Students examine maps of Oregon from 1830 to the present day to see changes in the country’s borders. They learn the changing ownership of the land that would become the state of Oregon. Students note the differences between each of the maps—1830, 1850, and 1860.
This lesson is part of "Great States: Oregon | Unit 5: The Oregon Trail and Settling Oregon." Oregon’s unique role as the ultimate destination of the heavily traveled Oregon Trail will be considered in this unit.
4.8: Use geographical tools (e.g., maps, GIS, Google Earth) to identify absolute and relative locations and physical characteristics of places in Oregon.
SS.05.GE.01.01: Know and use basic map elements to answer geographic questions or display geographic information.
- Map: Contemporary Oregon
- An interactive whiteboard, projector, or another type of screen to show maps to the class
- Classroom set of Oregon’s Shifting Borders handout
- Describe the formation of states from the Oregon Territory, which was created in 1848. Prior to 1848, the United States and Britain jointly owned the territory; before that, it was occupied by Native Peoples. The Territory of Oregon existed from August 14, 1848, until February 14, 1859, when the southwestern portion of the territory was admitted to the union as the state of Oregon.
- Project the map, Contemporary Oregon, for the students, and disperse the Oregon’s Shifting Borders handout, which features maps of North America in 1830, 1850, and 1860. The current map will act as a reference point as students work through the handout.
[Source: Wikimedia Commons. “US Department of the Interior, US Geological Survey. National Atlas of the United States, National-atlas-oregon.png.” Page Last Modified: December 5, 2004, 10:56 EST.]
- Have students compare the three nineteenth-century maps to each other, noting changes in Oregon’s borders, ownership, and political status (territory or state).
- Great Britain and the United States shared the region known as Oregon.
- The border is smaller; Oregon lost territory in the north (that territory became part of Canada).
- United States
- The southern portion of the Oregon Territory was carved out; the rest was renamed the Washington Territory.
- United States