Early Pacific Northwest History Essay

1003 Words Oct 16th, 2012 5 Pages
The first three major eras of the Pacific Northwest show some remarkable changes. What begins with the first people rapidly becomes a barrage of settlers, development and the harvesting of resources. Each period of time in the PNW brings changes in the people, the geography, and the culture. First is the Era of the First People. Scientific theories suggest that man first came to the PNW via land bridges from Russia or perhaps waterways. Some legends suggest a similar nomadic journey following the migrating animals or the work of spirits or Gods who created companions for a lonely human; usually a mother figure.
However they came to be, the First People, while split into different geographical and cultural groups, had many
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The next era is that of Contact and Trade. Just after declaring independence from British rule, Captain James Cook began an exploration of the PNW on behalf of the newly formed thirteen colonies of the United States. Seeking the ever elusive Northwest Passage, Cook instead found himself docked in Nootka Sound to repair his ships. Here he traded trinkets for local furs, an unexpected valuable treasure. Cook also made stops in Alaska and wintered in Hawaii. Following Cook, more explorations from the U.S., France, Britain, Russian, and Spain soon sought to discover the treasures – however unknown they remained – and claim them as their own. The changes brought on by these new explorers were vast ranging from depletion of local population due to unfamiliar European diseases to new settlements to increased harvesting of resources. There were also treaties made with the native Indians for land or goods. Still seeking the Northwest Passage, Meriwether Lewis and William Clark began an expedition to the Oregon coast in 1804. While still failing to find that passage, they do explore more of the west and PNW than anyone up to that time. Among journals of native plants, native people, and many maps that opened the way for settlers, Lewis and Clark opened the way for trade with their revelation that the