History of Astoria, OR
The Clatsop and Chinook Indians
lived in this area for thousands of years before the European explorers
ventured to cross into the mouth of the Columbia River. In 1792, Capt. Robert
Gray found the mouth of the River and sailed in with his ship. He named the
river after his ship, the Columbia Rediviva. In 1805, Meriwether Lewis and
William Clark led their expedition here and spent the winter at Fort Clatsop,
just south of Astoria, but they did not claim any land for the U.S. at that
Astoria was established in 1811 when the crew aboard John Jacob Astor’s ship,
the Tonquin, staked the first U.S. claim to the west coast of the continent.
The party established a fur-trading outpost at the mouth of the Columbia and
Astoria became the first permanent U.S. settlement west of the Rocky Mountains.
The United States and England
went to war in 1812. In 1813, a British warship sailed into the Columbia River
to capture the post and take control of the fur trade. Astor’s fur traders beat
them to it by selling the post to the British Northwest Company. From 1813 to
1818, the British owned Astoria, or Fort George as it was referred to at the
time. In 1818, a treaty with England established joint occupation of the Oregon
Country, as it was called then. The boundary was set at the 49th Parallel. The
British did not completely abandon Astoria until 1846.