Economic Development in the Pacific Northwest

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Over decades and decades, the Pacific Northwest was controlled by different regions and countries which pull down its economy. Nevertheless, a short time after the United Kingdom war ended, the region was able to perk up its economy slowly but surely, and the mid-1800s and the end of the century witnessed a stable economy with a steady growth rate. In a while, the Pacific Northwest came forward as a well-structured, strong and developed economy.


The Pacific Northwest is an expanse of the northwestern United States. By and large, it comprises of Washington and Oregon but at times southwestern British Columbia is also said to be a part of the Pacific Northwest.

The term Pacific Northwest has a number of explanations that, to some extent, have common characteristics. Nonetheless, Pacific Northwest must not be confused with the Northwest Territories of Canada. (Melander 6)

The region is surrounded by the Pacific Ocean towards the west. The northern and southern boundaries of this region may possibly be acknowledged as someplace in the region of the subarctic sector of British Columbia, and someplace in the region of the placid temperature sector of northern California. Furthermore, the Northwest possesses individuality as a bioregion due to the presence of unanimity of soil, temperature, weather, and inhabitant flora and fauna. Green politics is well-known all through the region. Deliberate environment-friendly services are prevalent. Furthermore, Pacific Northwest is recognized as an enticement for a broad array of spiritual and philosophical faith methods.


For over a millennium, the Pacific Northwest was under the control of the local American natives. The region was discovered and occupied initially by Paleo-Indian, about 15,000 years earlier than the influx of Europeans. During this time a large number of scholars regarded the Pacific Coast as the most important passage for moving from Northeast Asia to America. (Melander 11)

The Indian ethnic groups who used to reside in the region in the past were amongst the most skilled and trained fishers in history because of the implausible sumptuousness of this region’s fisheries. Even in the present days, a huge number of followers and descendants of these conceited tribes live all through the locale and continue to put into practice their civilizing customs and way of living.

Colonial Russia sent Vitus Bering to the Pacific Northwest at some point near the beginning of 1740. By the end of 1700, quite a lot of placements and populations were founded by the Russian settlers. With the passage of time, these establishments extended to the south of California. Juan Pérez was sent to the Pacific Northwest in 1977. Captain James Cook went to the Nootka Sound in 1776. Ignacio de Arteaga visited Pacific Northwest with a group in 1779. In 1790 three ships were sent to Nootka Sound commanded by Francisco de Eliza. These ships were sent by Spain in order to set up a base at Nootka.

Francisco de Eliza, after setting up the base there sent numerous groups around to discover and explore the area. One more voyager from Spain, Jacinto Caamaño Moraleja, cruised to Nootka Sound in 1792. Later in the same, numerous different places of the Pacific Northwest under the control of Spain were granted to George Vancouver which caused a formation of a multifaceted coastline. (Melander 13)

Later at the beginning of the nineteenth century Spain declares the early official claims on the region. After a while, the same sort of claims was made by Russia followed by the similar claim that George Vancouver made. Afterward, Spain forfeits its claim.

After the journey by Lewis and Clark with their group to Pacific Northwest, United States made the same claim over that region. During the time span extended from 1810 to 1840, America and Britain, both made claims on the territory that encompasses Western Montana, Oregon, Washington (current) and Idaho. This region was referred to as Oregon Country by Americans and Columbia District by British. (Schwantes 91)

Consequently, the American settlement in the region developed and James Polk was voted to become President. Late in 1846, following the war with the United Kingdom, the difference of opinion about the Oregon boundary was settled, and this settlement came to know as the Oregon Boundary Treaty. (Melander 13)

Economic Development in Pacific Northwest

The economic output of the Pacific Northwest is $ 250 billion per annum and it is the tenth-largest economy in the world. From the start of the nineteenth century the region has witnessed a growth in the fishing industry; mills, especially lumber and paper mills; and also ascends in farming.

Pacific Northwest proffers an opportunity to live in unharmed and pollution free surroundings and environment. This natural beauty of the place also acts as a magnet for businessmen and is a centre of attraction for these businessmen to make a setup in midst of natural exquisiteness. (Egan)

The sectors that heavily contributed towards the economic development of the Pacific Northwest are Furs, Railway system, Agriculture, Mining, Timber, Fish and Conservation movement towards the end of the nineteenth century. (Melander 49)

The contribution of Lumber Mills towards the economic development of the region expands from 1850 to 1880. The railway industry remains in boom from 1883 till 1929. A number of railroad connections were established during this era. The Northern Pacific Railroad Connection was completed in 1883, and the South end of Seattle was put to work in 1885. Soon after the construction of the Union Pacific, Great Northern, and Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul, Northern Pacific, and Pacific railroads, Spokane converted into the very significant rail centers transportation hub. Asian Crew Constructing Log loading station also have a significant contribution towards economic development during 1910. In the same year, steam donkey yarding logs came into the picture. (Schwantes 184)

An imperative component of the region’s economy was aluminum smelting as a result of the large quantity of hydroelectric power which was available at a very low cost. More than one-third of the aluminum utilized by the United States, by the end of World War two was generated through these smelters. By the end of the nineteenth century, once booming aluminum industry faces a decline and becomes basically non-operational and obsolete.

