Washington History

Washington History

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Assignment #1
Question #1

A) How is a region defined?

     A region can be defined by its’ geography, industry, or culture.
For example the Bible belt is a cultural region; Silicon Valley is an industrial region, and the Plains States form a region defined by the geography and agriculture both.

B) What Unifying forces define the Northwest?
     The region of the Pacific Northwest is defined as a Hinterland replete with a wide array of natural resources. The treasures found in the natural beauty of the Northwest’s pristine waterways, ample valleys, and lush mountain forests define the region. No other region in the United States can compare with the beauty and majesty of the Pacific Northwest. It stands alone as having one of the most varied and rich landscapes in the country. Thus allowing an independent, confined, and truly original culture to emerge.

Question #2

·     What is the size and distribution of the population of the Northwest?

     The Pacific Northwest region is lightly populated with the majority of the residents located in a few key areas. The main population centers of thirty thousand or more pertaining to Washington are the Puget Sound area, and Spokane. In Oregon it is the Willamette Valley from Portland to Eugene and Medford where the population centers are located. Idaho, while being much more rural then Washington and Oregon, does have clusters of more highly populated areas in select geographic areas, such as Boise and Pocatello. All of Idaho’s major urban areas are located on or around the Snake River. Taking the time to really study the location of cites in relation to surrounding geographic areas one gets a good look into the minds of the first settlers and even the native inhabitants. Larger urban centers are usually located on or near waterways; all were and still are very reliable sources of food, water, and trade. One example of this statement is shown in today's Vancouver, Washington, which was first settled on the Columbia River.

Question #3

·     Discuss the natural setting of the Northwest

     The Pacific Northwest is rich in culture and beauty. What gives this land its beauty, so much so that the region is know the world over? Maybe it is the giant snake of concrete known as Interstate-5? Could it be the snow crowned Peaks of the cascades? Or is it the glistening monoliths of glass that tear at the cloud filled sky above the Emerald City of Seattle? The Sun bathed beaches of the San Juan Islands?

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Whatever it may be the Pacific Northwest is one of the richest and most beautiful in America. Truly one of the last untamed lands. This region has almost everything from swamps, to plains, rain forests, and deserts. The Northwest is also host some of the most fertile soil in the country. Made famous by such produce as Washington apples, and Idaho potatoes. One of the most important aspects of the Northwest region is the river. The rivers are the veins of the Northwest bringing vital lifeblood the all areas. None more so then the Columbia river, This river is so important that cities such as Spokane, some 150 miles away, feel the effects of the river negative or positive.

Question #4

·     Identify and discuss the mountain ranges in the Northwest.

     With over seventy ranges in Idaho alone, most notably the Bitterroots that split Idaho from Montana. And in Oregon numerous ranges including the Wallows and the Klamath that split Oregon and California and the Olympic and Cascades as the main ranges in Washington. Mountains play a big part in the lives of everyone in the Northwest. Even in those rare locations where no mountains can be seen the populace is still effected by mountain ranges. In almost all aspects of the community mountain ranges play their part. From weather to industry the Pacific Northwest would not be what it is without it’s Mountain ranges. It is easy to see that mountains are just as much a part of everyday life as the trees. As stated earlier mountains are intertwined into almost every aspect of life in the Northwest. They support Industries such as Logging and all pulp, paper, and saw mills. The fishing would be drastically different without the cool rainy climate the mountains provide.

Question #5

·     Discuss the segment on Mt. St. Helens.

     The event of May 18 1980 reminds all northwesterners that although beautiful this land is very much alive and commands the respect of all who live in the mountains shadow. On a peaceful Sunday morning in May residents of the Northwest where awakened to a horrible nightmare. The dismal blackness of a sky filled with over 500,000 tons of ash, and anything else that got in the way of the one hundred mile an hour whirlwind of burning death. It spread east blacking out Yakima in mere hours. A force greater then the atomic bomb detonated over Hiroshima in World War Two striped bare a two hundred square mile radius around the mountain killing man and beast indiscriminately, destroying homes, bridges, railways, and highways. The effects of the eruption stopped all shipping on the Columbia River by raising the bottom from 40 feet to 14 feet. It lowered the elevation of the mountain itself from 9,677 Ft. to 8,364 Ft. and left a mile-wide horseshoe shaped crater. This event shook the world, but even something so disastrous could not diminished the natural beauty of the Pacific Northwest. If anything it adds to the character of this great land.

Question #6

A) Discuss the climate and soils of the Northwest.

