Founded in 1832 as Fort Vancouver, the place became part of the United States after America extended its control to the 49th parallel in 1846. During WWII, the city of Vancouver, Washington became an important ship building center. The city is in the Metropolitan Portland area on the north shore of the Columbia River. Recent annexation has increased the city's land area from 15 square miles to 45. Further annexations are planned which will eventually make Vancouver the state's second largest city, passing both Tacoma and Spokane. Clark County is one of the fastest growing counties in the Pacific Northwest.