The Pacific States form one of the nine geographic divisions within the
United Statesthat are officially recognized by that country's censusbureau.
There are five states in this division —
Alaska, California, Hawaii, Oregon, Washington— and, as its name suggests, they all have coastlines on the Pacific Ocean(and are the only states that border that ocean). Additionally, Nevadaand Arizonaare sometimes included despite the fact that neither of these states actually border the Pacific. This is primarily because of strong ties that each state and their respective metropolitan areas have to neighboring California. The division is one of two that are located within the United States Census Bureau's Western region; the other such division is the Mountain States.
Despite being slotted into the same region by the Census Bureau, the Pacific and Mountain divisions are vastly different from one another in many vital respects, most notably in the arena of
politics: While nearly all of the Mountain states are regarded as being conservative " red states", all of the Pacific states except Alaskaare clearly counted among the liberal " blue states." Indeed, the other division with which residents of the Pacific States are seen as most closely self-identifying is New England, where many of the Pacific States' seminal settlers actually hailed from: Portland, Oregonwas named after Portland, Maine, and according to the 1980s-era bestseller " Dress For Success", businessmen in San Franciscodisplay virtually identical sartorial preferences as their counterparts in Boston.Fact|date=May 2007
The Northwest Coast of the Early and Middle Holocene of prehistory consists of the Pacific coastline from the mouth of Copper River in Alaska to the Klamath River in northern California. The forager societies mainly consisted of hunter-gatherers whose most popular source of food was salmon. The people of this time and place lived in planked houses that were small, and rectangular in shape. As the population of the Northwest Coast grew, social hierarchies were formed. Leadership was often given to
shamansor kin leaders. They also had people low enough in their society to be enslaved. A factor in the size of the population was that of temperature. Within the last 5000 years, temperature has fluctuated greatly, bringing on the Medieval Warm Periodas well as the Little Ice Age.
In 1769 southern
Californiawas occupied by Spanish colonists sent to establish outposts to protect Mexicofrom advancing Russian traders. Within a decade a line of forts and mission stations had been established from San Diegoto San Francisco Bay. The Indians were gathered around the missions and were taught farmingand ranchingalong with the Roman Catholic religion. New Englandvessels called to trade for hides and tallow, the only nonperishable items that the missions produced.
Californiabecame a state of the new Mexican Republic. Between 1834 and 1836 the Mexican governmentsecularized the missions, and the state was divided into large ranches, many owned by emigrantsfrom the United States. The power of Mexico Cityover Californiawas never very great. Consequently in 1846 the Americans revolted and established the California Republicbefore they learned of the outbreak of the U.S.-Mexican War. In January 1848, goldwas discovered in the stream gravels of central California, and by 1849 the trickle of American immigrationbecame a flood—the goldrush was on. Prospective minerscame overland, by way of the Isthmus of Panamaand by the long voyage around Cape Hornin such numbers that California's populationgrew from 92,000 in 1850 to 380,000 in 1860. California became a statein 1850.
Development of the Pacific Northwest
Meanwhile in the
Pacific Northwest( Washingtonand Oregon) a different type of economywas developing. By the end of the 18th century Russian traders from Alaskaand New England captainswere buying sea otterskins from the coastal Indians. These tribes, who lived well by salmon fishingand hunting, were much more advanced than the Indians of southern California. To deal with them, American fur tradersin 1811 established Astoria at the mouth of the Columbia River, and in 1825 the Hudson's Bay Companyextended its Canadiantrading network to Fort Vancouver(now Vancouver, Washington) on the north bank of the Columbia.
fur traderscarried east the news that the Willamettevalley of Oregon was a lush farming country. The first large group of settlers, following the Oregon Trailpioneered by the fur traders, reached Oregon in 1843. The ownership of the Oregon Countrywas disputed with Great Britainuntil in 1846 the boundary was fixed on the 49th parallel. Trade by boat soon started with American settlements in California, and many Oregon farmswere stocked with California cattle, sheep, and fruit trees. During the gold rush, Oregon foodstuffs and lumber found a ready market in central California.
Fagan, Brian M., Ancient North America: The Archaeology of a Continent (Thames and Hudson, Ltd.) 2005
Kentfield, Calvin, Pacific Coast (1971)
Muir, John, The Mountains of California (1898; reprint, 1975)
Pomeroy, Earl S., The Pacific Slope (1965; reprint, 1973)
New Age Encyclopedia, 1982 edition
History of the west coast of North America
* [http://www.bls.gov/ro9 Pacific Division Labor Statistics] "Bureau of Labor Statistics"
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