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North West Company builds Fort Nez Perce on future site of Wallula in 1818.
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In 1818, the North West Company builds Fort Nez Perce on the Columbia River at the mouth of the Walla Walla River. The North West Company competes with the Hudson's Bay Company for control of the fur trade in Western Canada and the Northwest. The post will be called Fort Walla Walla (distinct from the U.S. Army's Fort Walla Walla on the site of present-day Walla Walla) and it will operate until 1855, when it will be abandoned due to war with the Native Americans.
Donald McKenzie supervised the erection of a pallisade of planks, 20 feet high and six inches thick. Bastions at each corner housed cannon and 200 gallons of water apiece in the event of seige. The establishment was dubbed The Gibraltar of the Columbia. Alexander Ross was the first factor for the post.
The Hudson's Bay Company acquired the North West Company in 1822 and in 1831, it rebuilt Fort Nez Perce. In 1841, the fort burned down and was rebuilt out of adobe brick.
The post was abandoned during the Indian War of 1855-1856. The site became the town of Wallula.
Robert A. Bennet, Walla Walla, Portrait of a Western Town: 1804-1899 (Walla Walla: Pioneer Press Books, 1980), 13-17; National Park Service, Whitman Mission Website (www.nps.gov/whmi/educate/whmitg/1whmi3.htm).
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