Wild West Wagon Trail

In 1821, with Mexico’s independence from Spain, a vital trading route was established between Independence, Missouri and Santa Fe, New Mexico. Coming to be known as the Santa Fe Trail, this only thoroughfare out to the Wild West was America’s first commercial highway west of the Mississippi River, stretching 900 miles across Kansas, the Great Plains, and Colorado into the Northern Mexican state, Nuevo Mexico, terminating in the Mexican city of Santa Fe. Santa Fe Trail Route Map

Prior to 1821, the Spaniards had already established a flourishing merchant trade on the north south El Camino Real between Santa Fe and Mexico City. The new Santa Fe Trail opened possibilities for international trade, becoming a vital link in a transportation network connecting Old Europe to the New Americas via New York and St. Louis, out west to Santa Fe and further south to Mexico City. El Camino Real Route Map

William Becknell, a war veteran and trader from Missouri is considered the Father of The Santa Fe Trail. https://www.legendsofamerica.com/santa-fe-trail/

In September 1821, following old Native Americans routes, he and a small group of men forged west loaded with merchandises after he learned Mexico was accessible for business. Covered WagonMid November, upon arrival in Santa Fe, Becknell and his men received a warm welcome from the city’s Mexican citizens and government officials. Their encouragement to bring more goods established a commercial roadway for wealth-seeking traders and pioneers. From then on, a variety of goods, textiles, clothing, hardware, travelled west to Santa Fe and silver and fur went east to Missouri. Santa Fe Trail Picturesque Map

In 1848, the signing of the Guadalupe Hidalgo Treaty ended the Mexican-American war turning some of New Mexico into United States territory. Under U.S. rule, new traffic along with the already lucrative commercial trade increased especially after stagecoach mail delivery service began in 1849. But in 1880 the Santa Fe railroad was completed and brought with it the trail’s demise. https://www.history.com/topics/sante-fe-trail

So, next time you’re up for an adventure extraordinaire, blaze the Santa Fe Trail out of Independence, Missouri across the Great Plains to the New Mexican capital city of Santa Fe. Santa Fe End of Trail Marker


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