When the United States of America declared its independence from Britain in 1776, it created thirteen colonies. These became the first states of the newly formed nation. Washington, however, was not one of them. The area that would eventually become the state of Washington was a part of the Oregon Territory, which was jointly occupied by the United States and Britain from 1818 to 1846.
Arrival of American Settlers
In the early 1800s, American settlers began to move into the Oregon Territory. The first permanent white settlement in the area was Fort Nisqually, established by the British-owned Hudson’s Bay Company in 1833. Over the next few decades, more and more Americans moved to the region, establishing farms and towns. The influx of settlers began to put pressure on the British, who began to consider relinquishing their claim to the area.
Oregon Treaty of 1846
In 1846, the United States and Britain signed the Oregon Treaty, which divided the Oregon Territory along the 49th parallel. This gave the United States control of the area that would eventually become the state of Washington. In 1853, the United States established the Washington Territory, which included all of the land between the Pacific Ocean and the Rocky Mountains, south of British Columbia and north of Oregon.
Washington Becomes a State
In 1889, the Washington Territory became the 42nd state of the United States. The transition to statehood was met with much celebration. The first governor of the state was William H. Wallace, who was sworn in on November 11, 1889.
Today, the state of Washington is home to over 7 million people. It is the 13th most populous state in the country, and the 18th largest. Seattle is the largest city in the state, and is known for its vibrant music and cultural scene. Washington is also home to some of the most stunning natural beauty in the country, from the Cascade Mountains to the Pacific Coast.
The state of Washington has come a long way since it first joined the Union in 1889. It has grown from a sparsely populated territory to a thriving and vibrant state. While the region has changed in many ways over the past century, its spirit of adventure and exploration remains the same.