Chp. 16: The Conquest of the Far West


Taos Indians rebel in NM


General Stephen Kearny tried to establish a territorial govt that excluded the established Mexican ruling class. Officials were Anglo-American. Fear that these officials would confiscate lands and threaten societies, Taos rebelled. NM remained under military rule for 3 yrs until US organized territorial govt in 1850.

CA Gold Rush

1848 - 1849

"Concentration" policy


devised for western tribes in the face of white demands for access to lands in Indian Territory, each tribes was assigned its own defined reservation, confirmed by separate treaties. divided tribes from one another and made them easier to control

"Foreign Miners" tax passed


passed in CA to exclude Chinese from gold mining, also helped exclude Mexicans

Comstock Lode


silver deposits discovered in Nevada. First discovered by Henry Comstock. Found in Washoe district.

Colorado Gold Rush


gold discovered in Pike's Peak district of Colorado; following year 50,000 prospectors migrated to Colorado.

Brownsville Jail Raid


led by the rancher Juan Cortina, who freed all the Mexican prisoners inside. challenge to American power. little long-term effect

Kansas admitted to Union


Homestead Act passed


permitted settlers to buy plots of 160 acres for a small fee if they occupied the land they purchased for 5 yrs and improved it

Sand Creek Massacre


Arapaho and Cheyenne were coming into conflict with white miners settling in the region. Bands of Indians attacked stagecoach lines and settlements in an effort to regain lost territory. In response to these incidents, whites called up a large territorial militia, and the army issued dire threats of retribution. Colonel J.M. Chivington led a volunteer militia force and massacred 133 people

Nevada admitted to Union


Sioux Wars

1865 - 1867

"Long drives"


some Texas cattle ranchers began driving their combined herds as much as 260,000 head, north to Sedalia, Missouri, on the Missouri Pacific Railroad. the caravan suffered heavy losses and only a fraction of the animals arrived in Sedalia. proved cattle could be driven to distant markets and pastured along the trail and that they would even gain weight during the journey

Strike against Union Pacific


5000 Chinese workers strike against railroad company, demanded higher wages and shorter workday. Company isolated them, surrounded them with strike breakers, and starved them. Strike failed and most returned to jobs.

Indian Peace Commission


establishes "Indian territory" (later Oklahoma), composed of soldiers and civilians to recommend a new and presumably permanent Indian policy. Commission recommended replacing the "concentration" policy with a plan to move all the Plains Indians into two large reservations - Oklahoma and Dakotas

Nebraska admitted to Union


Black Kettle captured


him and his Cheyenne warriors captured and killed by US forces

Union Pacific completed


first transcontinental railroad, two lines joined at Promontory Point in northern Utah in the spring of 1869

US treaty w/ Chiricahua Apaches


agreed by Chief Cochise, agreed to peace in exchange for a reservation that included some of the tribe's traditional land

Timber Culture Act passed


permitted homesteaders to receive grants of 160 additional acres if they planted 40 acres of trees on them.

Barbed wire invented


invented by Joseph H. Glidden and I.L. Ellwood, became standard equipment on the plains and revolutionized fencing practices

Black Hills Gold Rush


Black Hills = Dakota territory

Southern buffalo herd nearly extinguished


brought on by hunting and ecological changes

Sioux uprising


Battle of Little Big Horn


the tribal warriors surprised Custer and 264 members of his regiment surrounded them, and killed every man

Colorado admitted to Union


Desert Land Act passed


provided that claimants could buy 640 acres at $1.25 an acre provided they irrigated part of their holdings within 3 yrs

Nez Perce Indians resist relocation


the govt. forced them to move into a reservation that another branch of the tribe had accepted by treaty in the 1850s

Timber and Stone Act passed


presumably applied to nonarable land, authorized sales at $2.50 an acre

California Workingmen's Party


created by Dennis Kearney, gained significant political power in CA,attacks Chinese immigration

Anaconda Copper Mine


begins operations in Montana. Launched by William Clark, marked beginning of an industry that would remain important to Montana for decades

Chinese Exclusion Act


banned Chinese immigration into US for 10 yrs and barred Chinese already in country from becoming naturalized citizens.



published by Helen Hunt Jackson, the setting for utopia, once the New World as a whole, had shrunk to the West of the US

"Huckleberry Finn"


published by Mark Twain, character who repudiated the constraints of organized society and attempted to escape into a natural world, yearning for freedom reflected larger vision of West as last refuge from constraints of civilization

Harsh winters help destroy open range cattle raising

1885 - 1887

Geronimo surrenders


ends Apache resistance

Dawes Severalty Act passed


provided for the gradual elimination of tribal ownership of land and the allotment of tracts to individual owners: 160 acres to the head of the family, 80 acres to a single adult or orphan, 40 acres to each dependent child. Adult owners were given US citizenship but unlike other citizens they could not gain full title to their property for 25 yrs. Applied to most of western tribes

Prolonged drought in Great Plains


Oklahoma opened to white settlement


formerly Indian Territory, granted territorial status

North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana, Washington admitted to Union


Battle of Wounded Knee


12/29/1890: 7th Cavalry (once was Custer's regiment) tried to round up group of 350 Sioux at Wounded Knee, South Dakota. 300 Indians massacred, 40 whites died.

Indian "Ghost Dance" revival


prophet Wovoka a Paiute inspired a spiritual awakening that began in Nevada. The new revival emphasized the coming of a messiah but its most conspicuous feature was a mass emotional "Ghost Dance" which inspired ecstatic visions that many participants believed were genuinely mystical

Wyoming, Idaho admitted to Union


"Jason Edwards"


published by Hamlin Garland, the agrarian frontier has seemed to be "the Golden West, the land of wealth and freedom and happiness. All of the associations called up by the spoken word, the West, were fabulous, mythic, hopeful."..."So this is the reality of a dream! A shanty on a barren plain, hot and lone as a desert. My God!"

Chinese Exclusion Act renewed


"Frontier Thesis"


proposed by Frederick Jackson Turner, argued the end of the "frontier" also marked the end of one of the most important democratizing forces in American life. Turner's definition of frontier: an empty, uncivilized land awaiting settlement

Utah admitted to Union


to gain statehood, Utah's political leaders had to convince Congress they had outlawed Mormon practice of polygamy

"The Virginian"


published by Owen Wister, romanticized the cowboy's freedom from traditional social constraints, his affinity w/ nature, supposed propensity for violence. Semi-educated man whose natural decency, courage, and compassion made him a powerful symbol of the supposed virtues of the frontier

Chinese Exclusion Act permanent


Burke Act


to speed assimilation of tribes but Indians continued to resist forced assimilation