Astoria, OR: Origins and Significance

 Fort Astoria.                                                John Jacob Astor.

*See bottom of pages for picture sources - Author, page number*

Astoria, Oregon played a critical role in the securing of the Oregon Territory for the United States. This project's goal is to display how and why the failed economic plan of Fort Astoria was first established and how it is significant to what today is the Northwest region of the United States.

Table Of Contents

I. Pacific Coast Prophets

Coastal Explorers : 18th century British and American efforts to explore the Pacific coast for trade.

Explorers by Land : Canadians explore the far west in search of the fables "northwest passage", leading to better informed fur trapping and eventual settlement. An American President responds by sending his own contingency westward to investigate the possiblities of further empire expansion.These collective efforts led to the vision of a far western fur trading post.

II. Astoria: Vision in Action

John Jacob Astor: The story of a German emigrant who established himself as the wealthiest man in America. Astor, acting on the dreams of earlier explorers, established the Pacific Fur Company along with a risky plan of transcontinental, and in all reality, international trade.

III. Fort Astoria

Fort Astoria: With the seaward and overland Astorians arrived by early 1812, the fort began full operations in the fur industry. But misfortunes would haunt the fort in the near future.

IV. A Changing of Hands

Astoria in Controversy: With increasing pressure due to the War of 1812, Astoria was sold to the North West Company. John Jacob Astor, however, refused to give up completely on his failed Pacific Fur Company, and British complacency led to the Joint Occupation Treay of 1818.

V. Astoria: Symbol of Westward Push

Summary of Astoria's Significance : Though Astoria failed as a business venture, it provided expanionist Americans with a symbol, at the extreme edge of the continent, of their hopes for what eventually became American western dominance. Following the Joint Occupation, many Americans lobbied for the government to assert its domiance on the Pacific coast.

Astoria's Cultural Influences: Summaries of the essential parts played by the Native Americans, Russians, Hawaiians, Chinese, Spanierds, Americans and British Canadians in Astoria's establishment.

VI. Sources


Pictures: Haeger, p.125. Haeger, p.678

Created in October, 1999 by Will Kalenius, student, University of San Diego.
Completed November 29, 1999.