History & Culture


Furs were the center of the Hudson's Bay Company's operations for many years.

NPS Photo

The Hudson's Bay Company's Fort Vancouver was a surprising place: it was a headquarters and primary supply depot for fur trading operations, but employed more people at agriculture than any other activity.

It was a large corporate monopoly that kept order and stability by employing many different ethnic groups.

It was a British establishment, but the primary languages were Canadian French and Chinook Jargon.

It represented British territorial interests, yet made American settlement in the Pacific Northwest possible. Even those who wished it gone praised the hospitality and assistance they found there.

The subsequent U.S. Army post at the site--known as Columbia Barracks, Fort Vancouver, or Vancouver Barracks depending on the era--was equally surprising.

Its goal was to provide for peaceful American settlement of the Oregon Country, yet it did so, in part, by battling and dispossessing the native American Indian inhabitants. For more than 150 years it housed and supported thousands of soldiers and their families, yet it also incarcerated American Indian families and Italian prisoners of war.

Helping visitors make personal connections to the people, places, stories and collections represented at Fort Vancouver National Historic Site is a major goal of National Park staff and volunteers. Please select one of the links above or to the right to see examples of what we're doing.

Klahowya and welcome to our establishment: Fort Vancouver National Historic Site!


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