4-37 The State of Oregon

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The great state of Oregon became the 33rd state in the Union on February 14, 1859.  Its capital is Salem.  Historians say Oregon was named after one of two rivers. The Columbia River, which forms a coastline along the northern border, was at one time called the Oregon or Ouragan, which is French for hurricane. Others believe the name may have been derived from a mapmaker's error in the 1700s. The Wisconsin River was named the Ouisconsink and was picked up by travelers referring to the country west of the Great Lakes as Ourigan.

The native Americans were followed many centuries later by Spanish and English sailors that sighted the Oregon coast in the 1500s and 1600s. It was an American, however, Captain John Gray, who in 1792 discovered the great river and named it for his ship, The Columbia. Captain Gray was one of the first white men to enter Oregon.

This discovery prompted Thomas Jefferson to send Lewis and Clark overland to gain more knowledge of the region and to find out if there was a northwest passage. In 1805, the Lewis and Clark expedition explored the area. They found that the passage did not exist, but laid claim to the territory. Their expedition gave the United States a strong stake in the land.

It wasn't until the 1840s that many people began settle Oregon. Pioneers from the east and merchants traveling by ship from New England increased the Oregon population, leading to the creation of the Oregon Territory in 1848.  Disputes for control of Oregon between American settlers and the Hudson Bay Company were finally resolved in the 1846 Oregon Treaty in which Great Britain gave up claims to the region.  Oregon became a state in 1859.

Emblem/Symbol Name of Emblem/Symbol Adopted
Motto "She Flies With Her Own Wings" 1987
Nickname Beaver State  
State Seal 1859
State Bird Western Meadowlark 1927
State Flower Oregon Grape 1899
State Song "Oregon, My Oregon" 1927
State Tree Douglas Fir 1939
State Flag

State Insect Oregon Swallowtail 1979
State Fish Chinook Salmon 1961
State Animal Beaver 1969
State Nut Hazelnut 1989
State Rock Thunderegg 1965
State Gemstone Oregon Sunstone 1987

Complete the questions below.

1.  Oregon became the 33rd state in the Union on February 14, .

2.  The state rock is .

3.  The state motto is "."

4.  The capital of Oregon is .

5.  In 1805, the expedition explored the area now known as Oregon.

6.  The state flower is the .

7.  The Oregon has two different sides.

8.  The state nut is the .

9.  The state tree is the .

10.  The state nickname is the .



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