American West - 2 THE EARLY PIONEERS

Mind Map by , created over 5 years ago

GCSE History Mind Map on American West - 2 THE EARLY PIONEERS, created by pv7137 on 04/02/2014.

Created by pv7137 over 5 years ago
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American West - 2 THE EARLY PIONEERS
1 tough journey west across the Great Plains
1.1 The Oregon and California Trails stretched about 2000 miles and took about 5 months by loaded wagon.
1.1.1 Rivers, mountains and deserts had to be crossed. Lack of discipline and experience caused dangerous delays – it was vital to beat the winter deadline
1.2 The Donner Party, heading for California, tried a short cut and were trapped in deep snow in the Sierra Nevada in 1846. Of 87 emigrants, less than 50 survived till next spring – by eating those who had died!
1.3 Crossing the continent wasn’t cheap – those who could outfit a wagon must have had money.
1.3.1 Many were farmers who had sold their farms at a profit. Young men without funds could hire themselves out as helpers on the wagon trains.
2 california gold rush
2.1 Gold was found in California in 1848
2.2 Gold was found by James Marshall, working at a sawmill in California in January 1848 – just nine days before California changed hands from Mexico to the USA.
2.3 News leaked out and people went crazy!
2.4 Soon there were tens of thousands of fortune-seekers coming to California – they were known as the “49ers”. During 1848-1852 the non-Native American population rose from 14 000 to 225 000.
2.4.1 Many lived in makeshift camps, some of which grew into mining towns like Angels Camp and Placerville
2.5 Some came to run service industries: store keepers, saloon owners and prostitutes
2.6 not everyone struck gold
2.6.1 The first gold was found by panning the stream beds. Most people only came equipped for this method, but the streams were soon exhausted and expensive underground mining took over
2.6.2 Prices for everything were huge, including transport home. Many ‘49ers had little choice – they could work for mining companies in foul conditions, or starve.
2.7 At first almost all the miners were men, and they lived in makeshift tent-settlements, hoping to make a quick fortune. They were soon followed by shopkeepers and traders. Eventually women arrived, at first as cooks and prostitutes, but later as wives and girlfriends
2.7.1 Few miners made their fortune from gold. But they spent the savings they had used to go mining with, and this kick-started the California economy. When the men finally gave up their hopes for gold, they moved onto the land and settled there as farmers
3.1 Factors Pushing Them Out of the East
3.1.1 Poverty
3.1.2 Disease
3.1.3 Religious or social persecution
3.1.4 Taxation
3.1.5 Eastern overpopulation
3.2 Factors Pulling Them to the West
3.2.1 A new start
3.2.2 Tall tales and newspaper reports
3.2.3 Fertile cheap land
3.2.4 Government encouragement
3.2.5 Gold and silver
4 Mountain Men
4.1 Explorers and trappers (known as ‘mountain men’) had some knowledge of the routes that would later become the Oregon and California trails in the 1840s. In particular, the South Pass – the only possible route through the Rockies – was first discovered by the mountain men
4.1.1 Mountain men came from a variety of backgrounds, but all adopted Native American survival skills
4.2 The Great American Desert
4.2.1 Between the East and the fertile land in Oregon and California were The Great Plains.
4.2.2 The extremes of climate, sparse rainfall and hard ground meant they were at first thought sustainable for agriculture. They were called the Great American Desert.
5 Manifest Destiny
5.1 Many white Americans believed that they were destined to occupy and govern all of North America
5.2 They saw it as their God-given right. They thought it was their “manifest destiny” to do so.
5.3 The white settlers saw their religion and culture as superior to those of the Native Americans – they saw themselves as civilising the continent
6 Problems of law and order in mining towns
6.1 Criminals were attracted to the Gold Rush. There were plenty of con men, violent thieves and claim-jumpers (who stole other people’s claims to successful mines).
6.2 People stole other people’s land and mining stake
6.3 Men were often armed with guns and other weapons; this meant that disagreements between people were often ended in shootings
6.3.1 Heavy drinking was common
6.4 No US government law officers to protect the miners, people made their own arrangements
7 The first white Americans to move west were the mountain men, who went to the Rockies to hunt beaver, bear and elk in the 1820s and 1830s
7.1 Then, in 1841, a wagon train pioneered the 3,200km-long Oregon Trail to the woodland areas of the north-west coast of America
7.1.1 In 1844, 1,500 settlers made the dangerous journey westwards That same year, a few farmers managed to cross the Rockies to California The mountain men were not settlers, and all these trailblazers were moving across the Great Plains, rather than onto them. However, they were vital in the process of settling the West, because they discovered the different trails west across the Plains, which were later followed by genuine settlers.
8 Donner
8.1 The journey westward was highly dangerous for the early pioneers - conditions were harsh, and the distance was great. The story of the Donner Party highlights the plight and severeness of such a journey. About 80 people, led by George Donner, set out from Missouri in May 1846, following the famous 'trailblazer' Lansford W Hastings. The party left Fort Bridger, at the foot of the Rockies, on 31 July, which was late in the season. Map showing Donner Trail They made the tragic decision to take the Hastings Cut-off - a shortcut which they were told would save them 400 miles. The route was too hard. They had to abandon all their cattle while crossing the Salt Lake Desert. They were attacked by Paiute warriors. Fights broke out - in one, a man was killed. On 30 October the party reached the last mountain pass before California, where they were stopped by snow - after a journey of 2,500 miles. They were just 150 miles from Sutter's Fort (now Sacramento) in California. For four

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