Santa Fe Trail (1820s to 1870s)


Connecting the eastern United States to Santa Fe, New Mexico, and on to Mexico, the Santa Fe Trail was an important commerce route in the 19th century. Invaluable to the westward expansion of the United States and the development of trade with Mexican areas.

The main route of the trail was around 900 miles long, beginning in Franklin, Missouri and ending in Santa Fe. From its founding in 1821 onward, it has served as a vital trade route, facilitating the exchange of eastern textiles, manufactured goods, and armaments for western furs, wool, and minerals.

It wasn’t easy to travel the Santa Fe Trail. Difficult conditions included bad weather, attacks from locals, and uneven ground. The path served as a conduit for the movement of people and goods across vast distances and time periods. The trail’s importance diminished after the Mexican-American War and the United States’ annexation of the Southwest, but its historical impact lives on and it is revered as a symbol of the pioneering spirit that forged the American West.

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