Prior to inhabitation by Europeans and Americans, the area we know of today as Vancouver, Washington was inhabited by a variety of Native American tribes, most recently the Chinook and Klickitat tribes with permanent settlements of timber longhouses. The Chinookan and Klickitat names for the area were reportedly Skit-so-to-ho and Ala-si-kas, respectively, meaning "land of the mud-turtles." William Clark and Meriwether Lewis camped there in 1806 with the Lewis and Clark Expedition.
The city of Vancouver was named after Captain George Vancouver (1757–1798) a British officer of the Royal Navy, best known for his 1791 to 1795 expedition, which explored and charted North America's northwestern Pacific Coast regions, including the coasts of contemporary British Columbia, Canada and Alaska, Washington and Oregon. He also explored the Hawaiian Islands and the southwest coast of Australia
The first permanent European settlement did not occur until 1824, when Fort Vancouver was established as a fur trading post of the Hudson’s Bay Company. From that time on, the area was settled by both the US and Britain under a "joint occupation" agreement. Joint occupation led to the Oregon boundary dispute and ended on June 15, 1846, with the signing of the Oregon Treaty, which gave the United States full control of the area.
Before 1845, American Henry Williamson laid out a large claim west of the Hudson's Bay Company (including part of the present-day Port of Vancouver), called Vancouver City and properly registered his claim at the U.S. courthouse in Oregon City, before leaving for California.