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Before 1845, American Henry Williamson laid out a large claim west of the Hudson's Bay Company (including part of the present-day Port of Vancouver), called Vancouver City and properly registered his claim at the U. courthouse in Oregon City, before leaving for California. Soon after leaving Vancouver, he resigned from the army and did not serve again until the outbreak of the American Civil War.

Within another fifty years, other actions and diseases such as measles, malaria and influenza had reduced the Chinookan population from an estimated 80,000 "to a few dozen refugees, landless, slaveless and swindled out of a treaty." Meriwether Lewis wrote that the Vancouver area was "the only desired situation for settlement west of the Rocky Mountains." The first permanent European settlement did not occur until 1824, when Fort Vancouver was established as a fur trading post of the Hudson's Bay Company.Vancouver became the end point for two ultra-long flights from Moscow, USSR over the North Pole.Many Pacific Northwest residents distinguish between the two cities by referring to the Canadian city as "Vancouver, B.C." and the United States city as "Vancouver, Washington," or "Vancouver, USA." Local nicknames include: "Vantucky" (though the nickname is often used as a derogatory term)" In 2013, the nickname "Vansterdam" surfaced as a result of the legalization of marijuana in the state of Washington.

Originally established in 1825 around Fort Vancouver, a fur trading outpost, the city is located on the Washington-Oregon border along the Columbia River, directly north of Portland. Both cities were named after sea captain George Vancouver, but the American city is older; Vancouver, B. was incorporated 29 years after the incorporation of Vancouver, Washington and more than 60 years after the name Vancouver was first used in reference to the historic Fort Vancouver trading post on the Columbia River.

City officials have periodically suggested changing the U. city's name to Fort Vancouver to reduce confusion with its larger and better-known northern neighbor.

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