The Northwestern United States is an area that is generally defined to be composed of the states of Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming. A distinctive feature of the Northwest is the Cascade Mountain Range which separates the lush coastal regions of Washington and Oregon from the rest of the region. The coastal areas are rich in timber and are lucrative centers of international commerce and business. Eastern Washington and Oregon along with the other states tend more towards prairie with abundant farm and pasture lands. Mining is also more common in Idaho and Montana in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains.
The Northwestern States were formed largely from the Oregon Territory with portions of Montana and Wyoming coming from the Louisiana Purchase and Mexican Cession. Most of the states entered the Union in the later 1800s with Oregon being the only state to enter the Union before 1889. Much of this region was rugged pioneer country until the mid 1900s and today ranching, logging, and other outdoor professions as well as tourism related to national parks and pioneer historic sites remains quite common.
The coastal states developed into manufacturing and trade centers during and after World War 2 and today remain prime centers for trade, business, and the development of ecommerce. The Northwest region in general has experienced a great deal of economic and population growth in recent years. Fishing and water sports has long been a pastime along the coast, primarily in Puget Sound in Washington State.