Washington State History provides a chronological overview of the core events that affected the Pacific Northwest and the consequences/impacts they brought about.  

This class explores state events from the perspective of the primary actors as well as from the perspective of indigenous groups, immigrants, and the disenfranchised.  History is framed according to the collective experiences of all of these groups and not just one. 

This class works closely with US History class so that the events of the state are connected to the political, social, and judicial landscape of the United States.

Before we get to the history, we will familiarize ourselves with the geography and place names of Washington.  This will provide valuable context for students as they travel through a good-sized swath of the state over the course of the current school year.

For a more detailed overview of the class, plus a link to the course Syllabus, scroll down to the bottom of this page.

Current Week in Class

FRI 5/29 - MON 6/8

  • Labor organizing & backlash against public expression
  •  Russian Revolution, Communism, & the Red Scare.
  • Seattle General Strike
  • Black migration to northern cities
    • Barriers and some successes in the NW
  • The Great Depression
    • Stock Market Crash 1929
    • Agricultural crisis – the Dust Bowl
  • Roosevelt & the “New Deal”
  • WW II & the NW
  •        Internment
  •        Boeing 
  •        Puget Shipyards
  •        Hanford

In class we will explore::

  • Legal history of Native fishing rights all the way the Boldt Decision
  • Japanese internment
  • African American experience in the NW

Previous Class Assignments are now in Notes & Posts page.

WA History Chronological Overview

Pre-History -- Early 1700's -- Ice age and first human migration into the Americas. Coastal and Plateau tribes prior to European contact-- culture, ways of life, and tribal society..

1760’s -- 1810 -- European sea exploration and fur trading.  Britain, Spain, and Russia--the reasons for their presence and how those reasons changed over time.  US independence and the events that helped shape the geo-political landscape seen today in the NW.

1810 -- 1840 -- The rise of the beaver fur trade and land-based exploration.  Trappers/soldiers as the first settlers.  European diseases and the impact on indigenous populations and their societal integrity.  Massacre.

1840 -- 1855 --  Conflicts with indigenous tribes.  The influx of homesteads and their impact on traditional ways of life and loss of indigenous rights -- the Whitman   Isaac Stevens, the treaties of 1855.  Mapping treaty lands and translating NW treaties into everyday language.

1855 -- 1880 -- Subsequent Indian wars, and the eventual US military supremacy in the West. The General Allotment Act (Dawes Act) that further marginalizes indigenous people.  Beginning industrialization of the major cities of the Northwest and its impact on labor and class in the NW.

1880 -- 1920 Transcontinental railroads and the rise of industrial logging, fishing, agriculture, and mining.  Immigration and racism--the Chinese Exclusion Act.  Progressivism and labor reforms. Radicalism and the backlash of WWI and the Russian Revolution.  Centralia Massacre and the diminished rights of labor unions.

1920 -- 1945 The Great Depression -- New Deal, WPA, CCC, and the BPA.  Boeing and WWII.  Japanese internment.

Spring Semester-- US History Artifact Paper -- Washington History Component

In US History class with Catherine, students will write a formal research paper with a personal artifact as a catalyst for explorations of themes in American as well as Washington State history. The paper will include an analysis of their historical artifact, including identification, description, and interpretation.  In addition to researching and connecting their artifact to US history, they will also research and connect their artifact  to Washington State history.


The syllabus provides the "nuts and bolts" details of the class.  Click the link below to get the details:

WA History Syllabus