The Wild West, Industrialization & Urbanization

  • The Lewis & Clark Expedition Embarks from St. Louis

    The Lewis & Clark Expedition Embarks from St. Louis
    ...and the myth of the Wild West is born!
  • Mormon Exodus to Utah Begins

    Mormon Exodus to Utah Begins
    Between 1847 and 1869, when the transcontinental railroad was completed, about 70,000 Mormons made the trek to Salt Lake City, Utah.
    They are one of many religious groups who migrated to the West for reasons that varied from deisire for freedom from religious persecution to missionary work with Native Americans.
  • Gold is Discovered at Sutter's Mill in California

    Gold is Discovered at Sutter's Mill in California
    The promise of striking it rich sent many settlers West.
  • Homestead Act is Passed

    Homestead Act is Passed
    The Homestead Act accelerated the settlement of the western territory by granting adult heads of families 160 acres of surveyed public land for a minimal filing fee and 5 years of continuous residence on that land.
  • Morrill Act

    Morrill Act
    Signed into law by Abraham Lincoln, this act provided federal government land to states in order to build states colleges and universities.
  • Yosemite Grant

    Yosemite Grant
    Abraham Lincoln signs a bill that makes Yosemite Valley the first U.S. land to be set aside fro preservation and public use by action of the federal government.
  • Sand Creek Massacre

    Sand Creek Massacre
    An atrocity in the Indian Wars of the United States that occurred on November 29, 1864, when a 700-man force of Colorado Territory militia attacked and destroyed a village of friendly Cheyenne and Arapaho encamped in southeastern Colorado Territory,[3] killing and mutilating an estimated 70–163 Indians, about two-thirds of whom were women and children.
  • Buffalo Bill Kills Over 4,000 Buffalo

    Buffalo Bill Kills Over 4,000 Buffalo
    In a little over a year, Bill Cody shot and killed over 4,000 buffalo in order to feed railroad workers who were building the transcontinental railroad.
    9 million buffalo would be killed in a single decade, and by 1900, only 800 of the estimated 32 million remained. Several starred in Bufflao Bill's Wild West Shows.
  • 1st Transcontinental Railroad is Completed

    1st Transcontinental Railroad is Completed
    Built largely by the labor of Chinese and Irish immigrants, this connected the vast web of railroads in the East with Sacremento, California.
    Many later western lines would follow older migration trails or cow paths.
  • Barbed Wire Fence is Patented

    Barbed Wire Fence is Patented
    Joseph Glidden patented barbed wire, which ranchers used to fence in their herds, effectively ending the idea of the open range.
  • Battle of Little Big Horn

    Battle of Little Big Horn
    Also known as "Custer's Last Stand", this is the last major victory for the Cheyenne and Sioux Indians against the U.S. in their battle to retain their lands and way of life.
    263 American calverymen died here.
  • "Exodusters" Migrate to Kansas

    "Exodusters" Migrate to Kansas
    To escape Southern "Redemption", many Southern blacks migrated along the Mississippi River into Kansas to farm.
  • Timber and Stone Act

    Timber and Stone Act
    Land that was deemed unfit for agriculture in the West could be purchased a $2.50 per acre if the owners agreed to use the land for timber or mining.
    Large companies used this law to gain vast amounts of land to expand their corporate holdings in these industries.
  • "A Century of Dishonor" is published

    "A Century of Dishonor" is published
    Helen Hunt Jackson wrote an expose on the unjust treatment of Native Americans in an effort to convince the government to change its Indian policies.
    At her own expense, she sent a copy of the book to every member of Congress.
  • Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show

    Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show
    Bill Cody's circus-like show brought the Wild West to audiences around the world and even featured historical figures like Sitting Bull.
    Cody kept the show running in various incarnations until 1908.
  • National TIme Zones are Established

    National TIme Zones are Established
    Time zones are set in both the United States and Canada to standardize time for railroad travel.
    Before then, time was a local matter. Noon differed from town to town, depending on when the sun was directly above one's head.
  • Dawes Act

    Dawes Act
    This act ended community ownership of Indian land and forced them on to individual plots with the intention of assimilating Native Americans into American society.
    Mismanagement and unintended consequences led to the marginalization of Native Americans and terminated their traditional way of life.
    The law was finally changed in 1934.
  • Western Territories are Granted Statehood

    Western Territories are Granted Statehood
    Between 1889 and 1890, North & South Dakota, Washington, Montana, Wyoming, and Idaho are granted statehood.
  • Oklahoma Land Rush

    Oklahoma Land Rush
    At precisely twelve noon a cannon's boom unleashed the largest land rush America ever saw. Carried by all kinds of transportation - horses, wagons, trains, bicycles or on foot - an estimated 100,000 raced to claim plots of land in an area of land in northern Oklahoma Territory known as the Cherokee Strip because it was Indian Territory that was divided up for white settlement. This was only one of many land rushes in the West.
  • Wounded Knee Massacre

    Wounded Knee Massacre
    The battle took place on the Lakota Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota, USA. It was the last battle of the American Indian Wars.
  • U.S. Announces the Frontier is Officially "Closed"

    U.S. Announces the Frontier is Officially "Closed"
    That did not keep more people from migrating West!