Timeline of Events in Westward Expansion
|1622||Indian chief Powhatan's younger brother, Opechanough, starts the first Indian war by attacking colonists in Jamestown, Virginia, to protest white use of Indian land.|
|1754||The French defeat George Washington and his men at the Battle of Fort Necessity on July 3–4, beginning the French and Indian War.|
|1763||The first Treaty of Paris is signed, ending the French and Indian War. Under the treaty, France relinquishes its claim to Canada and the Ohio Valley to England and hands over its holdings west of the Mississippi River to Spain.|
|1763||Hoping to end Indian attacks in the Ohio Valley, the British issue the Proclamation of 1763, which recalls all settlers from west of the...|
(The entire section is 4166 words.)
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Words to Know
- The addition of territory to a country. Annexation became an issue in westward expansion when Southerners called for the United States to annex the Republic of Texas.
- The name given to people who traveled to California via the water route from the east coast of the United States south along the Atlantic coast, across the Isthmus of Panama, and north on the Pacific Ocean.
- Descendants of the original Spanish settlers in California.
- Cattle Drive:
- Moving a herd of cattle from the open range to a railroad line. Cattle drives were led by bands of cowboys who tended the cattle.
- An acute intestinal infection. Cholera causes violent vomiting, fever, chills, and diarrhea. This infection killed hundreds of emigrants making their way west.
- Regions under the political control of a distant country.
- Continental Divide:
(The entire section is 1491 words.)
Research and Activity Ideas
The following list of research and activity ideas is intended to offer suggestions for complementing social studies and history curricula, to trigger additional ideas for enhancing learning, and to suggest cross-disciplinary projects for library and classroom use.
Traveling West: You're living in the east in 1849, and hear rumors of gold in California. You decide to pack up your belongings and travel west in search of your fortune. What will you need to pack? How will you get there? Will you go alone or with a group of other goldseekers? Draw up a plan for your journey that includes a list of those things you will take and a description of the route on which you will travel. Your plan should address problems you may encounter and what preparations you've made to overcome these obstacles.
Indian Cultures Before and After Contact: There were hundreds of Indian tribes living throughout North America in the years before Americans claimed the continent for their own, and every one of these tribes changed when they came into contact with white people. Choose one Indian tribe and try to understand how their lives changed as the result of contact. Write a "before contact" description that describes Indian social practices, religious beliefs, and economic practices. Then, write an "after contact" description of how Indian...
(The entire section is 938 words.)
Where to Learn More
The following list of resources focuses on works appropriate for middle school or high school students. These sources offer broad coverage of the history of westward expansion. For additional resources on specific topics please see individual chapters. Please note that the web site addresses, though verified prior to publication, are subject to change.
Billington, Ray Allen. Westward to the Pacific: An Overview of Westward Expansion. St. Louis, MO: Jefferson National Expansion Historical Association, 1979.
Collins, James L. Exploring the American West. New York: Franklin Watts, 1989.
Edwards, Cheryl, ed. Westward Expansion: Exploration and Settlement. Lowell, MA: Discovery Enterprises, 1995.
Erdosh, George. Food and Recipes of the Westward Expansion. New York: PowerKids Press, 1997.
Faber, Harold. From Sea to Sea: The Growth of the United States. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1967, 1992.
Mancall, Peter C., ed. Westward Expansion, 1800–1860. Detroit: Gale, 1999.
Milner, Clyde A., II, Carol A. O'Connor, and Martha A. Sandweiss, eds. The Oxford History of the American West. New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1994.
(The entire section is 351 words.)