1769—First permanent Spanish settlement, in San Diego
1811—John Jacob Astor establishes a trading post at Astoria, Ore.
1819—Spain withdraws claims to Oregon
1836—Marcus Whitman establishes the first white settlement near present-day Walla Walla, Wash.
1843—Settlers establish first provisional government in Oregon
1846—War between Mexico and the United States
1848—Mexico cedes California to the United States. Gold discovered at Sutter's Mill. Oregon Territory created.
1849—Gold rush brings more than 100,000 people to California
1850—California becomes the 31st state
1850—Donation Land Claim Act brings thousands of new settlers
1851—First settlers on the site of Seattle. Portland incorporated as a city.
1853—Washington Territory created. Levi Strauss sells durable "jeans" (originally brown) to gold miners.
1855—Hungarian Count Agoston Haraszthy founds California's first winery
1859—Oregon becomes 33rd state
1873—First San Francisco cable cars
1881—Northern Pacific Railroad reaches Spokane
1889—Washington becomes 42nd state
1906—San Francisco earthquake
1908—First Hollywood movie studio
1910—Angel Island, the "Ellis Island of the West," opens in San Francisco Bay
1914—Signposting begins on the forerunner of Route 66
1939—John Steinbeck chronicles the westward journey of "Okies" in The Grapes of Wrath
1940 —First Los Angeles freeway
1948—First McDonald's hamburger restaurant, in San Bernadino, Calif.
1955—Disneyland opens. Microsoft founder Bill Gates born in Seattle.
Trace your California ancestors with Family Tree Magazine's expert genealogy guides, including our California State Research Guide and our California Genealogy Crash Course hour-long video class. Both are available in ShopFamilyTree.com.