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Prior to the arrival of Europeans, Oregon was inhabited by Native American peoples including the Bannock, Chinook, Klamath and Nez Perce.
The British navigator, James Cook, explored the Oregon coast in 1778 while searching for the Northwest Passage. The Lewis and Clark Expedition traveled throught the region (1805 to 1806), as did Britain's David Thompson (1811). As a result, the abundance of fur-bearing animals in the region became known, and in 1811 the Pacific Fur Company established Fort Astoria at the mouth of the Columbia River, which was the first permanent European settlement in the area.
During the War of 1812, the British took control of the Pacific Fur Company outposts. And for the next two decades, the British Hudson Bay Company dominated the region, and established Fort Vancouver in 1825.
The establishment of the Oregon trail brought new settlers to the region, and for a period it seemed that Britain and the United States would go to war, until the 1846 Oregon Treaty set the boundary between the United States and British North America (which later became Canada at the 49th parallel.
European settlement increased following the Donation Land Claim Act of 1850 (which gave free land to white immigrants into the Oregon Territory), and the forceable resettlement of Native Americans into Indian Reservations. Oregon was admitted as the 33rd state of the Union on February 14th 1859.
In the 1880s, the arrival or railroads brough further settlement as well as new economic opportunties. The state began industrializing following the construction of the Bonneville Dam on the Columbia River (1943).
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