Oregon is the only state that celebrates its birthday on Valentine’s Day, which is February 14th. Likewise, its state’s flag is the only one in the country that is two-sided. On the front, you will see the state seal and on the back, there is a gold figure of a beaver, which is the state animal.
Can you find Oregon on a US map? It borders four northwest states: Washington to the north, California and Nevada to the south, and Idaho to the east. To its west, you will find the world’s largest and deepest ocean, the Pacific Ocean.
What really happened
- In 2012, some archaeologists, people who study the history of humans based on objects they left behind, found a prehistoric knife. It convinced them that people have lived in what’s now called Oregon for at least 15,000 years.
- The first Europeans to visit the state were Spanish explorers led by Juan Rodríguez Cabrillowho sighted southern Oregon off the Pacific Coast in 1543.
- By the 16th century, this state was home to more than a dozen Native American groups, including: the Chinook, Bannock and Chasta.
- In 1803, the US purchased a large region of land from France in a deal called the Louisiana Purchase. At the time, the president of the United States was Thomas Jefferson. He sentLewis and Clark, famous explorers, to map out the new territory. They traveled beyond the borders of the new purchase, all the way to Oregon, which is off the Pacific O They stayed in the area during the winter months. Over the next several years, more explorers from the United States and Great Britain came to this state. Both countries wanted to own the region. In 1818, they agreed to share the land.
- Starting in the 1840s, Americans who lived in the eastern part of the US began to travel west, all the way to Oregon. Over the next 20 years, thousands of people moved west, many of them settling here. There were so many Americans in the region that Great Britain gave up the land.
- In 1844, the state passed its Black Exclusion Law, which prohibited African Americans from entering the territory. But at the same time, slavery was prohibited. Slave owners who brought their slaves with them were given three years before being forced to free them.
- The state was first known as the Oregon Territory. It was so large that it included the future states of Oregon, Idaho, Washington, and part of Montana. But as the population grew, it broke off from the other regions in the territory and in 1859, it was admitted into the Union as the 33rd state.
- Beginning in the 1880s, the growth of railroads expanded the state’s lumber, wheat, and other agricultural markets, as well as the rapid growth of its cities.
Stuff you should know
- At almost 2,000 feet deep, Crater Lake is the deepest lake in the US and among the top 10 deepest lakes in the world. It was formed more than 6,500 years ago within the remains of an ancient volcano.
- The state is home to at least 16 Native American tribes who speak more than nine different languages.
- Portland’s name was decided with a coin toss. Had the coin landed on the other side, the city would have been named Boston. Wonder what the people of Massachusetts would have thought about that?
- During the 1800s, thousands of people moved west. Many followed the Oregon Trail, which was about 2,000 miles long and went from Missouri to Oregon. The journey took many families about four to six months. How many states do you think the trail crossed? The answer is at the bottom of this blog.
- It is one of the most geographically diverse states in the US. It has volcanoes, different bodies of water, dense evergreen and mixed forests, high deserts and semi-arid shrublands. At 46 percent, almost half the state is covered in forest.
- The Columbia River, which forms much of the state’s northern border, is one of North America’s largest rivers.
Crazy, funny or just plain weird
- Boo! Oregon has more ghost towns than any other state. More than 80 ghost towns are listed on the national register.
- The state has one city named Sisters and another called Brothers.
- Eastern Oregon is home to the biggest mushroom in the world. The estimated 2,400-year-old fungus spread through the roots of trees in Malheur National Forest and now covers 2,200 acres, making it the largest living organism ever found.
- As legend has it, a dog named Ranger climbed Mount Hood in Oregon about 500 times between 1925 and 1939. After passing away in 1940, he was laid to rest by his climbing partners on the mountain’s summit. A large stone marks his grave.
- Oregon is among the top five states with the most UFO sightings. Have you ever seen a UFO? If so, email us & tell us about it (email@example.com)!
Tell me more
- In the summer, the sand along the Oregon coast seems to glow. Tiny little forms of marine plankton called dinoflagellates wash ashore. They’re bioluminescent, which means their bodies glow or light up.
- Portland, Oregon is a bike-friendly city. No one can fully confirm this, but many believe it has more bicyclists than any other city in this country.
- Do you wear any Nike clothing or sneakers? The company’s “Swoosh” logo was designed by Portland State University student Carolyn Davidson in 1971 for just $35!
- Like tater tots? They were invented by two brothers in Ontario, Oregon.
- In 1971, Oregon became the first state to ban the use of non-returnable bottles and cans. The law reduced litter. Empty water or pop bottles, which contributed to 40 percent of roadside litter, now represent about six percent of trash along the roads.
Did you figure out which states the Oregon Trail crossed? Many people following the trail passed through six states: Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, Wyoming, Idaho and Oregon. The trail was littered with empty food barrels, wagon parts, books, clothes and even furniture.
Do you live in Oregon? Have you visited the state? Email a fact or something interesting about Oregon to firstname.lastname@example.org, and we’ll post it on Mo’s social media pages along with your first name, age, and state where you live!