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The Santé Fe Trail started from Independence Missouri, and ends 1200 miles later in Santé Fe, New Mexico, and the trail goes through 5 states.
Before 1821, early American explorers and mountain men made the trip to Santé Fe on horseback with small strings of pack horses. Their route followed a winding path of Native American trails. As Santé Fe, in this time was not part of the U.S. territory, open trading was forbidden but, a few goods were smuggled in secretly.
In 1821, Mexico gained independence from Spain and trade barriers were removed. In 1821, William Becknell traveled from Missouri to open trading between the U.S. and Mexico, in Santé Fe. In the next 20 years, about 8 0 wagons and 150 people traveled the trail each year. The Mexican American war ended in 1846, and Santé Fe became part of the U.S. territory.
There was serious danger of Native American attacks for the Comanches and Apaches did not tolerate trespassers. Lack of food and water made the trail risky. Weather conditions, especially huge lightning storms, were difficult because there was no where to take cover from the storms. Rattle snakes were a threat as many people died of snake bites. Another hardship they faced on the trail was quick sand.
Fort Lerned Cimarron Cutoff Independence, Missouri Santé Fe, New Mexico Bent’s Fort
1. Independence, Missouri 2. Fort Lerned 3. Cimarron Cutoff 4. Bent’s Fort 5. Santé Fe, New Mexico
The Santé Fe trail enabled U.S. soldiers to fight in the Mexican American war in 1847 which resulted in the South Western portion of the country, becoming a U.S. territory. This enabled the United States to go from the Atlantic Ocean, to the Pacific Ocean and help achieve manifest destiny. U.S. expansion meant the ultimate removal of the Native American’s land and their way of life being destroyed.