Oregon Across the Centuries

Geologic Activity

Much like many places that are rich in landscape, Oregon’s hills, valleys, rivers, and lakes are a result of millions of years’ worth of geologic activity involving massive floods, earthquakes, and volcanic eruptions long before the arrival of the first inhabitants.

Even with the native inhabitants that have pitched home in the terrains of the state, these geologic activities have been noted and accounted for. For example, what was once the tallest mountain in the region, Mount Mazama, experienced an eruption so severe that the mountain reduced itself by a full kilometer. This was witnessed by natives who were inhabitants of the area and recognized it as a great battle between the mountain god and the sky god.

These geologic activities are what led to create the scenic terrain and landscape that many nature lovers enjoy so much in Oregon.

Native Inhabitants

Much of the earliest discoveries about the most probable first inhabitants of the state were made by archaeologist Luther Cressman when he discovered sage bark sandals that dated more than thirteen thousand years ago, around the area of Fort Rock Cave. He later found more evidence around the Paisley Caves supporting his previous evidences.

By around 8000 BC, there is believed to be settlements of tribes all around the state, mostly concentrated along the Colombia river. Many native American groups have made Oregon their settlement, including the Chinook, Bannock, Chasta, Takelma, and a lot more.

European Exploration

During the 19th century, the earliest official European explorers came by Oregon, at first, only to seek passage to the Northwest by sea and by land. Later on, traders, Christian missionaries, and even immigrants came along.

These explorations were positively welcomed by the natives because of the opportunities brought about by trade. However, it would later be noted that diseases brought about by the foreigners would later become the downfall of the native tribes. These explorations started when the Spanish sighted south of Oregon in the 1500s and continued with the British explorations in the 1700s to the 1800s.

Pioneer Settlement

The first official permanent white settlement was Fort Astoria, established and funded by American businessmen. The Oregon Trail which was what immigrants took to settle permanently in the region was established at around 1830. Most of these immigrants were Christian missionaries who wanted to convert natives to Christianity.

The trail brought many new settlers to the area, and soon a government was set up by need as the settlers have begun acquiring property and participating more actively in communities. Native populations were later pushed back to Indian reservations where they set up casinos where state laws do not apply, to curb looming poverty.

Modern Times

In the 1900s, the construction of the Bonneville Dam in the Columbia river prompted a lot of industrial growth. Oregon, by this time, was providing a significant amount of power, food, and lumber in the developing Northwest. However, due to the multiple and varied inhabitants that have come and still occupied the area,  conflict is always at present.

There was also a vile history of racial discrimination and minority discrimination in the state. The Oregon Supreme Court itself declared in the 90s that minorities were more likely to be incarcerated, thanks to institutionalized discrimination with which it prescribes a more multicultural exposure and training of individuals in the justice system.



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