Santa Fe Trail

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Santa Fe Trail
Map of Santa Fe Trail-NPS.jpg
Map of the Santa Fe Trail
Location Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Colorado
Governing body National Park Service
Website Santa Fe National Historic Trail

The Santa Fe Trail was a 19th-century transportation route through central North America that connected Franklin, Missouri with Santa Fe, New Mexico. [1] [2] [3] [4] Pioneered in 1821 by William Becknell, who departed from the Boonslick region along the Missouri River, the trail served as a vital commercial highway until the introduction of the railroad to Santa Fe in 1880. Santa Fe was near the end of the El Camino Real de Tierra Adentro, which carried trade from Mexico City.

Franklin, Missouri City in Missouri, United States

Franklin is a city in Howard County, Missouri, United States. It is located along the Missouri River. Located in a rural area, the population was 95 at the 2010 census. It is part of the Columbia, Missouri Metropolitan Statistical Area.

Santa Fe, New Mexico State capital city in New Mexico, United States

Santa Fe is the capital of the U.S. state of New Mexico. It is the fourth-largest city in the state and the seat of Santa Fe County.

New Mexico State of the United States of America

New Mexico is a state in the Southwestern region of the United States of America; its capital and cultural center is Santa Fe, which was founded in 1610 as capital of Nuevo México, while its largest city is Albuquerque with its accompanying metropolitan area. It is one of the Mountain States and shares the Four Corners region with Utah, Colorado, and Arizona; its other neighboring states are Oklahoma to the northeast, Texas to the east-southeast, and the Mexican states of Chihuahua to the south and Sonora to the southwest. With a population around two million, New Mexico is the 36th state by population. With a total area of 121,592 sq mi (314,920 km2), it is the fifth-largest and sixth-least densely populated of the 50 states. Due to their geographic locations, northern and eastern New Mexico exhibit a colder, alpine climate, while western and southern New Mexico exhibit a warmer, arid climate.


The route skirted the northern edge and crossed the north-western corner of Comancheria, the territory of the Comanches, who demanded compensation for granting passage to the trail, and represented another market for American traders. Comanche raiding farther south in Mexico isolated New Mexico, making it more dependent on the American trade, and provided the Comanches with a steady supply of horses for sale. By the 1840s, trail traffic along the Arkansas Valley was so heavy that bison herds could not reach important seasonal grazing land, contributing to their collapse, which in turn hastened the decline of Comanche power in the region. [5]

Comancheria Former region of New Mexico

The Comancheria is the region of New Mexico, west Texas and nearby areas occupied by the Comanche before the 1860s.

The American army used the trail route in 1846 for the invasion of New Mexico during the Mexican–American War. [6]

Mexican–American War Armed conflict between the United States of America and Mexico from 1846 to 1848

The Mexican–American War, also known in the United States as the Mexican War and in Mexico as the Intervención estadounidense en México, was an armed conflict between the United States of America and the Second Federal Republic of Mexico from 1846 to 1848. It followed in the wake of the 1845 American annexation of the Republic of Texas, not formally recognized by the Mexican government, disputing the Treaties of Velasco signed by the unstable Mexican caudillo President/General Antonio López de Santa Anna after the Texas Revolution a decade earlier. In 1845, newly elected U.S. President James K. Polk, who saw the annexation of Texas as the first step towards a further expansion of the United States, sent troops to the disputed area and a diplomatic mission to Mexico. After Mexican forces attacked American forces, Polk cited this in his request that Congress declare war.

After the U.S. acquisition of the Southwest ending the war, the trail helped open the region to U.S. economic development and settlement, playing a vital role in the expansion of the U.S. into the lands it had acquired. The road route is commemorated today by the National Park Service as the Santa Fe National Historic Trail. A highway route that roughly follows the trail's path through the entire length of Kansas, the southeast corner of Colorado and northern New Mexico has been designated as the Santa Fe Trail National Scenic Byway.

Southwestern United States Geographical region of the USA

The Southwestern United States, also known as the American Southwest, is the informal name for a region of the western United States. Definitions of the region's boundaries vary a great deal and have never been standardized, though many boundaries have been proposed. For example, one definition includes the stretch from the Mojave Desert in California to Carlsbad, New Mexico, and from the Mexico–United States border to the southern areas of Colorado, Utah, and Nevada. The largest metropolitan areas are centered around Phoenix, Las Vegas, Tucson, Albuquerque, and El Paso. Those five metropolitan areas have an estimated total population of more than 9.6 million as of 2017, with nearly 60 percent of them living in the two Arizona cities—Phoenix and Tucson.

