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The SANTA FE TRAIL was a 19th-century transportation route through central North America that connected Independence, Missouri
Missouri
with Santa Fe , New Mexico
New Mexico
. Pioneered in 1821 by William Becknell , it served as a vital commercial highway until the introduction of the railroad to Santa Fe in 1880. Santa Fe was near the end of the El Camino Real de Tierra Adentro which carried trade from Mexico City
Mexico City
.

The route skirted the northern edge and crossed the north-western corner of Comancheria
Comancheria
, the territory of the Comanches , who demanded compensation for granting passage to the trail, and represented another market for American traders. Comanche
Comanche
raiding farther south in Mexico
Mexico
isolated New Mexico, making it more dependent on the American trade, and provided the Comanches with a steady supply of horses for sale. By the 1840s trail traffic along the Arkansas Valley was so heavy that bison herds could not reach important seasonal grazing land, contributing to their collapse which in turn hastened the decline of Comanche
Comanche
power in the region.

The Trail
Trail
was used as the 1846 U.S. invasion route of New Mexico during the Mexican–American War
Mexican–American War
.

After the U.S. acquisition of the Southwest ending the Mexican–American War, the trail helped open the region to U.S. economic development and settlement, playing a vital role in the expansion of the U.S. into the lands it had acquired. The road route is commemorated today by the National Park Service
National Park Service
as the SANTA FE NATIONAL HISTORIC TRAIL. A highway route that roughly follows the trail's path through the entire length of Kansas
Kansas
, the southeast corner of Colorado
Colorado
and northern New Mexico
New Mexico
has been designated as the Santa Fe Trail
Trail
National Scenic Byway
National Scenic Byway
.

CONTENTS

* 1 History

* 1.1 North–South trade * 1.2 The importance of Santa Fe * 1.3 Conflict between Texas
Texas
and Mexico
Mexico

* 2 Mother of the railroad * 3 Route * 4 Challenges * 5 Historic preservation * 6 Notable features * 7 See also * 8 Footnotes * 9 Further reading * 10 External links

HISTORY

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Arrival of the caravan at Santa Fe, lithograph published c.1844 A rest stop along the Santa Fe Trail. Connections along the Santa Fe Railroad—Map shows the principal regular stops on the AT"> The Republic of Texas
Texas
map showing lands claimed by Texas
Texas
after 1836 and present-day outline of New Mexico
New Mexico
on the boundaries of 1836–1845.

In 1825 the merchant Manuel Escudero of Chihuahua was commissioned by New Mexico
New Mexico
governor Bartolome Baca to negotiate in Washington for opening U.S. borders to traders from Mexico. Beginning in 1826, prominent aristocratic families of New Mexicans, such as the Chávezes, Armijos, Pereas and Oteros entered into the commerce along the trail, such that by 1843, traders from New Mexico
New Mexico
and Chihuahua had become the majority of traders involved in the traffic of goods over the Santa Fe Trail.

In 1835 Mexico City
Mexico City
had sent Albino Pérez to govern the department of New Mexico
New Mexico
as Jefe Politico (political chief or governor) and as commanding military officer. In 1837 the forces of Rio Arriba (the upper Rio Grande
Rio Grande
, i.e., northern New Mexico) rebelled against Pérez' enforcement of the recent Mexican constitution, new revenue laws taxing Santa Fe commerce and entertainment, and the large grants of New Mexico
New Mexico
land to wealthy Mexicans. New Mexicans had grown to appreciate the relative freedoms of a frontier, remote from Mexico City. The rebels defeated and executed governor Albino Perez, but were later ousted by the forces of Rio Abajo (the lower Rio Grande, or southern New Mexico) led by Manuel Armijo .

CONFLICT BETWEEN TEXAS AND MEXICO

The Republic of Texas
Texas
claimed Santa Fe as part of the territory north and east of the Rio Grande
Rio Grande
claimed by both Mexico
Mexico
and Texas
Texas
following its secession from Mexico
Mexico
in 1836.

In 1841, a small military and trading expedition departed from Austin, Texas
Texas
representing the Republic of Texas
Texas
and their president Mirabeau B. Lamar
Mirabeau B. Lamar
. Their aim was to persuade the people of Santa Fe and New Mexico
New Mexico
to relinquish control over the territory under dispute with Mexico, and over the associated Santa Fe Trail
Trail
commerce. Having knowledge of the recent political disturbances, they believed that they might be welcomed by the rebellious faction in New Mexico. Known as the Texan Santa Fe Expedition , the Texans encountered many difficulties and were subsequently captured by governor Armijo's Mexican army under less than honest negotiations. They were then subjected to harsh and austere treatment during a tortuous forced march to Mexico
Mexico
City, for trial and imprisonment.

