Washington Timeline

1500's - 1700's
  • (1543) Spain claimed Pacific Northwest
  • (1579) Sir Francis Drake claimed Washington coast for England
  • (1592) Juan de Fuca discovered Strait of Juan de Fuca
  • (1774) Juan Perez led first Spanish expedition to Northwest Coast, discovered Olympic Mountains
  • (1775) Bruno de Hezeta landed on Washington coast, claimed area for Spain
  • (1778) James Cook explored and charted the Northwest Coast
  • (1792) George Vancouver explored and named Puget Sound; Spain established first non-Indian settlement in Washington at Neah Bay
  • (1805-1806) Lewis and Clark reached Washington
  • (1811) John Jacob Astor built Fort Astoria, part of Pacific Fur Company at Columbia River mouth
  • (1825) Forts Vancouver and Colvile established on Columbia River by Hudson Bay Company
  • (1841) Charles Wilkes led United States naval expedition to explore Washington
  • (1842) John C. Fremont witnessed eruption of Mount St. Helens
  • (1847) Cayuse Indians attacked Whitman Mission in Walla Walla
  • (1851) First settlers arrived at Seattle site
  • (1853) Washington Territory created.
  • (1855-58) Yakima Indian Wars occurred
  • (1858) Cascade Railroad Company began operating in Columbia River Gorge; Indian wars ended
  • (1860) Gold and silver discovered in Okanogan
  • 1886 Coal mining town of Roslyn founded
  • 1889 Washington became 42nd state
  • (1897-99) Klondike Gold Rush brought thousands to Seattle
  • (1899) Mount Rainier National Park established
  • (1909) Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition held in Seattle
  • (1910) Women won right to vote in Washington
  • (1933) Grand Coulee Dam construction began
  • (1937) Bonneville Dam on Columbia River completed
  • (1941) Grand Coulee Dam completed
  • (1962) World Fair held in Seattle
  • (1974) Expo '74 World's Fair held in Spokane
  • (1975) Microsoft founded
  • (1976) First woman governor, Dixy Lee Ray, elected
  • (1980) Mount St. Helens erupted
  • (2001) Communist Party office closed in Seattle
  • (2003) Green River killer, Gary Ridgway, confessed to murdering 48 women
  • (2006) State court backed gay marriage ban
  • (2007) Boeing unveiled environmentally friendly 787 Dreamliner jet
  • (2010) Three U.S. soldiers based at Joint Base Lewis-McChord charged with murder in deaths of three Afghan civilians
  • (2011) Amanda Knox returned to Washington from Italy after being cleared of 2007 killing of Meredith Kercher
  • (2012) Gunman who shot Mount Rainier Park Ranger, Margaret Anderson, found dead
  • (2012) Three expert skiers killed in avalanche in Cascade Mountains
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