National Park Service United States federal agency

The National Park Service (NPS) is an agency of the United States federal government that manages all national parks, many national monuments, and other conservation and historical properties with various title designations. It was created on August 25, 1916, by Congress through the National Park Service Organic Act and is an agency of the United States Department of the Interior. The NPS is charged with a dual role of preserving the ecological and historical integrity of the places entrusted to its management, while also making them available and accessible for public use and enjoyment.

Kansas State of the United States of America

Kansas is a U.S. state in the Midwestern United States. Its capital is Topeka and its largest city is Wichita, with its most populated county being Johnson County. Kansas is bordered by Nebraska on the north; Missouri on the east; Oklahoma on the south; and Colorado on the west. Kansas is named after the Kansas River, which in turn was named after the Kansa Native Americans who lived along its banks. The tribe's name is often said to mean "people of the (south) wind" although this was probably not the term's original meaning. For thousands of years, what is now Kansas was home to numerous and diverse Native American tribes. Tribes in the eastern part of the state generally lived in villages along the river valleys. Tribes in the western part of the state were semi-nomadic and hunted large herds of bison.


Arrival of the caravan at Santa Fe, lithograph published c.1844 Arrival of the caravan at Santa Fe, c. 1844.jpg
Arrival of the caravan at Santa Fe, lithograph published c.1844
Former U.S. Army outpost on the Santa Fe Trail, now a rest area on I-25 in northern New Mexico Santa Fe Trail outpost.JPG
Former U.S. Army outpost on the Santa Fe Trail, now a rest area on I-25 in northern New Mexico

The Santa Fe Trail was a transportation route opened by the Spaniards at the end of the 18th century and used afterwards by the Americans in the 19th century, crossing the southwest of North America connecting Independence, Missouri with Santa Fe, New Mexico.

The French explorer Pedro Vial pioneered the route in 1792 and the Santa Fe Trail was established in 1822 to take advantage of new trade opportunities with Mexico, which had just won independence from Spain in the Mexican War of Independence. The trail was used to haul manufactured goods from the state of Missouri in the United States to Santa Fe, which was in the northern Mexican state of Nuevo Mexico . [7]

Pedro Vial, or Pierre Vial,, was a French explorer and frontiersman who lived among the Comanche and Wichita Indians for many years. He later worked for the Spanish government as a peacemaker, guide, and interpreter. He blazed trails across the Great Plains to connect the Spanish and French settlements in Texas, New Mexico, Missouri, and Louisiana. He led three Spanish expeditions that attempted unsuccessfully to intercept and halt the Lewis and Clark Expedition.

Mexico Country in the southern portion of North America

Mexico, officially the United Mexican States, is a country in the southern portion of North America. It is bordered to the north by the United States; to the south and west by the Pacific Ocean; to the southeast by Guatemala, Belize, and the Caribbean Sea; and to the east by the Gulf of Mexico. Covering almost 2,000,000 square kilometres (770,000 sq mi), the nation is the fifth largest country in the Americas by total area and the 13th largest independent state in the world. With an estimated population of over 120 million people, the country is the tenth most populous state and the most populous Spanish-speaking state in the world, while being the second most populous nation in Latin America after Brazil. Mexico is a federation comprising 31 states and Mexico City, a special federal entity that is also the capital city and its most populous city. Other metropolises in the state include Guadalajara, Monterrey, Puebla, Toluca, Tijuana and León.

Spain Kingdom in Southwest Europe

Spain, officially the Kingdom of Spain, is a country mostly located in Europe. Its continental European territory is situated on the Iberian Peninsula. Its territory also includes two archipelagoes: the Canary Islands off the coast of Africa, and the Balearic Islands in the Mediterranean Sea. The African enclaves of Ceuta, Melilla, and Peñón de Vélez de la Gomera make Spain the only European country to have a physical border with an African country (Morocco). Several small islands in the Alboran Sea are also part of Spanish territory. The country's mainland is bordered to the south and east by the Mediterranean Sea except for a small land boundary with Gibraltar; to the north and northeast by France, Andorra, and the Bay of Biscay; and to the west and northwest by Portugal and the Atlantic Ocean.

