Historical People of the Pacific Northwest Coast

A listing of events that are influential in shaping the history of the Pacific Northwest listed here in chronological order of birth.

Jonathan Carver (1710 to 1780)

A colonial Massachusetts explorer and writer.

Juan Pérez (1725 to 1775)

Spanish explorer who visited the Northwest Coast in 1774.

James Cook (1728 to 1779)

A British explorer, navigator, cartographer, and captain in the Royal Navy.

James Colnett (1753 to 1806)

An officer of the British Royal Navy, an explorer, and a maritime fur trader. He served under James Cook during Cook's second voyage of exploration. Later he led two private trading expeditions that involved collecting sea otter pelts in the Pacific Northwest of North America

Robert Gray (1755 to 1806)

American merchant sea captain, first American circumnavigation of the world and exploration of the Columbia River in 1792. [https://oregonencyclopedia.org/articles/gray_robert/]

John Meares (1756 to 1809)

A navigator, explorer, and maritime fur trader.

George Vancouver (1757 to 1798)

English officer of the Royal Navy best known for his 1791-95 expedition to the Pacific Northwest Coast of America.

Charles William Barkley (1759 to 1832)

Ship’s captain and fur trader; b. 1759, son of Charles Barkley; d. 16 May 1832 in Hertford, England.

Peter Corney (1760 to 1835)

English sailor who sailed to Fort Astoria. Witnessed the sinking of the Tonquin.

Alexander Mackenzie (1764 to 1860)

A Scottish explorer who is known for his overland crossing of what is now Canada to reach the Pacific Ocean in 1793.

José María Narváez (1768 to 1840)

Spanish naval officer and navigator who first explored the Strait of Georgia and Burrard Inlet in 1789, three years before George Vancouver.

Frances Barkley (1769 to 1845)

Was the first European woman, and Winée the first Hawaiian, or Kanaka, known to have visited the Pacific Northwest.

David Thompson (1770 to 1857)

First person of European descent to navigate the Columbia River's entire length

William Clark (1770 to 1838)

Clark helped lead the Lewis and Clark Expedition of 1804 to 1806 across the Louisiana Purchase to the Pacific Ocean, and claimed the Pacific Northwest for the United States.

Thomas Douglas, 5th Earl of Selkirk (1771 to 1820)

Scottish philantrophist who sponsored immigrant settlements in Canada at the Red River Colony.

Meriwether Lewis (1774 to 1809)

An American explorer, soldier, politician, and public administrator, best known for his role as the leader of the Lewis and Clark Expedition

Alexander Ross (1783 to 1856)

Fur trader who founded Fort Astoria and Fort Okanogan

John McLoughlin (1784 to 1857)

A French-Canadian, later American, Chief Factor and Superintendent of the Columbia District of the Hudson's Bay Company at Fort Vancouver from 1824 to 1845. He was later known as the "Father of Oregon" for his role in assisting the American cause in the Oregon Country in the Pacific Northwest.

Robert Stuart (1785 to 1848)

Sailed on the Tonquin with the Pacific Fur Company. Was stationed at Astoria, Oregon.

Gabriel Franchère (1786 to 1863)

Franchère was a native of Montreal and joined the Pacific Fur Company as a merchant apprentice, arriving at Fort Astoria on the Tonquin.

Chief Seattle (1786 to 1866)

A Squamish Tribe and Dkhw'Duw'Absh (Duamish) chief, prominent figure among his people, he pursued a path of accommodation to white settlers, forming a personal relationship with "Doc" Maynard.

Ross Cox (1793 to 1853)

Clerk in the Pacific Fur Company and the North West Company who wrote 'Adventures on the Columbia River'

David Douglas (1799 to 1834)

A Scottish botanist who is best known as the namesake of the Douglas-fir.

Robert Greenhow (1800 to 1854)

Robert Greenhow worked at the U.S. Department of State as a Translator and Librarian.

Joseph Lane (1801 to 1881)

An American politician and soldier. President James K. Polk appointed Lane as the first Governor of Oregon Territory.

Marcus Whitman (1802 to 1847)

An American physician. In 1843, Whitman led the first large party of wagon trains along the Oregon Trail to the West, establishing it as a viable route for the immigrants who used the trail in the following decade.

James Douglas (1803 to 1877)

First a fur trader and later a colonial governor, is often credited as "The Father of British Columbia".

George Abernethy (1807 to 1877)

An American politician, pioneer, notable entrepreneur, and first governor of Oregon under the provisional government

Narcissa Whitman (1808 to 1847)

An American missionary in the Oregon Country of what would become the state of Washington. One of the first European-American women to cross the Rocky Mountains in 1836.

Travers Twiss (1809 to 1897)

Professor of Political Economy in the University of Oxford

William Henry Gray (1810 to 1889)

Pioneer politician and historian of the Oregon Country.

William H. Wallace (1811 to 1879)

Wallace served a single term representing Washington Territory in the House. During his term, he got Congress to establish Idaho as a territory. Shortly after his term expired in March 1863, Lincoln appointed Wallace governor of the new Idaho Territory and he took office July 10, 1863.

John Mix Stanley (1814 to 1872)

Artist-explorer, American painter of North American landscapes and tribal life.

Isaac Stevens (1818 to 1862)

The first Governor of Washington Territory, serving from 1853 to 1857.

Hubert Howe Bancroft (1832 to 1918)

An American historian and ethnologist who wrote, published and collected works concerning the western United States, Texas, California, Alaska, Mexico, Central America and British Columbia.

Chief Joseph (1840 to 1904)

Hinmatóowyalahtq̓it, a leader of the Wal-lam-wat-kain (Wallowa) band of Nez Perce.