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Spanish expeditions to what is now Washington began with Juan Perez in 1774 and Bruno Hecate the following year who claimed the region for Spain. In 1792, Washington became a part of the Oregon Territory when George Vancouver claimed the region for England. But, the same year, the U.S. claimed the region when Robert Gray arrived in the area.

In 1811, John Jacob Astor established Astoria, the regions first trading post and the first permanent American settlement, For Okanogan. In 1818, England and the U.S. allowed settlers from both countries to move into the area. In 1825 John McLoughlin extablished the Fort Vancouver for the British Hudson Bay Company.

By the early 1840's, territorial disputes began to create the possibility of war. In 1846, a treaty was signed that created the 49th parallel as the border between Canada and Washington. This treaty gave the British control over Vancouver. By the time the region became the 42nd state on November 11, 1889, there were around 350,000 settlers in Washington.

Washington is a leader in the lumber industry with rich stands of spruce, cedar, hemlock, ponderosa pine, white pine and several other trees. It also produces more apples, pears, peas, cherries and raspberries than any other state. The fishing industry contributes a large portion of the states revenues including halibut and salmon.

The state is home to Boeing, the largest aircraft manufacturer in the world and the Microsoft Corporation. Important manufacturing industries include ship building, transportation equipment, missiles and chemicals. Also, the world's largest coffee chain, Starbucks was founded in Seattle.

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