Year
Events
1513
Balboa becomes the first European to “discover” the Pacific Ocean.
1602
Sebastian Vizcaino maps the Pacific Coast as far as 42 degrees north and discovers Monterey Bay.
1658
Pierre Esprit Radisson and Jean Baptiste Grosseillers become the first white men to travel into the northwestern territories beyond the Great Lakes region.
1661
Radisson and Groseillers establish the first fort and fur post between the Missouri River and the North Pole.
1670
Radisson and Groseillers form the Hudson’s Bay Company under the approval of a royal charter.
1743
Pierre Gaultier De La Verendryes explores the Dakotas and Upper Missouri River for the Hudson’s Bay Company.
1769
Samuel Hearne begins his search for the fabled “5Northwest Passage” and rich copper mines of the Arctic under orders from the Hudson’s Bay Company.
1774
Spaniard Juan Perez sails north along the Pacific coastline to 55 degrees north latitude claiming 8possessions for Spain.
1775
Bruno Heceta becomes the first European to land on the Pacific Northwest coast (Washington).
1776
American Declaration of Independence and the beginning of the American Revolution.
1778
James Cook sails the Pacific Northwest searching for Juan de Fuca Strait and the Puget Sound.
Captain Jonathan Carver publishes his “Book of Travels.”
1779
Independent fur traders begin combining efforts and resources.
1783
End of the American Revolution. Formation of the North West Fur Company.
1792
Robert Gray discovers mouth of the Columbia River on his second voyage.
George Vancouver creates detailed map of the Northwest coast.
Lieutenant Broughton sails and explores 100 miles upstream on the Columbia River.
1793
Alexander Mackenzie crosses the continental divide.
1803
Meriwether Lewis and William Clark begin their “Voyage of Discovery.”President Jefferson purchases the Louisiana Territory from France.
1806
John Colter, by leaving the Lewis and Clark expedition to guide trappers into the west, becomes one of the first mountain men.
1807
David Thompson begins exploration in the Northwest.
1808
Simon Fraser reaches the mouth of the Fraser River.John Jacob Astor establishes the Pacific Fur Company.
1809
David Thompson establishes Kullyspell House.
1810
Peter Skene Ogden joins the North West Fur Company and begins a career of extensive exploration of the west.
1811
Fort Astoria is built on the banks of the Columbia River by Wilson Price Hunt and Robert Stuart to serve as a base for the Pacific Fur Company.

David Thompson arrives at the mouth of the Columbia River.
1812
War begins between United States and England.
Robert Stuart discovers South Pass as he leads the first Euro-American party west to east over what would become the Oregon Trail.
1813
Astor’s Pacific Fur Company is taken over by the North West Company.
Fort Astoria renamed Fort George.
1817
Major Stephen H. Long begins expeditions to chart and map the upper Mississippi and Missouri Rivers, delineating a 600 mile wide swath of territory from Texas to Canada and as far west as the Rocky Mountains.
1818
Peter Skene Ogden reaches Astoria.
Treaty of Joint Occupation for the Oregon Country between Great Britain and the United States.
1820
Hall Jackson Kelley begins attempts to colonize the Oregon Country.
1821
Hudson’s Bay Company and the North West Company are forced to merge.
1822
General William Ashley launches the first expedition of independent fur trappers up the Missouri River. These are the men who will become famous as the American Mountain Men. Jim Bridger becomes the first to give an eyewitness account of the Great Salt Lake. Jim Badger was among the best mountain men trappers, scouts, and guide who explored and trapped the western united states . Jim had a strong constitution that allowed him to survive the extreme conditions he came across while walking the rockys. Jim was all about the nature life.
1823
Ex-slave Jim Beckwourth helps discover the primary route through the Sierra Nevada Range.
1824
Fort Vancouver is built by Hudson’s Bay Company, Dr. John McLaughlin named Chief Factor.

Jedediah Smith rediscovers South Pass.

Peter Skene Ogden takes over leadership of the Snake River Brigades.
1825
David Douglas arrives at the mouth of the Columbia River.

First rendezvous held to facilitate trade between Mountain Men, Indians, and the American fur companies.
1831
Captain Benjamin Bonneville’s first expedition.
1832
Nathaniel Wyeth establishes his fur trading venture on the lower Columbia River.
1834
Jason Lee is the first Methodist missionary in the Northwest.

Fort Hall is constructed by Nathaniel Wyeth.

Old Fort Boise is built by the HBC.
1835
Samuel Parker and Marcus Whitman journey to the west.
1836
Narcissa Whitman and Eliza Spalding are the first white women to cross over the Rocky Mountains.

Whitmans establish a mission at Waiilatpu.

Spaldings establish a mission at Lapwai.
1838
First Catholic missions are established in the Northwest.
1840
Last mountain rendezvous is held.

The Jesuit priest, Pierre-Jean de Smet travels to Oregon Country to establish a mission.
1842
John Charles Fremont’s first expedition explores and surveys the Oregon

Trail as far west as South Pass. Kit Carson is hired by Fremont as a guide.
1843
John Charles Fremont’s second expedition completes the survey of the Oregon Trail, exploring central Oregon and the Great Basin.

First large wagon train of emigrants embark on the Oregon Trail.

Joe Meek guides wagon train to Oregon, then serves as sheriff for the territory.

Establishment of the Oregon Provisional Government.
1846
Mexican-American War leads to Spanish cession of territory.

William Emory produces the first accurate maps of the Southwest.

Treaty between U.S. and Great Britain establishes the northern boundary

between the two countries at the 49th parallel.
1847
Cayuse Indians massacre the Whitmans at Waiilatpu following a devastating measles outbreak.
1848
Oregon gains U.S. territorial status.
1853
The Gadsden Purchase completes the formation of the Continental United States, the “Lower 48.”