Oregon Trail

The Oregon Trail is a 2,200-mile (3,500 km) historic east-west large wheeled wagon route and emigrant trail that connected the Missouri River to valleys in Oregon.

Fur Trappers and Traders

The eastern part of the Oregon Trail spanned part of the future state of Kansas and nearly all of what are now the states of Nebraska and Wyoming. The western half of the trail spanned most of the future states of Idaho and Oregon.

The Oregon Trail was laid by fur trappers and traders from about 1811 to 1840 and was only passable on foot or by horseback. By 1836, when the first migrant wagon train was organized in Independence, Missouri, a wagon trail had been cleared to Fort Hall, Idaho. Wagon trails were cleared further and further west, eventually reaching all the way to the Willamette Valley in Oregon.

Louisiana Purchase

Napoleon sells the Louisiana Territory to the United States for $15,000,000 on Monday, July 4, 1803. The Louisiana Purchase was the acquisition by the United States of America in 1803 of 828,000 square miles of France‘s claim to the territory of Louisiana. The U.S. paid 50 million francs ($11,250,000) plus cancellation of debts worth 18 million francs ($3,750,000), a total sum of 15 million dollars (around 4 cents per acre), for the Louisiana territory ($236 million in 2013 dollars, less than 42 cents per acre).

Lewis and Clark Expedition

President Thomas Jefferson appoints Meriwether Lewis and William Clark to head up an expedition to explore the territory and to establish a presence in the region.

The Lewis and Clark Expedition, also known as the Corps of Discovery Expedition, was the first American expedition to cross what is now the western portion of the United States, departing in May, 1804 from near St. Louis on the Mississippi River, making their way westward through the continental divide to the Pacific coast.

The expedition was commissioned by President Thomas Jefferson shortly after the Louisiana Purchase in 1803, consisting of a select group of U.S. Army volunteers under the command of Captain Meriwether Lewis and his close friend Second Lieutenant William Clark.

Astor Expedition

The Astor Expedition of 1810–1812 was an American-led expedition that traveled by land and sea to the mouth of the Columbia River to establish a fur trading “emporium”. Financed by New York businessman John Jacob Astor, it was part of his dream to build a global network linking by trade locations in the Atlantic and Pacific. Fort Astoria, today Astoria, Oregon, was the second European settlement in the Northwest, after the Lewis and Clark Expedition a few years earlier. Although the emporium envision by Astor was a failure for a number of reasons, the overland expedition pioneered the route now known as the Oregon Trail and in other ways laid the foundations for future American settlement of Oregon and Washington.