1603 - Columbia River first seen by Europeans

Looking east up the Columbia River gorge

     Four years before the founding of Jamestown, Spanish adventurer Martin Aguilar, of the Vizcaino expedition, sees the mouth of the Columbia from the crows nest of a Spanish galleon.  (click here for more on the Columbia)   He was prevented from entering the estuary by the river's strong currents, and nearly two centuries would pass before American sea captain Robert Gray claimed the river for the United States, in 1792.