- Created by: holly6901
- Created on: 06-06-19 12:27
The Early Settlement of the West
Factors encouraging migration
Economic conditions and the Oregon Trail
- There was greater independence and a freer way of life, with more space to farm. There was gold in the west too.
- There were push factors too.
- Overpopulation in the east, and some groups faced persecution.
- High unemployment (25% after the 1837 crash) and falling wheat prices made farming difficult.
- Further collapses in corn prices in the mid-east, forcing farmers to travel west.
Timeline of the Oregon Trail
- 1836: Migrants travel on the Oregon Trail for the first time.
- 1837: A financial crisis causes unemployment to rise. Fall in wheat prices severely affects farmers.
- 1841: The government maps and creates guidebooks for the Oregon Trail.
- 1846: Governor of Illinois expels Mormons.
Timeline of exploration
- 1825: Jedediah Smith (an explorer) discovers a pass (the South Pass) through the Rocky Mountains.
- 1848: Explorers discover gold in California.
- 1858-9: Explorers discover gold in the Rocky Mountains.
- 1874: Explorers discover gold in the Black Hills.
Manifest Destiny and the Gold Rush
In order to defend its territory from foreign powers, the US government settled the west with Americans.
- This was seen as ‘manifest destiny’. God’s desire for whites to settle the entire continent of North America.
The Gold Rush
- When gold was discovered in California, many rushed to the west in what was called the ‘gold rush’.
- This had significant consequences across the country.
- Tens of thousands took the trail to the west.
- In 1852, 20,000 came to California by ship after a famine in China. Most found no gold.
- Increasingly, professional miners took control in the area.
Professional gold miners
- By 1855, 300,000 people had moved to California, resulting in it becoming a state.
- Migrants deliberately killed Indians in California in what is considered a genocide.
- Gold from California helped to fund railways, and boost the economy.
Process and problems of migration
Migration and the Donner Party
- The Oregon Trail was 3,200km long. It was 3,800km to California.
- Pamphlets or Indian guides helped the migrants across the trail.
- Independence, Missouri, was the start of the trail westwards.
- The journey, consisting of 20 wagons or more, took 8-9 months.
- They began in April so they could finish before winter came.
Problems with migration
- Some groups faced huge problems as they migrated.
- When crossing the plains, travellers were faced with storms, heat, buffalo, and the threat of attack from Indians.
- The Rockies, Blue Mountains and Sierra Nevada stood between the migrants and their destination.
- This led to injuries and many broken wagons!
The Donner Party
- A group led by Jacob and George Donner left Missouri in May 1846. 300 people in 60 wagons were bound for California.
- Using a leaflet for assistance, a small group of 80 attempted to take a shortcut at Fort Bridger.
- Four wagons malfunctioned. One migrant murdered another.
- The group could not finish before winter. The group was trapped by snow in the Sierra Nevada. One group was sent to look…