The wagon trains followed various emigrant trails to points west as people responded to the opportunity to hold free land, and as the political philosophy of Manifest Destiny dominated national political discussions. Connecting riverboat port cities and their wagon train outfitters to western destinations, the trail was a fundamentally important trade route, carrying manufactured products from the central plains of United States to the trail head towns St. Joseph and Independence, Missouri. In the 1820s–30s, it was also sporadically important in the reverse trade, carrying foods and supplies to the fur trappers and mountain men opening the remote Northwest, especially in the interior Northwest: Idaho, Wyoming, Colorado, and Montana, connecting via mule trail (trapper's trails) to points north to supply the lucrative overland fur trade.

Wagon train A group of wagons travelling together

A wagon train is a group of wagons traveling together. Before the extensive use of military vehicles, baggage trains followed an army with supplies and ammunition.

Trade route series of roads, pathways and stoppages for commercial trade on land; excludes rail

A trade route is a logistical network identified as a series of pathways and stoppages used for the commercial transport of cargo. The term can also be used to refer to trade over bodies of water. Allowing goods to reach distant markets, a single trade route contains long distance arteries, which may further be connected to smaller networks of commercial and noncommercial transportation routes. Among notable trade routes was the Amber Road, which served as a dependable network for long-distance trade. Maritime trade along the Spice Route became prominent during the Middle Ages, when nations resorted to military means for control of this influential route. During the Middle Ages, organizations such as the Hanseatic League, aimed at protecting interests of the merchants, and trade became increasingly prominent.

Independence, Missouri Satellite Town in Missouri, United States

Independence is the fifth-largest city in the U.S. state of Missouri. It lies within Jackson County, of which it is the county seat. Independence is a satellite city of Kansas City, Missouri, and is part of the Kansas City metropolitan area. In 2010, it had a total population of 116,830.

North–South trade

Santa Fe was near the northern terminus of El Camino Real de Tierra Adentro, which led overland from Mexico City to San Juan Pueblo, New Mexico.

The limited trade traffic transited the site that would become Fort Bent in Colorado (directly on the Santa Fe Trail) and the short-lived trading fort (name, owner, management, dates all uncertain) that sat astride the Trapper's Trail and Oregon Trail junction point. This post was only eight miles east of the site of Fort John (now Ft. Laramie) (ca. 1833) on what became the Oregon Trail (1832–34). [8] The lost fort was on the same site where Fort Bernard was later founded (1866) in the eastern Oregon Country (Wyoming). That Fort Bernard ran cargo mule trains to the Santa Fe is historically certain. The earlier Fort and its traders are less certain, suggesting that they might have been independents and not employees of the large fur companies. Regardless of the lack of explicit documents, it is known the light trading with Mexico used the trail and Trapper's Trail.

Importance of Santa Fe

Map of the Republic of Texas showing lands claimed by Texas after 1836 and present-day outline of New Mexico on the boundaries of 1836-1845 Wpdms republic of texas.svg
Map of the Republic of Texas showing lands claimed by Texas after 1836 and present-day outline of New Mexico on the boundaries of 1836–1845

In 1825, the merchant Manuel Escudero of Chihuahua was commissioned by New Mexico governor Bartolome Baca to negotiate in Washington for opening U.S. borders to traders from Mexico. Beginning in 1826, prominent aristocratic families of New Mexicans, such as the Chávezes, Armijos, Pereas and Oteros entered into the commerce along the trail, such that by 1843, traders from New Mexico and Chihuahua had become the majority of traders involved in the traffic of goods over the Santa Fe Trail. [9]

In 1835, Mexico City had sent Albino Pérez to govern the department of New Mexico as Jefe Politico (political chief or governor) and as commanding military officer. In 1837, the forces of Rio Arriba (the upper Rio Grande, i.e., northern New Mexico) rebelled against Pérez' enforcement of the recent Mexican constitution, new revenue laws taxing Santa Fe commerce and entertainment, and the large grants of New Mexico land to wealthy Mexicans. New Mexicans had grown to appreciate the relative freedoms of a frontier, remote from Mexico City. The rebels defeated and executed governor Albino Perez, but were later ousted by the forces of Rio Abajo (the lower Rio Grande, or southern New Mexico) led by Manuel Armijo. [10]

Conflict between Texas and Mexico

The Republic of Texas claimed Santa Fe as part of the territory north and east of the Rio Grande claimed by both Mexico and Texas following its secession from Mexico in 1836.

