The modern name of this volcano was given to it by Captain George Vancouver in 1792. He named it in honor of Alleyne Fitzherbert, who was the British ambassador to Spain. Fitzherbert held the title of Baron St. Helens.
Before Captain Vancouver named the volcano, Native Americans living in the Pacific Northwest referred to it as "Louwala-Clough," which meant "smoking mountain."
Mount St. Helens was considered an inactive volcano until it erupted in 1980, reminding the world that it was as dangerous as volcanoes found in Hawaii and Alaska. After that famous explosion, researchers began studying the volcano and discovered it had erupted on several different occasions, some as early as 40,000 years before.