The History Of Washington State, USA
Washington, otherwise known as the Evergreen State and the only U.S. state that is named after a president, achieved its statehood on November 11, 1889. Its boundaries include the Canadian province of British Columbia in the north, Idaho in the east, Oregon in the south, and the Pacific Ocean in the west. Its capital city is Olympia which is situated at the southern end of Puget Sound on the west side of Washington.
For more than 11,000 years, native inhabitants were said to have occupied that area which later became Washington State. They were speculated to be the descendants of people from Asia who made their way to North America by crossing a land bridge toward the end of the last ice age and later on worked their way slowly to the south.
When the Europeans arrived, two major native groups were found to be in existence. The first group, which has settled at the Columbia Plateau, included a number of semi-nomadic tribes such as the Yakima, Wenatchee, Palouse, Okanogan, Nez Perce and Cayuse. The second group lived close to major bodies of water such as the Pacific Ocean and Puget Sound. This group included tribes such as Snohomish, Salish, Quinault, Puyallup, Nisqually, Makah, Clatsop, Clallam, and Chinook. Meanwhile, the so-called Hoh River Indian Tribe settled at the northernmost part of the Pacific coastline.
European Arrival And Settlement
It was in 1775 when the first Europeans, identified as Spanish Captain Don Bruno Heceta and Juan Francisco de la Bodega y Quadra, set foot on what was destined to become Washington State. The Spanish claim to the territory aimed at dissuading other settlers such as the English and the Russians who had settled in present-day Alaska.
Three years later, Captain James Cook strengthened the English claim to the territory by sailing into its waters. However, he was unable to go ashore due to the bad weather condition.
Other arrivals were recorded such as the one by John Meares who named the Strait of Juan de Fuca after sailing into it and Captain George Vancouver who made further explorations of the area in 1792. He was responsible for naming notable places such as Puget Sound, Mount Baker, Mount Rainier and San Juan Islands.
Other Notable Explorations And Settlements
The Nootka Conventions by the Spanish and British during the 1790s marked the end of Spanish exclusivity and allowed other explorers and traders to set foot on the Northwest Coast. These include traders from Russia, Britain and the United States. Notable explorers were identified as Manuel Quimper and Francisco de Eliza (both from Spain); George Vancouver (Britain); and David Thompson (Canada).
The Statehood of Washington
In 1889, Washington became the 42nd state in the U.S. following the passage of the Enabling Act of 1889. Former territorial official Elisha P. Ferry became the first governor of the newly-formed state.
Prominent industries in the state’s early years included mining, lumber, and agriculture. In 1905, the state of Washington became the nation’s biggest producer of lumber. Other industries that developed in the state include mining, salmon canning, and fishing.