Fort Vancouver, in Vancouver, Washington (across the Columbia River from Portland, Oregon) is important in American history because of its close connections to the fur trade and the settlement of what was then called “Oregon Country.”
The first major white presence in what is now the Pacific Northwest as the presence of fur traders. These traders came to the area to collect furs that could be sold in Europe for very good prices. It was this economic motive that led to the establishment of Fort Vancouver. The fort was established by the Hudson’s Bay Company in the 1820s. It was largely meant as a place to collect and store furs and to store supplies for the people who were involved in collecting the furs. In other words, it was the economic center of the fur trade in the Pacific Northwest. It is important in our history because it was instrumental in creating an economic presence for Americans and others of European descent in the Northwest.
The fort later became important when the US and the United Kingdom split the Oregon Country, with the US getting the area that is now the states of Oregon, Washington, and Idaho. The fort was then used as a staging point for soldiers who were there to suppress Indian resistance to the settlers who were flooding into the area.
Thus, Fort Vancouver was important as a part of the fur trade, and later the mass settlement, that made the Pacific Northwest part of the United States.