The 33rd State

Joining the nation in 1859, Oregon became the 33rd state in the U.S. Since the discovery of a small, prehistoric stone knife in 2012, some archaeologists believe people have lived in the region for at least 15,000 years. Home to 10 Native American tribes, Europeans began arriving in the 1500s, when both Spain and Great Britain claimed it for themselves.

In 1804, President Thomas Jefferson sent American explorers Meriwether Lewis and William Clark to map out a huge swath of land bought the year before in the Louisiana Purchase… and the land beyond, which included the region that is now Oregon.


American settlers started arriving by wagon trains in the 1840s. All European claims were soon quashed by the large number of Americans settling there.


Bordered by Washington, Idaho, Nevada, California, and the Pacific Ocean, the 9th largest state in the U.S. is slightly larger than the United Kingdom. The origins of the name Oregon remain disputed. Some claim it comes from the French word “ouragan” meaning “hurricane,” a term used by French explorers to describe an especially windy part of the region… but others say it’s derived from the Chinook word “oolighan,” a type of fish eaten by the Native Americans.

A coin toss in 1854 determined the name of Portland. Had the coin landed on the other side, the city was to be called Boston. With no sales tax, Oregon’s population nears 4.3 million, but the Beaver State is particularly known for its grandeur.



At 1943 feet, the famed Crater Lake is the nation’s deepest lake. Oregon is home to more than 6,000 lakes, plus 112,000 miles of rivers and streams, 16 known hot springs, 230 state parks, and 13 national forests. Nearly half of the area, nearly 30 million acres, is forested,


At 7,913 feet deep, Hells Canyon is the deepest river gorge in North America and averages 5,500 feet deep.




The state’s highest point is Mount Hood at 11,245’.




Oregon has 14 National Historic Districts, 4 National Historic Trails (including the “Go West, Young Man” Oregan Trail), and more than 7,000 bridges.




Oregon’s Klamath Basin has the largest concentration of wintering bald eagles, and the Western Meadowlark is its official state bird.






The “Tater Tot” was invented here by brothers Nephi and Golden Grigg, founders of Ore-Ida.






Oregon is also home to the corn dog.




This Pacific Northwest state grows 99% of the entire U.S. commercial crop of hazelnuts. The state is also home to over 750 vineyards, growing 72 varietals of wine grapes.

About Cathy Burnham Martin

Author of 20+ books, and counting! A professional voice-over artist, dedicated foodie, and lifelong corporate communications geek, Cathy Burnham Martin has enjoyed a highly eclectic career, ranging from the arts and journalism to finance, telecommunications, and publishing. Along with her husband, Ron Martin, she has passions for entertaining, gardening, volunteering, active and visual arts, GREAT food, and traveling. Cathy often says, "I believe that we all should live with as much contagious enthusiasm as possible... Whether we're with friends or family, taking people along for the ride is more than half the fun."
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