In 1841, a small military and trading expedition departed from Austin, Texas representing the Republic of Texas and their president Mirabeau B. Lamar. Their aim was to persuade the people of Santa Fe and New Mexico to relinquish control over the territory under dispute with Mexico, and over the associated Santa Fe Trail commerce. Having knowledge of the recent political disturbances, they believed that they might be welcomed by the rebellious faction in New Mexico. Known as the Texan Santa Fe Expedition, the Texans encountered many difficulties and were subsequently captured by governor Armijo's Mexican army under less than honest negotiations. They were then subjected to harsh and austere treatment during a tortuous forced march to Mexico City, for trial and imprisonment. [11]

In 1842, Colonel William A. Christy wrote the president of Texas, Sam Houston, requesting support for a scheme by Charles Warfield to raise forces to overthrow the Mexican provinces of New Mexico and Chihuahua and return half of the spoils to the Republic of Texas. Sam Houston agreed, with the provision that the operation be held under the strictest secrecy. Charles was made a colonel and attempted to raise volunteers in Texas, St. Louis, and the southern Rockies for a Warfield Expedition. He recruited John McDaniel and a small band of men in the proximate vicinity of St. Louis, giving McDaniel the rank of a Texas captain. After Charles headed toward the Rockies with a companion, McDaniel led a robbery in the April, 1843 (in present-day Rice County, Kansas) of a sparsely manned Santa Fe Trail trading caravan, resulting in the murder of its leader Antonio José Chávez, the son of a former governor Francisco Xavier Chávez of New Mexico. [12] [13] It was reported that Warfield was unaware of the crime, which later resulted in the execution of McDaniel and one accomplice, and in the imprisonment of those participants whom U.S. authorities were able to hunt down. The news media reported that Americans and Mexicans were outraged by the crime. Local merchants and citizens at the U.S. end of the Santa Fe Trail demanded justice and a return to the stable commerce that their economy had grown to depend upon. [9]

After the murder of Chávez, Warfield began limited military hostilities using recruits from the southern Rockies. He made an unprovoked attack on Mexican troops outside of Mora, New Mexico, leaving five dead. Warfield's horses were lost in Wagon Mound to the Mexican forces which had made chase, and after reaching Bent's Fort on foot, Warfield's men disbanded. In February, 1843 Colonel Jacob Snively had received a commission to intercept Mexican caravans along the Santa Fe Trail, similar to the commission received by Warfield the year prior. After disbanding the volunteers under his command, Warfield located and joined the 190 man Texas "Battalion of Invincibles," under the command of Snively. New Mexico governor Manuel Armijo led Mexican troops out of Santa Fe for the protection of the incoming caravans, but after the Invincibles wiped out an advanced party led by Captain Ventura Lovato, the governor retreated. Following this battle, Snively's force was reduced to little over 100 men due to resignations. [9] The Snively Expedition plan was to plunder Mexican merchant caravans on territory claimed by Texas, in retaliation for recent Texian executions and Mexican invasions, but it was quickly arrested and disarmed by United States escorting troops. [14] Captain Philip St. George Cooke allowed the Invincibles to return to Texas after disarming them. [9]

Mother of the railroad

Connections along the Santa Fe Railroad, showing the principal regular stops on the AT&SF mainline, including cattle drive destinations such as Dodge City. It is no accident that most of those Kansas, Colorado, and New Mexican towns were also first serviced by the Santa Fe Trail. Grand Canyon Route of the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railway 1900-05.jpg
Connections along the Santa Fe Railroad, showing the principal regular stops on the AT&SF mainline, including cattle drive destinations such as Dodge City. It is no accident that most of those Kansas, Colorado, and New Mexican towns were also first serviced by the Santa Fe Trail.

