A Proud Tradition & Promising Future Although the Port of Olympia's history extends back to 1922, the maritime heritage of Olympia, Tumwater and the entire Puget Sound area dates back tens of thousands of years. The first residents of the area, now known as South Sound, were the Salish people of the North Pacific Coast. They, like the European-American settlers who followed them, used watercraft to transport themselves and their goods to trading and cultural sites throughout the Pacific Northwest.
The first contact between Native American and European people came with the arrival of British Navy Lieutenant Peter Puget as part of the 1792 expedition of Captain George Vancouver. In 1831, the British Hudson's Bay Company established the first settlement in the South Sound area at Nisqually. Ten years later, the first United States expedition arrived, and in 1845-1846, American pioneers established settlements at Tumwater and Olympia.