A small prehistoric stone knife found here in 2012 has convinced some archaeologists that people have been living here for at least 15,000 years. Much later, Indian tribes, including the Paiute, Nez Perce, Shasta, Tillamook, Chinook, and many others, lived on the land. The Europeans are believed to have arrived in the 1500s. Having reached the region, both Spain and Great Britain declared themselves. In 1803, the United States purchased a huge piece of land as part of the Louisiana Purchase. A year later, President Thomas Jefferson sent American explorers Meriwether Lewis and William Clark to map the newly acquired territory, as well as land beyond, which included the region that is now Oregon.
Beginning in the 1840s, American settlers arrived along the Oregon Trail, over 2,000 miles of wagon travel. (Notes that wagon wheels, called ruts, left in the ground can still be seen today.) Soon there were so many Americans here that European nations gave up their rights to the land, and in 1859 Oregon became the 33rd state. Experts disagree on how Oregon got its name and there are many theories. Some think it may have come from the French word ouragan meaning “hurricane”, a term used by French explorers to describe the state’s super-windy region. Others believe it may have come from the Chinook word ooligan, a type of fish that these Native Americans ate. Oregon was nicknamed the Beaver State because early settlers caught these animals for their fur.
Geography of Oregon
According to itypetravel.com, Oregon is bordered by Washington to the north, Idaho to the east, Nevada and California to the south, and the Pacific Ocean to the west. The earth can be divided into six regions of lowlands, plateaus and mountains. The Columbia Plateau is Oregon’s largest geographic region and covers almost the entire eastern half of the state. Hells Canyon, the deepest river gorge in North America, is here. The depth of the canyon is on average 5,500 feet – almost five Eiffel Towers can fit inside! South of the Columbian Plateau is the basin and range region, which is mostly semi-arid and contains a few steep mountains. The Cascade Mountains, an area of major highs and lows, run through the state north to south. These include Mount Hood, Oregon’s highest point at 11,245 feet, and Crater Lake, the deepest lake in the United States at 1,943 feet. The Willamette Lowland is a narrow, fertile region in the northwest. The coast range to the west has low wooded mountains, small lakes and cliffs that follow the Pacific coast. The Klamath Mountains, a rugged forested area, cut across the southwest corner of Oregon. Here you will find the Oregon Caverns National Monument.
Wildlife of Oregon
Once hunted for fur, the beaver, the state animal of Oregon, is common here. Other native mammals include Roosevelt elks, gray wolves and wolverines. The burrowing owl, snowy plover, sage, and osprey are some of Oregon’s avian inhabitants. Reptiles such as western pond turtles and Oregon alligator lizards crawl through the state. Meanwhile, spotted frogs, Pacific giant salamanders and coastal tailed frogs are among the area’s amphibians. The most common type of tree in Oregon is the Douglas fir (the state tree). Oregon is also known for the tubercle, red alder, bigleaf maple, and ponderosa pine. Wildflowers grow in Oregon, such as Oregon creeping grapes, sticky purple geraniums, white mule ears, and all healers (sometimes used to soothe a sore throat).
Population: 575,930 thousand people (2008)
Area: 376.5 sq. km
Time zone: UTC
Altitude: 15.2 m
Oregon ‘s largest city, Portland, is located in the northwest of the state, at the confluence of the Columbia and Willamette rivers. A few tens of kilometers from the city rises the highest peak of Oregon Mount Hood volcano (3426 meters) – a point of attraction for many tourists. The outskirts of the city are generally teeming with volcanoes. Portland is famous for its extensive tram network, including the “air” tram (funiculars), as well as the “Silicon Forest” – a large concentration of IT companies. See Oregon cities.
The Upper Chinook tribes are the original inhabitants of these places. Despite the richness of the land, the colonization of this area was extremely slow. The first settlement of the colonists in the Willamette Valley was called the “glade”. In 1843, the owner of the Overton land sold it to two natives of Massachusetts. Each of them dreamed of naming a new settlement in honor of their hometown. The fate of the name was decided by the coin, and the settlement was named after the East Atlantic Portland. The coin, known as the Portland Penny, is now kept in the local museum. The development of the city provided access to the sea and location on the highway “Big Wooden Road”.
Portland has many nicknames, each reflecting one of the many sides of the city. For example, the “city of roses” symbolizes the fact that Portland hosts a multi-day rose festival every year. The nickname “the city of beer” is given in honor of the brewing traditions of Portland, which are not forgotten to this day. The bridges spanning the Willamette became the basis for the nickname “City of Bridges”.
The sights of Portland are represented by a large number of museums (Industry and Sciences, Arts, Children’s Museum, Historical), theaters and galleries. Portland is one of the most interesting centers for the arts in the United States. Also, the largest city in Oregon is considered perhaps the greenest city in the country. Here is the smallest park in the world – Mill End with an area of 0.3 square meters. The Chinese Garden and Washington Park are also impressive. The symbol of the city is the statue of Portlandia in the form of a woman in antique clothes and a trident in her hands.
A native of Portland is the cartoonist and author of The Simpsons Matt Grönning.