     The Climate in the Northwest varies greatly from North to south and west to east. What influences the weather so that it is so different in less then two hundred miles of separation? The Olympics, Cascades, and the Rockies to name a few are the single biggest factor in climate for the Pacific Northwest region. As the Northwesterly winds sweep down off the Pacific Ocean they become moisture laden. Then the moist air begins its journey east. As it starts to cross the coastal mountains the atmospheric pressure drops the air gets cooler and the winds loose some of its moisture in the form of rain or snow. The annual rainfall in the coastal mountains can commonly reach 120 to 140 inches and even more on occasion allowing a rainforest environment. Continuing its journey east the clouds reach the Puget Sound-Willamette lowlands where rainfall is commonly 30 to 50 inches about the same as New York City or New Orleans. But it rains about 150 days a year. Clouds then lose most of the moisture hitting the cascades where the average precipitation can be as much as 300 inches. As the clouds descend the Cascade mountain range the clouds have very little moisture left. Reaching the Southern and eastern regions of Washington and Oregon and southern Idaho a different Northwest emerges. One sees a landscape shaped by hills, eroded slopes, rugged mountains, flat plains, and sandy deserts where the average rainfall is about 10 inches or less. As one travels east along the Columbia River the precipitation gradually increases from 6 or so inches in central Washington to 21 inches at Pullman, which is 140 miles east and 1,300 Ft. higher. The Palouse country that surrounds Pullman and spills over into Washington is world renown for its fertile soil. This mini-region is one of the most productive wheat-growing regions in the United States. But just north and west of the Palouse are the coulees where the land is manly suitable for cattle.

B) What has been the importance of the Columbia River?

     High in the alpine of the Rocky Mountains a little stream makes its way down the mountains changing from a stream to a river. Then as more and more rivers flow into it, it becomes the mighty Colombia River that is as much a staple to the northwest as is the mountains or the Pacific its self. The Columbia not only is one of the main sources of trade and food in the Northwest it also provides more hydroelectric power then anywhere in the Continental United States. This River has played an influential role in the shaping of the character of the Pacific Northwest. The Columbia River is a vital transportation link. Allowing trading from Lewiston, Idaho, to Portland, Oregon and beyond. The river also help bring together the vast landscape that is the Pacific Northwest helping to counteract the dividing influence of the mountains. In short the Northwest would be broken into smaller more isolated regions which in turn would lessen the appeal to this great land were it not for this river.

Question #7
What does the author mean when describing the Northwest as a Hinterland?

     It is my belief that the author means a land isolated yet still reachable. A pristine land where there is still a link to the wilderness. A land that is so full of natural beauty it is impossible to leave. A young and vibrant land yet ancient and full of secrets yearning to be discovered.

Question #8
Describe the Life and character of Captain James Cook.

     Born in 1728 the son of a Scottish farm laborer in Yorkshire the greatest navigator in his day had a very modest beginning. He had been apprenticed as a grocer and dry goods merchant but at the age 18 his life took a dramatic change for the better. It was then that he was apprenticed to the owner of a fleet of coal-carrying ships and his destiny began. Cook joined the military and became a student of science; He quickly became a captain. While he was captain he made great headway in the improvement of the health and welfare of his sailors. One of his achievements in this field was a cure for scurvy. His remedy was a diet of sauerkraut and lemon and orange syrups and it worked. As he returned from his second voyage he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society and given its highest award for his work of preserving the health of his crew. He died an explorer on his third Voyage in 1779 on the Sandwich Islands (Hawaii).

Question #9

Discuss the voyage of Captain Cook to the Northwest Coast.

     The third voyage of Captain James Cook was to find the Northwest Passage. If any one were to find the Passage it would have been Capt. Cook the most famous navigator of his day. By the time of his third voyage Cook had already been around the world two times in each direction. After two years of sailing Capt. Cook finally reached the Pacific Northwest, But not before discovering the Sandwich Islands where he would meet his death in 1779. That is where he found a fog shrouded coastline with howling winds bringing hail and sleet with them. Aptly he named this area Cape Foulweather just a few miles north of present day Newport. Cook was methodical in his exploration like none before him. He was instructed to reach the Pacific Northwest at 45&#61616;&#61472;north Latitude to avoid a confrontation with Spain. From there he was to proceed north but not to explore in detail the coast until he reached 65°. From this point he was to look for the Northwest Passage. He was also told to make carefull documentation of all natural resorses and to claim all new lands for England. In May he entered the Arctic Ocean. By mid summer he had passed the 70°&#61472;where he incountered an impenetrable wall of ice so he decided to winter in the newly discoverd Sandwich Islands. He got there in late 1778. The natives where friendly enough though they took anything that wasn’t bolted down and then they came back for that too. After Cook reached his limit of toleration he and an armed guard went ashore to get back what was theirs. A short time before this another group of sailors killed a local chief and the local natives grew enraged and hurled rocks at Cook and his men. The English responded to this hostility by firing into the crowd then while they were reloading the natives rushed them and killed Cook and five others. Thus ending Capt. Cook’s contribution to the exploration.

Question #10

What was the legacy of Capt. Cook’s third voyage?

     The legacy that Capt. Cook left the world after his third voyage was to prove invaluable. It added new lands the ever-growing British Empire. The world learned immense knowledge of the Pacific coastline and forever put the Pacific Northwest on the map. Cooks voyage also showed the world the furs available in this savage yet rich land. This also set the standard is exploration for generations to come.
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