Positive aspects of a developed economy. Economic development in the region provides a comparatively stable way of life without being too harsh on the populace. Unconventional source of income was offered as a result of the growth in the tourism industry along with its comfortably planned tours plus recreational activities. The most liked and prominent tour destinations were Leavenworth and Nelson. An abundance of employment was also facilitated and aided by conservation. The booming economy also helps in the strengthening various industries including agriculture, mining, timber and fishing. (Melander 53)

Negative aspects of a developed economy. With the development of the economy, the malevolence aspect that all of a sudden came up was the widening gap between well-off and deprived. With the development of the economy this difference between over-privileged and underprivileged increases. (Melander 54)

Economic Development in Washington

Key factors or the foundations in the development of the economy of Washington for the period of mid 1800s are financial institutions, services sector, tourism, lumbering, agriculture and manufacturing, this includes, but is not restricted to, wood products, paraphernalia for aerospace, food processing and ship construction. (Aderkas 15)

Boost in employment is noticed within the government sector, services sector, wood and lumber products, trade sector, food processing industry and metals and machinery sector. (Egan)

Even though the economy of Washington is developing, nevertheless, many ups and downs were also noticed during the mid of nineteenth century. These ups and downs continue until the end of the nineteenth century after which the economy gets a stable growth rate. (Aderkas 21)

The sectors that play a vital role in developing the Washington economy during the mid of nineteenth century were livestock (includes dairy products, beef and agricultural products), crops, manufacturing industry, fishing industry, mining industry and services sector.

A post for fur trading had been set up by the team led by David Thompson in Washington, at the junction of the Little Spokane and the Spokane. This post was operated by the British North West Company and called Spokane House. It was functional and is considered the hub of the fur trade from 1810 to 1826. (MacDonald 101)

Gold and silver were discovered in the Inland Northwest in 1883. This discovery caused sudden sprint prospect traders into the region. Trailed by this discovery mining became famous as a foremost incentive and option for doing business in Washington. It provided a well-liked and ‘accepted by all’ business as well as the trigger start spot in support of those who are new in the industry. (Shwantes 359)

The end 1800s saw a decline in the mining industry and simultaneously the boom in the agriculture and logging industry. At the same, the region also became famous for dairy products, and goods produced from timber and orchard. (Aderkas 41)

Economic Development in Oregon

The abundant natural resources in Oregon are one of those key factors that supported and developed the region’s economy over a long period of time. Wooded areas and forests, ranches, farms, tourism and retail trade are important rudiments of its economy. (Macdonald 153)

The economy of Oregon highlights the countrywide delay that embarked on at the start of nineteenth century. The unemployment rate controlled by the climate and season was all time low at that time. Oregon endeavored to formulate the alteration from a reserve dependent economy to a new diverse manufacturing and marketing economy, amid stress on soaring expertise. (Melander 86)

Important products of Oregon, from different industries, that supported its economy are greenhouse products, nursery products, wine grapes, all types of grass seeds, all types of grass pears, cattle and calves, Christmas trees (to some extent), all types of potatoes, all type of hay and milk.

A high employment rate is also a key factor in the economic development of the region. The industries at Oregon that provides maximum employment in the mid of 1800s are wholesalers of durable goods, food services and, to some extent, drinking places, general grocery stores, administrative services, nursing facilities, support services, facility of residential care, construction companies, contractors, hospitals, miscellaneous health care services, computers manufacturing and manufacturing of other electronic items (Egan)

The land of Oregon is very fertile mainly due to the Missoula Floods, which left deposits from Lake Missoula onto the land of this region. Due to this fertility of the soil, the region is considered as agricultural wealth. Due to the same factor, Oregon is one of the four main hazelnut growing regions. Somewhat around 95% of the hazelnuts in the United States are produced in Oregon. The grapes planted in Oregon are frequently the similar type that planted in the French regions by reason of local likeness in the type of weather as well as soil. Irrigated and dry land wheat both are grown in the region, chiefly in the area of Pendleton. Dairy products, eggs as well as poultry are also produced by the farmers of the area. It is amongst the major region for the production of timber due to the fertile soil and enormous forests. (Macdonalds 94)

Oregon is also amongst the leading salmon fishing business in the world. In addition to this, the tourism department also added a great deal to the economy. Oregon’s pristine lakes, waterfalls, evergreen mountain forests, and picturesque coastline create a center of attention for visitors all year round.


There were a number of factors at the start of 1800s – including the war with the United Kingdom which was followed by the claims of different states on the Pacific Northwest – that causes a lot of fluctuations in the economy of this region. At the start of the nineteenth century the economy was going down but by the mid 1800s it started to improve and at the end the nineteenth century it already acquired a steady growth rate. (Egan)

Works Cited

Aderkas, Elizabeth. American Indians of the Pacific Northwest (Men-at-Arms). Osprey Publishing. 2005.

Egan, Timothy. The New York Times. Web.

Macdonald, Samuel A. The Agony of an American Wilderness: Loggers, Environmentalists, and the Struggle for Control of a Forgotten Forest. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc., 2005.

Melander, Christina. Pacific Northwest: The Ultimate Winery Guide: Oregon, Washington, and British Columbia. Chronicle Books, 2007.

Schwantes, Carlos A. The Pacific Northwest: An Interpretive History. Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska Press.

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