In 1842 Colonel William A. Christy wrote president of Texas, Sam Houston requesting support for a scheme by Charles Warfield to raise forces to overthrow the Mexican provinces of New Mexico
New Mexico
and Chihuahua and return half of the spoils to the Republic of Texas
Texas
. Sam Houston agreed, with the provision that the operation be held under the strictest secrecy. Charles was made a colonel and attempted to raise volunteers in Texas, St. Louis, and the southern Rockies for a Warfield Expedition. He recruited John McDaniel and a small band of men in the proximate vicinity of St. Louis, giving McDaniel the rank of a Texas
Texas
captain. After Charles headed toward the Rockies with a companion, McDaniel led a robbery in the April, 1843 (in present-day Rice County, Kansas
Kansas
) of a sparsely manned Santa Fe Trail
Trail
trading caravan, resulting in the murder of its leader Antonio José Chávez, the son of a former governor Francisco Xavier Chávez of New Mexico. It was reported that Warfield was unaware of the crime, which later resulted in the execution of McDaniel and one accomplice, and in the imprisonment of those participants whom U.S. authorities were able to hunt down. The news media reported that Americans and Mexicans were outraged by the crime. Local merchants and citizens at the U.S. end of the Santa Fe Trail
Trail
demanded justice and a return to the stable commerce that their economy had grown to depend upon.

After the murder of Chávez, Warfield began limited military hostilities using recruits from the southern Rockies. He made an unprovoked attack on Mexican troops outside of Mora, New Mexico
New Mexico
, leaving five dead. Warfield's horses were lost in Wagon Mound to the Mexican forces which had made chase, and after reaching Bent\'s Fort on foot, Warfield's men disbanded. In February, 1843 Colonel Jacob Snively had received a commission to intercept Mexican caravans along the Santa Fe Trail, similar to the commission received by Warfield the year prior. After disbanding the volunteers under his command, Warfield located and joined the 190 man Texas
Texas
"Battalion of Invincibles," under the command of Snively. New Mexico
New Mexico
governor Manuel Armijo led Mexican troops out of Santa Fe for the protection of the incoming caravans, but after the Invincibles wiped out an advanced party led by Captain Ventura Lovato, the governor retreated. Following this battle, Snively's force was reduced to little over 100 men due to resignations. The Snively Expedition plan was to plunder Mexican merchant caravans on territory claimed by Texas, in retaliation for recent Texian executions and Mexican invasions, but it was quickly arrested and disarmed by United States
United States
escorting troops. Captain Philip St. George Cooke
Philip St. George Cooke
allowed the Invincibles to return to Texas after disarming them.

MOTHER OF THE RAILROAD

In 1863, with all the political bickering over railroad legislation, entrepreneurs opened their pockets and set their sights on the American Southwest
American Southwest
leading to the gradual construction east to west of the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway
Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway
; the name eponymously reflecting the intentions of the founders, the expected eastern terminus to be in Atchison, Kansas
Kansas
.

Inside Kansas, the AT by the 1920s it gradually became paved automobile roads.

ROUTE

The Santa Fe Trail
Trail
Ruts at Fort Union. The Santa Fe Trail highway sign in Cimarron, New Mexico
New Mexico
. End of the Santa Fe Trail
Trail
marker on the Plaza in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

The eastern end of the trail was in the central Missouri
Missouri
town of Franklin on the north bank of the Missouri
Missouri
River . The route across Missouri
Missouri
first used by Becknell followed portions of the existing Osage Trace
Osage Trace
and the Medicine Trails
Medicine Trails
. West of Franklin, the trail crossed the Missouri
Missouri
near Arrow Rock , after which it followed roughly the route of present-day U.S. Route 24 . It passed north of Marshall , through Lexington to Fort Osage
Fort Osage
, then to Independence . Independence was also one of the historic "jumping off points" for the Oregon and California Trails .

West of Independence, it roughly followed the route of U.S. Route 56 from near the town of Olathe to the western border of Kansas. It enters Colorado, cutting across the southeast corner of the state before entering New Mexico. The section of the trail between Independence and Olathe was also used by immigrants on the California and Oregon Trails, which branched off to the northwest near Gardner, Kansas
Kansas
.

