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Idaho probably would not be a part of the United States today if there was no Oregon Trail. The Oregon Trail was the only route for settlers to get across the mountains in order to move west.

The Oregon Trail journey was very difficult. One in 10 people died along the way: many walked the entire 2000 mile journey barefoot. Most Native Americans were helpful to the emigrants. The real enemies of the pioneers were cholera and accidental gunshots.

The first emigrants to go to Oregon in a covered wagon were Marcus and Narcissa Whitman in 1836, but the big migration started in 1843. From 1843 to 1869, more than 500,000 pioneers traveled the Oregon Trail. Some went all the way to Oregonís Willamette Valley in search of farmland. Others split off for California in search of gold. The great migration ended in 1869, when the transcontinental railroad was completed.



For additional lesson plans and ideas relating to this topic and many others try TeacherSource at PBS Online! You will find activities, lesson plans, teacher guides and links to other great educational web sites! Search the database by keyword, grade level or subject area! Mathline and Scienceline are also great resources for teachers seeking teaching tips, lesson plans, assessment methods, professional development, and much more!

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