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Chapter 13, Section 1

Oregon Country

• Why were settlers and trappers attracted to Oregon and the Far West? • How did mountain men help explore lands in the Far West? • What role did missionaries play in the settlement of Oregon? • What hardships did settlers face on wagon trains to the West?


Settlers and Trappers Were Attracted to Oregon

Chapter 13, Section 1

Oregon Country—a huge region west of the Rocky Mountains that included present-day Oregon, Washington, Idaho, and parts of Wyoming, Montana, and western Canada. – – – – –

Good farmland along the Pacific coast attracted farmers. Fertile soil Mild temperatures year round Plentiful rainfall Forests further inland and in the Rocky Mountains attracted fur trappers. – Beavers and other fur-bearing animals At first, four countries claimed Oregon—United States, Great Britain, Spain, and Russia. Later, Spain and Russia dropped their claims.


Settlers and Trappers Were Attracted to Oregon

Chapter 13, Section 1


Mountain Men in the Far West

Chapter 13, Section 1

• The China trade: New England merchants stopped along the Oregon coast to buy furs to sell in China. • The mountain men: These rugged individualists—people who follow their own independent course in life—led dangerous lives. They faced long, cold winters, wild animals, and hunger. Often they learned trapping and hunting skills from Indians. • The fur trade: During fall and spring, mountain men tended their traps. Then in July, many mountain men headed for a rendezvous—a French word meaning “get-together”—at a place chosen the year before. There they met with traders, who bought the furs. • Famous mountain men: In their search for furs, mountain men explored parts of the West, then showed settlers the way. Jedediah Smith, Manuel Lisa, and James Beckwourth were some well-known mountain men.


Missionaries in Oregon

Chapter 13, Section 1

• The first white Americans to settle permanently in Oregon Country were missionaries, including Marcus and Narcissa Whitman. • The Whitmans built a mission near the Columbia River. They worked with the Cayuse Indians. Soon other missionaries and settlers joined them. • Missionaries attracted more settlers when they sent glowing reports about Oregon to friends and family in the East. • Some settlers carried diseases that struck the Indians. A measles outbreak killed many Cayuses. • Indians, angry over the spread of disease attacked the Whitman’s mission and killed the Whitmans and 12


Life On the Oregon Trail

Chapter 13, Section 1

Beginning in 1843, wagon trains left an area near Independence, Missouri, every spring and followed trails 2,000 miles west to Oregon. The route became known as the Oregon Trail. – – – –

People met there and formed themselves into wagon trains. Each group elected leaders. On the trail, people awoke at dawn. Everyone had a job to do. Often people discarded belongings along the way to lighten their wagons. – Wagon trains faced many dangers—rain-swollen rivers in the spring, blistering heat in the summer, early snows in the fall. The biggest threat was sickness. – Pioneers often traded with Native Americans for food.


Chapter 13, Section 1

Section 1 Assessment

The mountain men of the West were known for trapping furs and also for a) b) c) d)

crossing the Pacific to sell their furs in China. establishing missions among the Native Americans of the Oregon Country. making beaver hats. exploring the land and showing settlers the way west.

The biggest danger pioneers on the Oregon Trail faced was a) b) c) d)

Indians. illness. wheat taller than a man. not having enough gear.

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Chapter 13, Section 1

Section 1 Assessment

The mountain men of the West were known for trapping furs and also for a) b) c) d)

crossing the Pacific to sell their furs in China. establishing missions among the Native Americans of the Oregon Country. making beaver hats. exploring the land and showing settlers the way west.

The biggest danger pioneers on the Oregon Trail faced was a) b) c) d)

Indians. illness. wheat taller than a man. not having enough gear.

Want to connect to the American Nation link for this section? Click here.


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