When Oregon considered becoming a state, settlers worked to come up with a name for the remaining area of Oregon Territory. The original plan was to name it Columbia, after the Columbia River, an important route in the territory. When this suggestion was turned down by the politicians in the District of Columbia (they were afraid of confusion), settlers chose to name the territory in honor of the United States' first president, George Washington. Characteristic of this state's humor, there is now a town of George, Washington.
Events in Washington's recorded history note it as the location from which Lewis and Clark first viewed the Pacific Ocean in November 1805. It also served as a key location for miners during the Gold Rush era. Many Native American people have held great influence in the ever-changing role of Washington State. The eruption of Mt. St. Helens in 1980 also placed a spotlight on this region.
Major industries include logging, apples, fishing, aeronautics, agriculture, computer hardware and software, and tourism.