For the migration to the western side of the U.S., the Oregon Trail was a crucial route between 1841 and 1869. The majority travelled in wagons pulled by horse, as they were used to carry their belongings along with food and other supplies. Here are 10 interesting facts about the Oregon Trail that you might not have heard about.
- The complete length of the Oregon Trail was over 2,000 miles. It was estimated that this trip would take a pioneer one year to plan, and around 4-6 months to complete.
- Although the pioneers feared attacks from the Native Americans, they soon learnt that they were more helpful than harmful, and the attacks were very rare.
- A large industry of trading posts appears to supply equipment and food for a 5-month hall, as the traffic in the Oregon Trail increased. In popular spots like Independence, Missouri, merchants made a living by conning frightened families into large amounts of provisions, more than they actually needed. Due to this overloading, numerous sections of the road were littered with junk. These included wagon parts and food barrels. You could also find personal items such as clothes, books and furniture. It is estimated that 20,000 pounds of bacon was abandoned outside the walls of Fort Laramie in Wyoming during the Gold Rush of 1849.
- For most pioneers, one trip along the Oregon Trail was sufficient. However, a pioneer named Ezra Meeker made the trek using all forms of transportation (train, wagon, automobile and airplane).
- Most of the Oregon Trail pioneers did not settle in Oregon, as only 80,000 out of 400,000 actually completed their journey. The majority took the main route to either Idaho or Wyoming while some took trails that led to Utah and California.
- Numerous people died on the Oregon Trail, due to causes such as accidents, diseases and even drownings. At a point in 1860, there were multiple graves for every mile of the trail.\
- You can still view some of the wheel ruts from the thousands of wagons that travelled down the trail if you travel around the Oregon trail and where its branches were.
- Until the transcontinental railroad connected the east to west, the trail was famous.
- Some pioneers left graffiti on some of the stone landmarks along the trail.
- The Oregon Trail did not follow just one path, as multiple wagon ruts heading west have been observed.
Do you know any interesting or fun facts about the Oregon Trail? Share them with us in the comments section below!
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