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The Santa Fe Trail was a commercial route connecting Missouri and Santa Fe, New Mexico from 1821 to 1880. It was also called as The Great Prairie Highway for 60 years connecting economies of different territories through trading. See fact file below to know more information about the Santa Fe Trail or download the comprehensive worksheet pack which can be utilised within the classroom or home environment.
- The trail was opened by the Spaniards during the 18th century but further utilized in 1821 by William Becknell, a politician and freight operator. The commercial highway was opened after the independence of New Mexico from Spanish colonizers through a revolt. This event made the trading open for the residents of Santa Fe and territories in the Northern Central American region.
- The reverse trading during the first decade was vital to the isolated Northwest regions that include Idaho, Wyoming, Colorado, and Montana. Caravans carrying food supplies and manufactured goods found a convenient way to the trail.
- In 1825, President John Quincy Adams led the treaty between the Osage Indians for the right of way through the commissioners he appointed making the Council Grove. Two years later, the traders experienced Indian attacks. Pawnee Indians attacked for livestock in a returning train from Santa Fe. From then on, wagons trains were assisted by US troops to avoid harassment from the Indians.
- By the year 1833, following the founding of Missouri was the opening of the Bent’s Fort. This was named after the brothers William and Charles Bent. Bent’s Fort became the first trading post opening in Colorado on the Santa Fe Trail.
- In the early 40s, due to the growing trading parties, groups of bandits were formed and one of those was led by John McDaniel. John McDaniel is perhaps best known for robbing and killing Don Antonio Jose Chavez’. Other groups of guerillas continued to harass traders that led to the necessary military escort by the US troops.
- Josiah Gregg, a trader and explorer wrote about his trip on the Santa Fe Trail. His popular book Commerce in Prairies marked his name in history in relation to the trail’s geography and culture.
- Susan Shelby Magoffin was recorded through her diary as the first woman to travel the trail in 1846 while accompanying her husband. It was during the same year that US Congress declared war against the bordering Mexico that subsequently ended 2 years later. On the same year, Lucien Maxwell and company including children were attacked by the Jicarilla Apache Indians in Manco Burro Pass, New Mexico.
- The California Gold Rush added to the Santa Fe trail traffic the following year. This event was said to be the cause of the Asiatic cholera epidemic in the 1950s.
- At the same time further branches also opened including Wyoming and Colorado. Later that October, the White Massacre happened at the Point of Rocks. This involved the killing, robbing, and kidnapping of James White’s company by the Jicarilla Apache Indians. He was considered as a veteran of the trail while his daughter and servant was kidnapped and never found.
Santa Fe Trail Worksheets
This bundle contains 11 ready-to-use Santa Fe Trail Worksheets that are perfect for students who want to learn more about the Santa Fe Trail which was a commercial route connecting Missouri and Santa Fe, New Mexico from 1821 to 1880. It was also called as The Great Prairie Highway for 60 years connecting economies of different territories through trading.
Download includes the following worksheets:
- Santa Fe Trail Facts
- Trail Mapping
- Famous Traders
- American Indian Raids
- The Caravans
- Find Your Way
- New Mexican Cuisine
- Women in Trail
- The Council Grove
- Culture Trading
- National Historic Trail
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Use With Any Curriculum
These worksheets have been specifically designed for use with any international curriculum. You can use these worksheets as-is, or edit them using Google Slides to make them more specific to your own student ability levels and curriculum standards.