The first Native Americans arrived between twelve to eight thousand years ago and were hunter-gatherer societies that lived off the plentiful game in the area. Over time the forests in the area began to thin out, Spokane Tribe became more dependent upon roots, berries and fish settled in the region, or descendants of tribes from the Great Plains. The Northwest Fur Company sent two white fur trappers west of the Rocky Mountains to search for fur, became the first two white men met by the Spokane tribe, who believed them to be Sama/sacred, and set the trappers up in the Colville River valley for the winter. Canadian David Thompson explored the Spokane area and began European settlement with the westward expansion and establishment of the North West Company’s Spokane House in 1810.
Spokane House was the first long-term European settlement in Washington and the center of the fur trade between the Rockies and the Cascades. In the late 1800s, gold and silver were discovered to be one of the most productive mining districts in North America. "Spokan Falls" was settled in 1871 and officially incorporated as City of Spokane in 1881, which name comes from the Native American Tribe known as the Spokane, which means "Children of the Sun" in Salish. Spokane is nick named "Lilac City", after the flowers that have flourished since their introduction to the area in the early 20th century. Completion of the Northern Pacific Railway in 1881 brought major settlement to the Spokane area and became known as "Inland Empire".