The state of Oregon recently celebrated its 155th birthday on February 14. At Woodburn Pediatric, we believe that history for children can be both fun and rewarding. In honor of its birthday, we compiled this easy-to-understand history of Oregon for kids full of interesting facts and important dates. Share it with your child to help him or her learn more about the state’s rich history.
In 1792, Captain Robert Gray (1755–1806) discovered the largest river in Oregon and named it the Columbia after his ship. He claimed the area for the United States. However, this would not have much of an impact until America gained full ownership of the land.
In the year 1809, President Jefferson commissioned Meriwether Lewis and William Clark of the Lewis and Clark Expedition to search for the Northwest Passage. Helped by a team of men, Lewis and Clark focused on exploring the Columbia River, studying the Indian tribes, plant-life, animals, and geology along the way. Many areas of interest in modern-day Oregon are named in honor of Lewis and Clark, such as the Lewis and Clark National Historical Park.
As a result of the Treaty of 1818, England and America both shared ownership of what is now Oregon. However, the Hudson’s Bay Company, a British fur trading business, dominated the area. In the year 1842, American settlers began to arrive by wagon through the Oregon Trail. Hudson’s Bay Company discouraged settlement in the Oregon territory out of fear of encountering interruptions in its profitable business.
Becoming a State
For many years, people feared that America and England would go to war over ownership of the Oregon area. Fortunately, the Oregon Treaty was created in 1846 which clearly defined land borders for America and England. As a result, the Oregon Territory was organized and America gained full ownership over it. Oregon officially became the 33rd state of the United States of America on February 14, 1859.
Oregon’s capital city is Salem and its largest city is Portland. Historians still can’t agree on the meaning behind the name “Oregon”, though many believe it is related to the French word “Ouragan,” which means “hurricane.” Oregon’s official flag was created in 1925 and remains the only state flag to feature designs on both sides.
History for children can be fun and educational. In addition to teaching your child about Oregon, you can supplement their learning with relevant images, such as the state flag or maps. Check out more helpful educational and health resources for kids. If you have any questions, feel free to contact us.