The Pacific Northwest is a region in western North America bounded by the Pacific Ocean to the west and, loosely, by the Rocky Mountains on the east. Though no universally agreed upon boundary exists, a common conception includes the U.S. states of Oregon and Washington and the Canadian province of British Columbia. Broader conceptions reach north into Alaska and Yukon, south into the coastal and mountainous regions of Northern California,including San Francisco, and east into Idaho, western Montana, and western Wyoming to the Continental Divide. Narrower conceptions may be limited to the Northwestern U.S. or to the coastal areas west of the Cascade and Coast mountains. The variety of definitions can be attributed to partially overlapping commonalities of the region's history, geography, society, and other factors.
The Northwest Coast is the coastal regions of the Pacific Northwest and the Northwest Plateau (also commonly known as "The Interior" in British Columbia and the Inland Empire in the United States) is the inland regions. The term "Pacific Northwest" should not be confused with the Northwest Territory (also known as the Great Northwest, a historic term in the United States) or the Northwest Territories of Canada.
The region's largest metropolitan areas are Seattle/Tacoma, Washington, with 3.4 million people; Vancouver, British Columbia, with 2.4 million people; and the Portland metropolitan area, with 2.2 million people.
A key aspect of the Pacific Northwest is the US–Canada international border, which the United States and the United Kingdom established at a time when the region's inhabitants were still overwhelmingly Indigenous Americans. The border — in two sections, along the 49th parallel south of British Columbia and the Alaska Panhandle west of northern British Columbia — has had a powerful effect on the region. According to Canadian historian Ken Coates, the border has not merely influenced the Pacific Northwest—rather, "the region's history and character have been determined by the boundary".
Famous quotes containing the words pacific and/or northwest:
“I need not tell you of the inadequacy of the American shipping marine on the Pacific Coast.... For this reason it seems to me that there is no subject to which Congress can better devote its attention in the coming session than the passage of a bill which shall encourage our merchant marine in such a way as to establish American lines directly between New York and the eastern ports and South American ports, and both our Pacific Coast ports and the Orient and the Philippines.”
—William Howard Taft (18571930)
“I got my first clear view of Ktaadn, on this excursion, from a hill about two miles northwest of Bangor, whither I went for this purpose. After this I was ready to return to Massachusetts.”
—Henry David Thoreau (18171862)