From Olathe, the trail passed through the towns of Baldwin City , Burlingame , and Council Grove , then swung west of McPherson to the town of Lyons . West of Lyons the trail followed nearly the route of present-day Highway 56 to Great Bend . Ruts in the earth made from the trail are still visible in several locations (Ralph's Ruts are visible in aerial photos at (38°21′35″N 98°25′20″W / 38.35959264°N 98.42225502°W / 38.35959264; -98.42225502 ). At Great Bend, the trail encountered the Arkansas River
Arkansas River
. Branches of the trail followed both sides of the river upstream to Dodge City
Dodge City
and Garden City .

West of Garden City in southwestern Kansas
Kansas
the trail splits into two branches. One of the branches, called the MOUNTAIN ROUTE or the Upper Crossing through Raton Pass (of the Arkansas River
Arkansas River
) :93 :133 continued to follow the Arkansas upstream in southeastern Colorado
Colorado
to the town of La Junta . At La Junta, the trail continued south into New Mexico
Mexico
to Fort Union at Watrous .

The other main branch, called the Cimarron Cutoff or Cimarron Crossing or Middle Crossing :93 :133 :144 cut southwest across the Cimarron Desert (also known as the Waterscrape or La Jornada :148) to the valley of the Cimarron River near the town of Ulysses and Elkhart then continued toward Boise City, Oklahoma
Oklahoma
, to Clayton, New Mexico
New Mexico
, joining up with northern branch at Fort Union . This route was generally very hazardous because it had very little water. In fact, the Cimarron River was one of the only sources of water along this branch of the trail.

From Watrous, the reunited branches continued southward to Santa Fe.

Part of this route has been designated a National Scenic Byway
National Scenic Byway
.

CHALLENGES

Travelers faced many hardships along the Santa Fe Trail. The trail was a challenging 900 miles (1,400 km) of arid plains, desert, and mountains. The natural climate was and is continental; very hot and dry summers, coupled with long and bitterly cold winters. Fresh water was scarce; and the high steppe-like plains are nearly treeless. Water flows in the Pecos, Arkansas, Cimarron, and Canadian rivers that drain the region vary by 90 or more percent in their flows during an average year. Also, on this trail unlike the Oregon trail, there was a serious danger of Native American attacks, for neither the Comanches nor the Apaches of the southern high plains tolerated trespassers. In 1825, Congress voted for federal protection for the Santa Fe Trail, even though much of it lay in the Mexican territory. Lack of food and water also made the trail very risky. Weather conditions, like huge lightning storms, gave the travelers even more difficulty. If a storm developed, there was often no place to take shelter and the livestock could get spooked. Rattlesnakes often posed a threat, and many people died due to snakebite. The caravan size increased later on to prevent Native American raids. The travelers also packed more oxen instead of mules because the Native Americans did not want to risk raiding the caravans only for some oxen.

HISTORIC PRESERVATION

Segments of this trail in Missouri
Missouri
, Kansas
Kansas
, Oklahoma
Oklahoma
, and New Mexico
Mexico
are listed on the National Register of Historic Places
National Register of Historic Places
. In Missouri, this includes the 85th and Manchester "Three Trails" Trail Segment , Arrow Rock Ferry Landing , Santa Fe Trail-Grand Pass Trail Segments , and Santa Fe Trail-Saline County Trail Segments . The longest clearly identifiable section of the trail, Santa Fe Trail Remains , near Dodge City, Kansas
Kansas
, is listed as a National Historic Landmark . In Colorado, Santa Fe Trail
Trail
Mountain Route--Bent\'s New Fort is included on the National Register.

NOTABLE FEATURES

Santa Fe Trail
Trail
marker in Coolidge, Kansas
Kansas
Santa Fe Trail Ruts, west of Larned, Kansas
Kansas
Santa Fe Trail
Trail
marker at the Cuerno Verde Rest Area, Colorado
Colorado
Missouri
Missouri

* Arrow Rock (Arrow Rock Landing, Santa Fe Spring, Huston Tavern ) * Harvey Spring/Weinrich Ruts * Independence (Santa Fe trail Ruts, Lower Independence (Blue Mills) Landing, Upper Independence (Wayne City) Landing. * Kansas
Kansas
City (Westport Landing)

Kansas
Kansas

* Kansas
Kansas
City (Shawnee Mission, Big Blue River Crossing) * Council Grove (Kaw Mission, Neosho River Crossing, Hermit’s Cave, Last Chance Store, Council Oak, Post Office Oak) * Fort Larned National Historic Site
Fort Larned National Historic Site
* Fort Dodge (Jackson’s Grove and Island, Santa Fe Trail
Trail
Ruts, Middle Crossing, Point of Rocks, Fort Atkinson Site)