In 1863, with all the political bickering over railroad legislation, entrepreneurs opened their pockets and set their sights on the American Southwest leading to the gradual construction east to west of the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway; the name eponymously reflecting the intentions of the founders, the expected eastern terminus to be in Atchison, Kansas.

Inside Kansas, the AT&SF roadbed roughly paralleled the Santa Fe Trail west of Topeka as it expanded between 1868 and 1874. When a railroad bridge was built across the Missouri River to connect eastern markets to the Dodge City cattle trail and Colorado coal mines, the railroad spurred the growth of Kansas City. Kansas City was on the opposite shore from Saint Joseph, Missouri, one of several trail head towns feeding settlers into the American West. Building the railway so that it extended westwards to destinations in and beyond the New Mexico border was delayed and kept the fledgling railroad gasping for cash. In a move to bootstrap their own base market, the railway began offering packaged "Shopping Excursion deals" to potential buyers desiring to look over a real estate parcel. The railroad began to discount such trips to visit its land offices and gave back the ticket price as part of the purchase price, if a sale was concluded.

The railroad's sale of its land granted by congress fostered growth of new towns and businesses along its route, which generated railway traffic and revenues. With this financial base, the railway extended west, gradually adding new connections through rougher west country along the western Trail. With the development of rail transport, traffic on the Trail soon dropped to merely local trade. In a sense, after World War I the trail was reborn; by the 1920s it gradually became paved automobile roads.


Santa Fe Trail highway sign in Cimarron, New Mexico Santa Fe Trail sign IMG 0516.JPG
Santa Fe Trail highway sign in Cimarron, New Mexico
End of the Santa Fe Trail marker on the Plaza in Santa Fe, New Mexico EndSantaFe 2011.jpg
End of the Santa Fe Trail marker on the Plaza in Santa Fe, New Mexico

The eastern end of the trail was in the central Missouri town of Franklin on the north bank of the Missouri River. The route across Missouri first used by Becknell followed portions of the existing Osage Trace and the Medicine Trails. West of Franklin, the trail crossed the Missouri near Arrow Rock, after which it followed roughly the route of present-day U.S. Route 24. It passed north of Marshall, through Lexington to Fort Osage, then to Independence. Independence was also one of the historic "jumping off points" for the Oregon and California Trails.

West of Independence, it roughly followed the route of U.S. Route 56 from near the town of Olathe to the western border of Kansas. It enters Colorado, cutting across the southeast corner of the state before entering New Mexico. The section of the trail between Independence and Olathe was also used by immigrants on the California and Oregon Trails, which branched off to the northwest near Gardner, Kansas.

From Olathe, the trail passed through the towns of Baldwin City, Burlingame, and Council Grove, then swung west of McPherson to the town of Lyons. West of Lyons the trail followed nearly the route of present-day Highway 56 to Great Bend. Ruts in the earth made from the trail are still visible in several locations (Ralph's Ruts are visible in aerial photos at ( 38°21′35″N98°25′20″W / 38.35959264°N 98.42225502°W / 38.35959264; -98.42225502 ). [15] At Great Bend, the trail encountered the Arkansas River. Branches of the trail followed both sides of the river upstream to Dodge City and Garden City.

West of Garden City in southwestern Kansas the trail splits into two branches. One of the branches, called the Mountain Route or the Upper Crossing follows the Purgatoire River from La Junta upstream to Trinidad then south through the Raton Pass into New Mexico. [16] :93 [17] :133

The other main branch, called the Cimarron Cutoff or Cimarron Crossing or Middle Crossing [16] :93 [17] :133 [18] :144 cut southwest across the Cimarron Desert (also known as the Waterscrape or La Jornada [18] :148) to the valley of the Cimarron River near the town of Ulysses and Elkhart then continued toward Boise City, Oklahoma, to Clayton, New Mexico, joining up with northern branch at Fort Union. This route was generally very hazardous because it had very little water. [19] In fact, the Cimarron River was one of the only sources of water along this branch of the trail.

From Watrous, the reunited branches continued southward to Santa Fe. Part of this route has been designated a National Scenic Byway.


