The Word “Oregon”

The vast Oregon Territory sprawled from the Pacific to the Rockies across what are now the states of Oregon, Washington, Idaho, and parts of Wyoming and Montana as well as British Columbia. Its rich natural resources and coastal ports had first attracted Russia, Spain, Great Britain, and France, whose colonial forays had created a live-and- let-live, polyglot culture that mostly revolved around commerce.(“Oregon” comes from fleuve d’ouragan, or “hurricane river,” as the French called the great Columbia.)