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 Cascades Volcano Observatory, Vancouver, Washington
Volcanoes and History

Naming the Cascade Range Volcanoes
Mount Rainier, Washington


Mount Rainier, the largest peak in Washington State, was named on May 8, 1792, by Captian George Vancouver. He called the peak "Mount Rainier" after his friend Rear Admiral Peter Rainier.
"... The weather was serene and pleasant, and the country continued to exhibit, between us and the eastern snowy range, the same luxuriant appearance. At its northern extremity, mount Baker bore by compass N. 22 E.; the round snowy mountain, now forming its southern extremmy, and which, after my friend Rear Admiral Rainier, I distinguished by the name of MOUNT RAINIER, bore N. [S.] 42 E. ... "
[Captain George Vancouver, May 8, 1792]


And who was Rear Admiral Peter Rainier? According to the U.S. Navy Website, USS Rainier, AOE-7 (2002):
"... Mount Rainier, or "Tahoma" as it was named by the Northwest Native Americans, was named after then Rear Admiral Peter Rainier, R.N. in 1792 by Captain George Vancouver. Born in 1741, Peter Rainier entered the Royal Navy in 1756. He served on the HMS OXFORD, YARMOUTH, NORFOLK, and BURFORD. In 1790 he commanded the MONARCH and early in 1793 commissioned the SUFFOLK which had 74 guns. In 1799 Peter Rainier was promoted to the rank of Vice-Admiral. He was stationed in the East Indies as Commodore and Commander-in-Chief until 1804. After his return to England and his retirement from active service, he continued to be consulted by the ministry on questions relating to the East India station. In 1805 he was advanced to the rank of Admiral. He became a member of Parliament in 1807 and died in 1808. ..."


Various Native American names for Mount Rainier were "Tahoma", "Takhoma", "Ta-co-bet", and several others.

 

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03/09/11, Lyn Topinka