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Oregon Republic (Canton Madness)

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Flag of Oregon (reverse)

Flag of the Oregon Republic

The Oregon Republic was a Confederation founded on March 22, 1852, from the disputed Oregon Territory and Columbia District in the Pacific Northwest.  The Confederation was formed as a result of the Canton Madness epidemic which swept over North America from 1846 to 1860, leaving the colonial powers interested in the region - Britain, the United States, and to a lesser degree, Mexico and Russia - unable to exert control over their settlers or their claims.

History and Founding

The Oregon Republic was originally a disputed area in the Pacific Northwest, variously claimed by Spain, Mexico, the Russian Empire, the United States and Great Britain; however, by the 1840s, the two primary claimants for the land were Britain the the United States.  The area was sparsely populated by British, French, and American trappers and traders, in addition to the larger Native American population. 

In 1844, the Canton Madness epidemic had spread to the New World through Mexico.  The disease spread through the West until, in 1845, the first cases of infected animals and men appeared in the Willamette Valley. 

Unlike the more densely populated regions to the South and East, the Oregon Country suffered relatively lightly from the depredations of the infected.  With the majority of the population cloistered around military forts that had served as trading posts or in widely scattered Native bands, the population was reduced by only 12%, in comparison to the much higher rates in the cities to to the east. 

As the epidemic ravaged and weakened the British and Americans, their hold on the disputed territories was sorely diminished, leaving the scattered trading posts to fend for themselves.

In November 1851, American lawyer Peter H. Burnett called forth representatives from the major trading posts and towns, and in December of that year, established a unified administration for the disparate settlements between 42°N latitude and 54°40′N latitude.  A second regional Congress was called in February of 1852, with representatives of the major Native tribes present, and on March 22, 1852, declared its autonomy from both Britain and the United States, forming the Confederal Republic of the Oregon, commonly called the Oregon Republic.  The declaration was unopposed by either Washington or London.  Formal recognition came from France in June of that year; Russia, Mexico, and the Ottomans followed suit the following month.  London would not recognize the nation until 1855, Washington refused to recognize it until 1863.

Divisions

The nation would be divided into two separate political entities, Tribal Lands and States.  The States and Tribes held equal amount of political clout, for each held two votes in the Senate.  The represented Tribal Lands were the Kootenai Confederacy, the Palus-Nez Perce County, the Cascadia County, and the Union of the Olympics, whereas the Euro-American Land was cut up into the Province of the Willamette and Lower Columbia, the Province of the Okanagan Valley, the Fraser Province, and the Ute-Mormon Province.  Technological and idealogical interactions between the Provinces and the Tribes resulted in rapid development and industrialization of the Natives.

Cities

Cities in the Oregon Republic began developing in 1850s, but would not reach their full bloom until the middle of the 1860s.  They were laid out in Roman grib fashion and usually surrounded by ramparts and fortifications to defend against incursions by the infected.  The first such city to flower was Portland, in the Province of the Willamette and Lower Columbia. 

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