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Dr. John McLoughlin
Early Settlements and Joint-occupancy of the Oregon Country


The first permanent settlement on the Columbia River was made by the Pacific Fur Company, which was organized and controlled by John Jacob Astor. It founded Astoria March 22, 1811. October 16, 1813, during the war of 1812, the establishments of the Pacific Fur Company in the Oregon Country, and all its furs and supplies, were sold, at less than one-third of their value, to the Northwest Company, of Montreal, by the treachery of Duncan McDougal, a partner of Astor in the Pacific Fur Company. December 1, 1813, the British sloop-of-war Raccoon arrived at Astoria and took formal possession of it in the name of the King of Great Britain. The captain of the Raccoon changed the name of Astoria to that of Fort George. Its name is now Astoria. The Northwest Company continued to carry on its business at Fort George and at other points in the Oregon Country until its coalition with the Hudson's Bay Company in 1821.

The treaty of peace between the United States and England at the conclusion of the war of 1812 was signed at Ghent, December 24, 1814. It is known as the "Treaty of Ghent." Under this treaty Great Britain, on October 6, 1818, formally restored to the United States "the settlement of Fort George on the Columbia River." A Convention between the United States and Great Britain was signed October 20, 1818. That Convention provided that the Oregon Country should be free and open, for the period of ten years, to the citizens and subjects of the two countries, being what is called for convenience joint-occupancy by the two countries. Another Convention between the two countries was made in 1827, by which this joint-occupancy was continued indefinitely, subject to termination after October 20, 1828, by either the United States or Great Britain giving to the other twelve months notice.2 In April, 1846, Congress passed a joint resolution giving the President authority, at his discretion, to give such notice to the British Government. Under the authority of this resolution President Polk signed a notice, dated April 28, 1846, which by its terms was to go into effect from and after its delivery to the British Government at London. June 6, 1846, the British Government proposed the present boundary. This was accepted by the American Government. The treaty was signed at Washington, June 15, 1846.


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