The Santa Fe Trail

The Santa Fe Trail

Its History, Legends, and Lore

Book - 2000
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From 1610, when the Spanish founded the city of Santa Fe, to the 1860s, when the railroad brought unprecedented changes: here is the full, fascinating story of the great Santa Fe Trail which ran between Missouri and Kansas and New Mexico--a lifeline to and from the Southwest for more than two centuries. Drawing from letters, journals, expedition reports, business records, and newspaper stories, David Dary--one of our foremost historians of the Old West--brings to life the people who laid down the trail and opened commerce with Spanish America: Native Americans and mountain men, traders, trappers, and freighters, surveyors and soldiers, men and women of many different nationalities. Their firsthand accounts let us experience up close the spectacular scenery; the details of camping out in both friendly and hostile Indian territory; the constant danger from natural disasters or sudden attack; the hardworking, often maverick men who were employed on the wagon trains; the pleasures and entertainments at the southern end of the journey. The book makes clear how in the early years trade started and stopped at the whim of the Spanish, and how the trail finally grew and prospered, bringing the settlement of new towns and the creation of new wealth along the route. We also learn how the rapid spread of the railroads across the country inexorably replaced the long caravans of mule- and ox-drawn wagons, and the way of life they represented. With his comprehensive knowledge and his exceptional storytelling skills, David Dary has given us a vivid re-creation of an important time and place in American history.
Publisher: New York : A.A. Knopf, [2000]
Edition: First edition
Copyright Date: ©2000
ISBN: 9780375403613
Characteristics: xii, 368 pages : illustrations, maps ; 25 cm


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Dec 08, 2014

The Santa Fe Trail: Its History, Legends, and Lore by David Dary is an extensive look at the long history of one of America's famous overland trails. From before the founding of Santa Fe in 1610 to the dusty remnants that are still visible throughout the Midwest today, this book is an all-in-one guide to a cherished treasure of history. In the book the author reprints a 1943 quote from Texas writer J. Frank Dobie, which I think perfectly sums up the trail in its historical context: "Look at it in one way, Santa Fe was a mud village. In another way, it was the solitary gem in an empire of vacancy. Like that of Athens, though of an entirely different quality, its fame was out of all proportion to its size... But the Santa Fe Trail is one of the three great trails of America that, though plowed under, fenced across and cemented over, seem destined for perennial travel—by those happily able to go without tourist guides."


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