The Champoeg Meetings were the first attempts at formal governance by European-American and French Canadian pioneers in the Oregon Country on the Pacific Northwest coast of North America. Between 1841 and 1843, a series of public councils was held at Champoeg, a settlement on the French Prairie of the Willamette River valley in present-day Marion County, Oregon, and at surrounding settlements. The meetings were organized by newly arrived settlers as well as Protestant missionaries from the Methodist Mission and Catholic Jesuit priests from Canada.

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  • The Champoeg Meetings were the first attempts at formal governance by European-American and French Canadian pioneers in the Oregon Country on the Pacific Northwest coast of North America. Between 1841 and 1843, a series of public councils was held at Champoeg, a settlement on the French Prairie of the Willamette River valley in present-day Marion County, Oregon, and at surrounding settlements. The meetings were organized by newly arrived settlers as well as Protestant missionaries from the Methodist Mission and Catholic Jesuit priests from Canada. Since the first decade of the 19th century, a small but growing number of pioneers had settled in the Oregon Country, mostly to pursue business interests in the North American fur trade. Despite its economic value, the region was so vast and remote that it was left unorganized for several decades, with no European-American government in place to set laws and resolve disputes. Prior to the Champoeg Meetings, the closest thing to a government in the Oregon Country was the privately owned Hudson's Bay Company, which effected a loose authority mainly through the efforts of Dr. John McLoughlin at Fort Vancouver in present-day Vancouver, Washington. The death of prominent settler Ewing Young in 1841 stirred a group of settlers led by missionary Jason Lee to advocate for a settler-run local government in the region. The assemblies at Champoeg addressed issues of probate law and estate administration, how to reward hunters who killed animals preying on livestock, and how to compromise on a system of leadership for the proposed government. The meetings eventually culminated in a vote on May 2, 1843, which concluded in favor of forming what became the Provisional Government of Oregon. Though primarily supported by American pioneers and opposed by French Canadian settlers in anticipation of the region's annexation by the United States, several French Canadians also voted in favor of forming a provisional government. A state park and marker at the site of the May 2 vote commemorate the proceedings, as well as a large mural behind the desk of the Oregon Speaker of the House at the Oregon State Capitol in Salem. (en)
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  • The Champoeg Meetings were the first attempts at formal governance by European-American and French Canadian pioneers in the Oregon Country on the Pacific Northwest coast of North America. Between 1841 and 1843, a series of public councils was held at Champoeg, a settlement on the French Prairie of the Willamette River valley in present-day Marion County, Oregon, and at surrounding settlements. The meetings were organized by newly arrived settlers as well as Protestant missionaries from the Methodist Mission and Catholic Jesuit priests from Canada. (en)
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  • Champoeg Meetings (en)
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