Santa Fe Trail Ruts at Fort Union Santaferuts.JPG
Santa Fe Trail Ruts at Fort Union

Travelers faced many hardships along the Santa Fe Trail. The trail was a challenging 900 miles (1,400 km) of arid plains, desert, and mountains. The natural climate was and is continental: very hot and dry summers, coupled with long and bitterly cold winters. Freshwater was scarce, and the high steppe-like plains are nearly treeless. Water flows in the Pecos, Arkansas, Cimarron, and Canadian rivers that drain the region vary by 90 or more percent in their flows during an average year. Also on this trail, unlike the Oregon trail, there was a serious danger of Native American attacks, for neither the Comanches nor the Apaches of the southern high plains tolerated trespassers. In 1825, Congress voted for federal protection for the Santa Fe Trail, even though much of it lay in the Mexican territory. Lack of food and water also made the trail very risky. Weather conditions, like huge lightning storms, gave the travelers even more difficulty. If a storm developed, there was often no place to take shelter and the livestock could get spooked. Rattlesnakes often posed a threat, and many people died due to snakebites. The caravan size increased later on to prevent Native American raids. The travelers also packed more oxen instead of mules because the Native Americans did not want to risk raiding the caravans only for some oxen.

Historic preservation

Segments of this trail in Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, and New Mexico are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. [20] In Missouri, this includes the 85th and Manchester "Three Trails" Trail Segment, Arrow Rock Ferry Landing, Santa Fe Trail-Grand Pass Trail Segments, and Santa Fe Trail-Saline County Trail Segments. The longest clearly identifiable section of the trail, Santa Fe Trail Remains, near Dodge City, Kansas, is listed as a National Historic Landmark. [21] In Colorado, Santa Fe Trail Mountain Route--Bent's New Fort is included on the National Register.

Notable features

Santa Fe Trail marker in Coolidge, Kansas Santa Fe Trail marker in Coolidge, KS IMG 5820.JPG
Santa Fe Trail marker in Coolidge, Kansas
Santa Fe Trail Ruts west of Larned, Kansas Santa Fe Trail Ruts (west of Ft Larned).jpg
Santa Fe Trail Ruts west of Larned, Kansas
Santa Fe Trail marker at the Cuerno Verde Rest Area, Colorado Santa Fe Trail Historical Marker.png
Santa Fe Trail marker at the Cuerno Verde Rest Area, Colorado
Missouri [22]
Kansas [22]

Mountain Route towards Colorado

Colorado [22]

Mountain Route

Cimarron Route thru Kansas towards Oklahoma

New Mexico [22]

Mountain Route

Cimarron Route

Joint route

See also

Related Research Articles

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<i>Southwest Chief</i> Amtrak passenger rail service in the United States of America

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Cimarron River (Arkansas River tributary) tributary of the Arkansas River

The Cimarron River extends 698 miles (1,123 km) across New Mexico, Oklahoma, Colorado, and Kansas. The headwaters flow from Johnson Mesa west of Folsom in northeastern New Mexico. Much of the river's length lies in Oklahoma, where it either borders or passes through eleven counties. There are no major cities along its route.The river enters the Oklahoma Panhandle near Kenton, crosses the southeastern corner of Colorado into Kansas, re-enters the Oklahoma Panhandle, re-enters Kansas, and finally returns to Oklahoma where it joins the Arkansas River at Keystone Reservoir west of Tulsa, Oklahoma, its only impoundment. The Cimarron drains a basin that encompasses about 18,927 square miles (49,020 km2).

William Bent American rancher

William Wells Bent was primarily known as a trader, and rancher in the American West, with forts in Colorado. He also acted as a mediator among the Cheyenne Nation, other Native American tribes and the expanding United States. With his brothers, Bent established a trade business along the Santa Fe Trail. In the early 1830s Bent built an adobe fort, called Bent's Fort, along the Arkansas River in present-day Colorado. Furs, horses and other goods were traded for food and other household goods by travelers along the Santa Fe trail, fur-trappers, and local Mexican and Native American people. Bent negotiated a peace among the many Plains tribes north and south of the Arkansas River, as well as between the Native American and the United States government.

Cimarron National Grassland

Cimarron National Grassland is a National Grassland located in Morton County, Kansas, United States, with a very small part extending eastward into Stevens County. Cimarron National Grassland is located near Comanche National Grassland which is across the border in Colorado. The grassland is administered by the Forest Service together with the Pike and San Isabel National Forests and the Comanche National Grassland, from common headquarters located in Pueblo, Colorado. There are local ranger district offices in Elkhart, Kansas. The grassland is the largest area of public land in the state of Kansas.