Mountain Route towards Colorado
Colorado

* Arkansas River
Arkansas River
Crossing

Colorado
Colorado

Mountain Route

* Bent\'s Old Fort National Historic Site * Raton Pass

Cimarron Route thru Kansas
Kansas
towards Oklahoma
Oklahoma

* Cimarron River * Cimarron National Grassland

New Mexico
New Mexico

Mountain Route

* Clifton House * Cimarron (Aztec Mill, Cimarron Plaza and Well) * Philmont Scout Ranch

Cimarron Route

* Kiowa National Grassland

Joint route

* Fort Union National Monument
Fort Union National Monument
* Pecos National Historical Park
Pecos National Historical Park
* Santa Fe * Oldest House in the USA * Northern Rio Grande
Rio Grande
National Heritage Area

SEE ALSO

* MO: Jackson County Historic Places * KS: Johnson County Historic Places * OK: Cimarron County Historic Places * NM: Colfax County Historic Places * Oregon-California Trails Association * Pawnee Rock

* Related National Park Units

* Fort Larned National Historic Site
Fort Larned National Historic Site
* Bent\'s Old Fort National Historic Site * Fort Union National Monument
Fort Union National Monument

* Santa Fe Trail Remains * Santa Fe Trail Museum , part of the Trinidad History Museum * Trailside Center
Trailside Center
museum in Kansas
Kansas
City, Missouri * Great Santa Fe Trail Horse Race Endurance Ride * Scenic byways in the United States
United States
* Tree in the Trail

FOOTNOTES

* ^ Hämäläinen, Pekka (2008). The Comanche
Comanche
Empire. Yale University Press. pp. 159–160. ISBN 978-0-300-12654-9 . * ^ Magoffin, Susan Shelby ; Lamar, Howard R: (1982). Drumm, Stella Madeleine, ed. Down the Santa Fe Trail
Trail
and Into Mexico: The Diary of Susan Shelby Magoffin, 1846–1847. Copyright 1926, 1962 by Yale University Press. USA: Univ. of Nebraska Press. ISBN 978-0-8032-8116-5 . * ^ Peters 1996 , pp. 55. * ^ Founding date after the Battle of Pierre\'s Hole from consequent discovery of South Pass (1832) providing the last key bit of needed navigable landscape by the Astorians . The majority of the road was well known to the American Fur Company
American Fur Company
since 1808. * ^ A B C D Marc Simmons, Murder on the Santa Fe Trail: an International Incident, 1843 The University of Texas
Texas
El Paso (1987) * ^ Ray John de Aragon, Padre Martinez and Bishop Lamy Pan American Publishing Company (1978) * ^ George Wilkins Kendall , Narrative of the Texan Santa Fé Expedition (1884) * ^ Bound for Santa Fe: The Road to New Mexico
New Mexico
and the American Conquest, 1806-1848 - Stephen Garrison Hyslop - Google Boeken. Books.google.com. Retrieved 2012-11-18. * ^ "REPUBLIC OF TEXAS The Handbook of Texas
Texas
Online Texas
Texas
State Historical Association (TSHA)". Tshaonline.org. Retrieved 2012-11-18. * ^ "Aerial Photos Topo Maps of Santa Fe Trail
Trail
Ruts and Sites". Retrieved 2007-12-28. * ^ A B Duffus, R. (1972). The Santa Fe Trail. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico
New Mexico
Press. ISBN 978-0-8263-0235-9 . * ^ A B Vestal, Stanley (1996). The Old Santa Fe Trail. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press. ISBN 978-0-8032-9615-2 . * ^ A B Stocking, Hobart (1971). The Road to Santa Fe. New York: Hastings House Publishers. ISBN 978-0-8038-6314-9 . * ^ Samuel Gance, Anton ou la trajectoire d'un père, L'Harmattan, Paris, 2013. p.115. * ^ Gallagher, Joseph J., Alice Edwards, Lachlan F. Blair, and Hugh Davidson (March 8, 1993). "National Register of Historic Places Multiple Property Nomination Form: Historic Resources of the Santa Fe Trail, 1821–1880" (PDF). Retrieved 2007-04-10. CS1 maint: Multiple names: authors list (link ) * ^ "National Historic Landmarks Program (NHL): Santa Fe Trail Remains". Retriev