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The term "Dust Bowl" is used to refer to a huge area of the American Midwest that experienced a terrible drought during the Great Depression.  The drought led to a situation in which huge dust storms arose.  This gave the Dust Bowl its name.

The drought arose in 1931 and...

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The term "Dust Bowl" is used to refer to a huge area of the American Midwest that experienced a terrible drought during the Great Depression.  The drought led to a situation in which huge dust storms arose.  This gave the Dust Bowl its name.

The drought arose in 1931 and continued until 1939.  It prevented crops from growing in fast enough to hold the soil when high winds came to the region as they tend to do quite often.  This led to the huge dust storms.  These storms affected a tremendous area of land, largely in Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, and Colorado.  They forced thousands of people off their land (which many had lost when they could no longer pay their debts).  These people became the "Okies" who traveled west in search of some way to make a living.

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The "Dust Bowl" was the name given to the southern Plains in the United States during the terrible ecological disaster that struck the area in the 1930s. Basically, the region had been overfarmed for decades, particularly in the early twentieth century, when grain prices reached historically high levels. When an extended severe drought struck the region, it caused the loosened topsoils to dry up. This made farming almost impossible. Compounding this disaster were massive dust storms kicked up by high winds that blocked out the sunlight, caused respiratory illnesses (especially among the children and elderly) and buried cars, livestock, and even houses under piles of choking, powdery dirt. The region became basically uninhabitable for many people. Of course, this catastrophe only compounded the devastating effects of the Great Depression, which struck the farming sector perhaps harder than anywhere else. Millions of residents of the southern Plains, nicknamed "Okies," made their way to the West Coast and other locations, where they took low-paying jobs in order to eke out a living. 

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