Comanche history

Forming a part of the Eastern Shoshone linguistic group in southeastern Wyoming who moved on to the buffalo Plains around AD 1500, proto-Comanche groups split off and moved south some time before AD 1700. The Shoshone migration to the Great Plains was apparently triggered by the Little Ice Age, which allowed bison herds to grow in population. It is not clear why the proto-Comanches broke away from the main Plains Shoshones and migrated south. That move may have been inspired as much by the desire for Spanish horses released by the Pueblo Revolt of 1680 as by pressures from other groups drawn to the Plains by the changing environment.

Comanche National Grassland protected land in the United States

Comanche National Grassland is a National Grassland located in southeastern Colorado, United States. It is the sister grassland of Cimarron National Grassland and contains both prairie grasslands and canyons. It is separated into two sections, each operated by a local ranger district, one of which is in Springfield and the other of which is in La Junta. The grassland is administered by the Forest Service together with the Pike and San Isabel National Forests, and the Cimarron National Grassland, from common headquarters located in Pueblo, Colorado.

William Becknell was an American soldier, politician, and freight operator who is credited with opening the Santa Fe Trail in 1821, which became an early major transportation route through central North America that connected Franklin, Missouri with Santa Fe, New Mexico. It served as a vital commercial highway until the introduction of the railroad to Santa Fe in 1880. Becknell had used long-established trails made by Native Americans and Spanish and French colonial explorers and traders for years before his trip.

Camino Real de Tierra Adentro

The Camino Real de Tierra Adentro was a 2560 kilometer long trade route between Mexico City and San Juan Pueblo, New Mexico, from 1598 to 1882.

Rayado, New Mexico Place in New Mexico, United States

Rayado or Reyado was the first permanent settlement in Colfax County, New Mexico, United States and an important stop on the Santa Fe Trail. The name Rayado derives from the Spanish term for "streaked", perhaps in reference to the lot lines marked out by Lucien Maxwell.

Santa Fe Trail Remains

The Santa Fe Trail Remains, also known as Santa Fe Trail Ruts, are a two-mile (3 km) section of the former 1,200-mile (1,900 km) long Santa Fe Trail, described as the "longest continuous stretch of clearly defined Santa Fe Trail rut remains in Kansas." Now owned by a preservation organization, the site is visible from a pull-off area on United States Route 50 near Dodge City, Kansas. The site was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1963.

Rabbit Ears (Clayton, New Mexico)

The Rabbit Ears are a pair of mountain peaks in northeastern New Mexico, United States, 8 kilometres (5.0 mi) north of the city of Clayton. The two peaks were a distinctive landmark along the Cimarron Cutoff of the Santa Fe Trail, a major route for westbound settlers in the 19th century. The formation was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1963.

Watrous (La Junta)

Watrous, also named La Junta, is a National Historic Landmark District near Watrous, New Mexico. It encompasses the historic junction point of the two major branches of the Santa Fe Trail, a major 19th-century frontier settlement route between St. Louis, Missouri and Santa Fe, New Mexico. La Junta, marked this junction point, as well as the first major indications of civilization before westbound travelers reached Santa Fe. The district includes a large area west of the modern community of Watrous, encompassing the confluence of the Mora and Sapello Rivers. Surviving buildings include the houses of early ranchers, as well as a stagecoach mailstop and inn. The district was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1963.

In the American Old West overland trails were popular means of travel used by pioneers and immigrants throughout the 19th century and especially between 1830 and 1870 as an alternative to sea and railroad transport. These immigrants began to settle various of North America west of the Great Plains as part of the mass overland migrations of the mid-19th century. Settlers emigrating from the eastern United States were spurred by various motives, among them religious persecution, economic incentives, some people say that the interior to destinations in the far west, including the Oregon Trail, California Trail, and Mormon Trail. After the end of the Mexican–American War in 1849, vast new American conquests again enticed mass immigration. Legislation like the Donation Land Claim Act and significant events like the California Gold Rush further lured people to travel overland to the west.

Great Osage Trail

The Great Osage Trail, also known as the Osage Trace or the Kaw Trace was one of the more well-known Native American trails through the countryside of what are today called the Midwest and Plains States of the U.S., pathways originally created by herds of Buffalo or other migrating wildlife.

