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U.S. History Topics » States & Regions » New Mexico

Glorieta and Raton Passes: Gateways to the Southwest

examines the role of these two passes in ensuring that the Southwest would become and remain part of the U.S. Learn about traders and armies that depended on the passes, which were part of the Santa Fe Trail, as the best way to get through the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. The Santa Fe Trail was a key trade route until the railroad reached Santa Fe in 1880. Like the trail, the railroad and later highways ran through the two passes. (National Park Service, Teaching with Historic Places)

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Interesting Fact:

William Becknell was the "father of the Santa Fe trade." In the summer of 1821 he started west from Franklin, Missouri, with 20 or 30 men. He followed the Arkansas River and spent two days moving rocks so his horses could get through 7,834-foot-high Raton Pass, where Indians, Conquistadors, trappers, and traders had already established a rough trail.
Wagons on the Santa Fe Trail, late 19th century. (Western History Collection, Denver Public Library, Santa Fe Railway photo)

...on the Santa Fe Trail

 This website also appears in:
U.S. History Topics »  Movements »  Transportation
U.S. History Topics »  States & Regions »  South
U.S. History Topics »  States & Regions »  West
U.S. Time Periods »  1801-1861: Expansion » 
U.S. Time Periods »  1850-1877: Civil War & Reconstruction » 

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