American trader/sailor Robert Gray became the first non-native to enter the fabled “Great River of the West,” the Columbia River. Later that year, British Lt. William Broughton, serving under Capt. George Vancouver, explored 100 miles upriver. Along the way, he named a point of land along the shore in honor of his commander.
In 1806, American explorers Meriwether Lewis and William Clark camped near the Vancouver waterfront on the return leg of their famed western expedition. Lewis characterized the area as “the only desired situation for settlement west of the Rocky Mountains.”
In 1825, Dr. John McLoughlin decided to move the northwest headquarters of the Hudson’s Bay Company from Astoria to a more favorable setting upriver. He named the site after Point Vancouver on Broughton’s original map. Fort Vancouver was thus born.
For many years, Fort Vancouver was the center of all fur trading in the Pacific Northwest. It was also a center of British dominion over the Oregon Territory. In 1846, American control was extended north to the 49th parallel. The northwest became part of the United States.
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