The Glenn–Fowler expedition to Santa Fe, New Mexico was led by Hugh Glenn and Jacob Fowler to see whether trade with the Spanish in the region would be feasible. The expedition was made up of 21 men. They left their establishment on the Verdigris River in present-day Oklahoma on September 25, 1821, and arrived in Santa Fe in January 1822, and found that the Spanish authority in the region had been ended by the Mexican War of Independence.

Pierre Antoine and Paul Mallet, brothers and French Canadian voyageurs, were the first Europeans known to have crossed the Great Plains from east to west. They first journeyed to Santa Fe, New Mexico from Kaskaskia, Illinois in 1739.

François Xavier Aubry was a French Canadian merchant and explorer of the American Southwest. His achievements include speed records riding the Santa Fe Trail and early exploration of the 35th parallel north west of the North American continental divide.

The Enchanted Circle Scenic Byway is a New Mexico Scenic Byway and National Forest Scenic Byway located in Northern New Mexico. It begins and ends in Taos, New Mexico.


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  4. Switzler, William F. (1882). History of Boone County. St. Louis: Western Historical Company.
  5. Hämäläinen, Pekka (2008). The Comanche Empire. Yale University Press. pp. 159–160. ISBN   978-0-300-12654-9.
  6. Magoffin, Susan Shelby; Lamar, Howard R: (1982). Drumm, Stella Madeleine (ed.). Down the Santa Fe Trail and Into Mexico: The Diary of Susan Shelby Magoffin, 1846–1847. Copyright 1926, 1962 by Yale University Press. USA: Univ. of Nebraska Press. ISBN   978-0-8032-8116-5.
  7. Peters, Arthur King (1996-06-01). Seven trails West. Abbeville Press. p. 55.
  8. Founding date after the Battle of Pierre's Hole from consequent discovery of South Pass (1832) providing the last key bit of needed navigable landscape by the Astorians. The majority of the road was well known to the American Fur Company since 1808.
  9. 1 2 3 4 Marc Simmons, Murder on the Santa Fe Trail: an International Incident, 1843 The University of Texas El Paso (1987)
  10. Ray John de Aragon, Padre Martinez and Bishop Lamy Pan American Publishing Company (1978)
  11. Kendall, George (1884). "Narrative of the Texan Santa Fé Expedition - Wikiquote". Retrieved 2017-10-25.
  12. Hyslop, Stephen Garrison (2001-12-31). Bound for Santa Fe: The Road to New Mexico and the American Conquest, 1806-1848. University of Oklahoma Press. ISBN   9780806133898.
  13. "Kansas: A Encyclopedia of State History". Archived from the original on November 17, 2005.
  14. "REPUBLIC OF TEXAS | The Handbook of Texas Online| Texas State Historical Association (TSHA)". Retrieved 2012-11-18.
  15. "Aerial Photos Topo Maps of Santa Fe Trail Ruts and Sites" . Retrieved 2007-12-28.
  16. 1 2 Duffus, R. (1972). The Santa Fe Trail. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press. ISBN   978-0-8263-0235-9.
  17. 1 2 Vestal, Stanley (1996). The Old Santa Fe Trail. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press. ISBN   978-0-8032-9615-2.
  18. 1 2 Stocking, Hobart (1971). The Road to Santa Fe. New York: Hastings House Publishers. ISBN   978-0-8038-6314-9.
  19. Samuel Gance, Anton ou la trajectoire d'un père, L'Harmattan, Paris, 2013. p.115.
  20. Gallagher, Joseph J., Alice Edwards, Lachlan F. Blair, and Hugh Davidson (March 8, 1993). "National Register of Historic Places Multiple Property Nomination Form: Historic Resources of the Santa Fe Trail, 1821–1880" (PDF). Retrieved 2007-04-10.CS1 maint: Multiple names: authors list (link)
  21. "National Historic Landmarks Program (NHL): Santa Fe Trail Remains". Archived from the original on May 1, 2015. Retrieved 2007-04-10.
  22. 1 2 3 4 Santa Fe trail, Official Map and Guide; National Park Service; Harpers Ferry, West Virginia; 1997

Further reading