tutor2u | The Oregon Trail

Study Notes

The Oregon Trail

Level:
GCSE
Board:
Edexcel

Last updated 24 Oct 2017

The Oregon Trail was the main route that migrants used to travel from the east of the USA, to the west. First published by explorer Jedidiah Smith in 1825, it was the only practical way for migrants to make this journey. The first migrants who used the trail reached Oregon in 1836, and by 1869 over 400,000 people had made the journey.

The Oregon Trail was the main route that migrants used to travel from the east of the USA, to the west.  First published by explorer Jedidiah Smith in 1825, it was the only practical way for migrants to make this journey. The first migrants who used the trail reached Oregon in 1836, and by 1869 over 400,000 people had made the journey.

Although the Oregon Trail provided a practical route to the west, it was still a long and dangerous journey. The trail was 3,200km long and took around four months to complete. Dangers of the trail included getting stuck, falling ill, and running out of supplies. Disease was also a problem and cholera spread as some groups of migrants drank from the same rivers that previous groups had used as a toilet!

  To ensure their safety, migrants were advised to complete their journey before the freezing winter, make sure they took enough food to survive, and to travel in groups of people with a range of skills such as doctors and carpenters. Although many migrants feared Plains Indians would attack them, there is very little evidence to suggest this happened.  In fact, Plains Indians were more likely to help migrants on their journey. 

Recommended

Exam support for 2022

Online Grade Booster Courses for A-Level Exams in May & June 2022

Exam technique, advance information support, live revision and more from the tutor2u subject specialist teams

Enrol now

© 2002-2022 Tutor2u Limited. Company Reg no: 04489574. VAT reg no 816865400.