Santa Fe Trail

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[[United States Genealogy|United State] > [[United States Migration Internal|Migratio] > Trails and Roads  > Santa Fe Trail

The Santa Fe Trail was an overland international trade route, military road, and pioneer migration trail in central North America between the [[United States Genealogy|United State] and [[Mexico Genealogy|Mexic] from 1821 to 1880. The Santa Fe Trail went from Missouri through Kansas, Colorado, or sometimes Oklahoma to New Mexico.

Slowly click map twice to enlarge it. The Santa Fe Trail route appears in red.

Historical Background[edit | edit source]

Shortly after Mexican independence from Spai in 1821, [ William Bicknell, a merchant-trader opened the Santa Fe Trail as a lucrative trade route from Franklin, [[Missouri Genealogy|Missour] to Santa Fe, [[New Mexico Genealogy|New Mexic]. During most of its history the trail was used to carry pack-trains or wagon loads of trade goods between Missouri and New Mexico. In 1846 at the start of the [[Mexican War, 1846 to 1848|Mexican Wa] the United States Army used the Santa Fe Trail to invade and later supply New Mexico. At the end of the war Mexico ceded territory that would become [[California Genealogy|Californi], [[Nevada Genealogy|Nevad], Utah, [[Colorado Genealogy|Colorad], [[Arizona Genealogy|Arizon], and [[New Mexico Genealogy|New Mexic] to the United States. Some American forty-niner used the Santa Fe Trail on the way to the California gold fields. Before long, ox teams pulling wagons began to carry more and more [ pioneer from the expanding United States into New Mexico and the western states. Eventually, in 1880, the old wagon trail was replaced by the [[Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe Railway|Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe Railwa which roughly followed the Santa Fe Trail Mountain Route from Kansas City into Colorado and New Mexico.[1]

Part of the reason the Santa Fe Trail was a success was because it linked the [[United States Genealogy|United State] to two other significant trade routes, the Camino Real, and the Old Spanish Trail, all forming a hub in Santa Fe. Since 1598 the Camino Real had been used to carry settlers and goods from Mexico City and Chihuahua to Santa Fe.[2] When the Santa Fe Trail opened these Mexican goods could be traded for goods from the United States. In 1829-1830 the Old Spanish Trail also was opened connecting Los Angeles to Santa Fe making even more merchandise available for trade.[3]

Settlers followed trails because forests, mountains, rivers, lakes, or deserts blocked other routes. If an ancestor settled near a trail, you may be able to trace their place of origin back to another place along the trail.

Route[edit | edit source]

During much of its early history, the only permanant white settlement on the Santa Fe Trail was Bent's Old For in Colorado. Many of the following places were built later in trail history, or after the coming of the nearby [[Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe Railway|Santa Fe Railwa. From east to west some of the more prominent places along or near the Santa Fe Trail included:

  • Franklin, Missouri
  • Independence, Missouri
  • Council Grove, Kansas
  • Fort Larned, Kansas
  • Fort Dodge (Dodge City), Kansas
  • Lakin, Kansas

Cimarron Route (60 miles shorter but drier and less-dependable water and forage for livestock)

  • Boise, Oklahoma
  • Clayton, New Mexico

Mountain Route (60 miles longer but wetter and more-dependable water and forage for livestock)

Trails rejoin near:

  • Fort Union, New Mexico
  • Las Vegas, New Mexico
  • Santa Fe, New Mexico

Settlers[edit | edit source]

American pioneer settlers who followed the Santa Fe Trail to [[Colorado Genealogy|Colorad], or northern [[New Mexico Genealogy|New Mexic] would appear in land records, censuses, and possibly county histories. Few appear in lists as the earliest settlers because the Spanish speaking pioneers from old [[Mexico Genealogy|Mexic] via the [[Camino Real de Tierra Adentro|Camino Real de Tierra Adentr] preceded them by many years.

American settlers who travelled the Santa Fe Trail most likely would have come from [[Kansas Genealogy|Kansa], [[Missouri Genealogy|Missour], [[Iowa Genealogy|Iow], [[Arkansas Genealogy|Arkansa],[[Illinois Genealogy|Illinoi], [[Kentucky Genealogy|Kentuck], or [[Tennessee Genealogy|Tennesse].

External Links[edit | edit source]

Sources[edit | edit source]

  1. Wikipedia contributors, "Santa Fe Trail" in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia at (accessed 19 July 2009).
  2. Wikipedia contributors, "El Camino Real de Tierra Adentro" in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia at (accessed 19 July 2009).
  3. Wikipedia contributors, "Old Spanish Trail" in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia at (accessed 19 July 2009).

[[Category:Migration_Route] [[Category:US_Migration_Trails_and_Road] [[Category:New_Mexic] [[Category:Colorad] [[Category:Kansa] [[Category:Oklahom] [[Category:Texa] [[Category:Missour]