In the year 1810 John Astor established a fort at the site of the present town of Astoria. Being near the mouth of the Columbia River, it was an ideal spot for his “Pacific Fur Company.” He employed a number of Canadian French, along with some Ojibway and Iroquois Indians from the east. In three years Fort Astoria became the property of the British Northwest Fur Company, which merged with the Hudson’s Bay Company in 1821. In 1824 the Hudson’s Bay post was established at Fort Vancouver.
Natives from the interior and along the coast always played an integral role in the fur trade, the men being trappers or middle-men, and the women often negotiating the exchanges for goods with other Indians or the fur companies. The lingua franca for these dealings was the developing Jargon. Many of the French gradually left the fur companies and took up farming in the Willamette Valley, among other trades. Marriage with native women from far and near was common and communities were formed in which there was no common language other than “Chinook Jargon.” The first language of these children was “Chinook.”
By the 1840s there seems to have been, for the most part, a fairly standardized vocabulary which was actually being referred to as “Chinook Jargon.”