Picture for article "History of Yakima"

History of Yakima

About Yakima

Yakima is the county headquarters of Yakima County in Washington, as well as the state's eleventh-largest city by population. The city has a total population of 96,968 as of the 2020 census, with a metropolitan population of 256,728. West Valley and Terrace Heights, both unincorporated suburbs, are considered to be part of larger Yakima.

Yakima is located in Washington, about 60 miles (100 kilometers) southeast of Mount Rainier. It is located in the Yakima Valley, a fertile agricultural region known for producing apples, wine, and hops. The Yakima Valley accounts for 77% of all hops cultivated in the United States. Yakima gets its name from the Yakama Nation Native American tribe, whose reserve is located to the city's south.

The Yakama were the Yakima Valley's first known residents. The Lewis and Clark Expedition arrived in the region in 1805 and reported plentiful wildlife and fertile land, leading homesteaders to settle. In 1847, a Catholic Mission was established in Ahtanum, southwest of present-day Yakima.

The Yakima War

The Yakima War erupted as a result of the entrance of settlers and subsequent clashes with Indians. In reaction to the insurrection, the United States Army erected Fort Simcoe near the present-day White Swan in 1856. After being vanquished, the Yakamas were compelled to migrate to the Yakama Indian Reservation.

Yakima County was established in 1865. When the Northern Pacific Railroad bypassed the town in December 1884, approximately 100 structures were relocated using rollers and horse teams to the neighboring depot site.

Yakima on Map
Yakima on Map

Latest History

North Yakima, the new city, was officially established and given the county seat on January 27, 1886. In 1918, the name was changed to Yakima. Union Gap was the new name given to Yakima's original location.

Mount St. Helens erupted on May 18, 1980, dumping a considerable volume of volcanic ash in the Yakima region. The ash decreased visibility to near-zero levels that afternoon, and the ash overloaded the city's wastewater treatment system.