Clatsop Indians lived here for thousands of years. In 1792, Capt. Robert Gray found the mouth of the River and sailed in with his ship, the Columbia Rediviva. In 1805, Lewis and Clark led their Expedition here and spent the winter at Fort Clatsop, just south of town. Astoria is the oldest American settlement west of the Rockies, dating from the fur trading post set up by John Jacob Astor's men in 1811. There's a small park and a partial replica at the site of the original post at 15th and Franklin. John Jacob Astor never visited Astoria.
The United States and England went to war in 1812. In 1813 a British warship sailed into the Columbia River to capture the post and take control of the fur trade. Astor's fur traders beat them to the punch by selling the post to the British NorthWest Company. From 1813 to 1818, the British owned Astoria and it was known as Fort George. In 1818, a treaty with England established joint occupation of the Oregon Country, as it was called then. The boundary was set at the 49th Parallel. The British did not completely abandon Astoria until 1846.
A hundred years ago, Astoria was the second largest city in Oregon with a population of 8,975. The population now is just over 10,000.