May 16: Oregon Trail
On this date in 1843, the first major wagon train with 1,000 pioneers set out on the Oregon Trail from Elm Grove, Missouri. Previous pioneers had to make at least part of the journey by horse on on foot, but this group was large enough that they could make whatever road improvements were necessary along the way.
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Map of the Oregon Territory between the time of exploration by George Vancouver (1792) and the Oregon Treaty of 1846. The map shows the natural boundary of the Oregon Country based on the watershed divide of the Rockies, and the exploration routes of Capitan Gray (1792), Mackenzie (1792), Lewis and Clark (1805), and the western portion of the Oregon Trail. PDF. From the Maps ETC website.
A map showing the route and winter camps of the Lewis and Clark explorations from St. Luis in the Louisiana Territory to Astoria on the Pacific in Oregon Country (1803–1806). PDF. From the Maps ETC website.
A map of the western United States in 1840–1850 showing the Oregon Trail and Santa Fe, the two principal overland routes from Independence, Missouri, to the western territories and the Pacific. PDF. From the Maps ETC website.
The map shows the Old Spanish Trail from Los Angeles to Santa Fe, the Pioneer Route from the Platte River to San Francisco, the routes of Fremont (1843–1845), and the route of Kerry from San Diego east during the Mexican–American War (1846). PDF. From the Maps ETC website.