During its peak from the mid-1840s to the late 1860s, 300,000 to 400,000 individuals utilized it, and probably a half million crossed it total, traversing an average of 15 to 20 miles (24 to 32 km) each day; most finished their travels in four to five months.
The trail was established by Americans who wanted freedom from federal taxes on goods transported west of the Mississippi River. In addition, there were enough incentives for farmers to travel this far away from their land that the trip paid off in many cases. The Oregon Trail was used by immigrants who wanted a better life than could be had back home. It was also popular with people who wanted to get away from it all and find new territory to explore.
What is now western Nebraska was once part of Colorado. Before white settlers arrived, the area was inhabited by Native Americans who called it "Omahaw" after a tribe they belonged to, which means "the way up to the mountains." In 1823, the United States acquired the region from Mexico under the Treaty of Santa Fe. By 1840, over 200,000 pioneers had traveled through these parts on their way to Oregon. They built everything from towns to bridges across the plains in order to reach the gold fields beyond.
After the California Gold Rush, more than 100,000 people per year crossed the country via the Oregon Trail! This number does not include Indians or other travelers.
This distance will be different for each individual, and it will be determined by a variety of factors, including your fitness level, the weight of your pack, the terrain, and the condition of your traveling partners. A healthy daily average distance is 10 miles (16 kilometers). Some high-mileage travelers may cover 20 or more miles without fatigue, while others who are less fit might only travel 5 or 6 miles before needing a rest stop.
In general, you should allow 2 days for a 10-mile (16-kilometer) trip. If you expect to cover this distance in one day, plan for inclement weather, heavy loads, or other obstacles that might cause you to take longer than expected. Multiply your estimated miles per hour by 60 to get an idea of how many hours you'll need to stay on the trail.
Some trips are longer than others. If you plan to travel 25 or 30 miles in a single day, consider whether this is safe for you. You should allow at least several hours of sleep every night, so try to plan your trips during off-peak times. In summer, avoid weekends when people are likely to be out enjoying themselves, and in winter, keep in mind that the trails may be closed due to snow or ice.
Around five months Facts About the Oregon Trail That You Should Know A wagon train took around five months to complete the voyage. The first significant migration occurred in 1843, when a single huge wagon train of 120 wagons and 500 individuals completed the journey. In 1845, another large group followed suit, and by 1847, over 100,000 people had traveled over the trail.
In addition to providing a means of transportation, the trains were also used as a form of society where travelers could buy supplies or hire helpers along the way. It was not unusual for there to be several stops along the route where food and lodging were available for purchase or rent.
The trains were also used as a place where families could reunite if one of the passengers died along the way. There were no laws regarding immigration into the United States at this time, so any body that was buried in an unmarked grave could be one of the remains found near modern-day cities like Omaha, Nebraska and Portland, Oregon.
People came from all over Europe and the American South to work on the railroads and shops. They sent money home to their families, who often didn't hear from them for years because there were no phones, computers, or email. This is why it's important to know as much about the trip as possible - so you can feel like you've contributed something to this great nation.
Nonetheless, as with the 1,000-person company that made the trek in 1843, the great majority of pioneers on the path lived to reach their objective in western Oregon's rich, well-watered country. The migration in 1844 was lower than the previous season, but it increased to about 3,000 in 1845. By 1846, when news of gold in California caused another wave of emigration, there were approximately 10,000 people on the road out west.
The number of travelers on the trail each year is impossible to estimate with any certainty. However, it is known from federal census records that around 20,000 Americans crossed the country by sea and overland to reach the newly settled territories between 1790 and 1860. If we assume that each traveler carried all his or her possessions on their back, then the total weight of goods transported across America on the backs of men, horses, and mules must have been enormous!
In addition to food for themselves and their animals, passengers traveling with the Smith family party had the help of a team of six black slaves who accompanied them on their trip west. The Smiths owned two women and four children - two boys and two girls - who were purchased along the way to be sold into slavery. The young boys became apprenticed to a wagonmaker and the girl born while they were on the trail was given up for adoption so that she could be raised by another family.
A wagon train took roughly a month to cross Nebraska and four months to travel the approximately 2,000 miles to either California or Oregon. Despite this, approximately 400,000 people walked the rutted roads from the Missouri to the Willamette rivers. The Oregon Trail was never a straight line.