Migration Throughout The Nation

migration to the western portion of the nation

The Great American Desert

The earlier maps, near the nineteenth century show a great desert near the middle of North America. The area here was called the Great American Desert. This area isn't wooded, and contains North Dakota, Montana Kansas, South Dakota, the eastern portion of Colorado, Nebraska and Oklahoma. This land is more recently know as the Great Plains.

The Homestead Act

The Homestead Act enables people to migrate to the great plains without trouble. Any individual over the age of 21, that is head of the family, and is a citizen of the United States or intends to become one may receive land. The limit a person may claim is 160 acres, so long you pay the $18 filing fee. After living on the land for 5 years, and showing some degree of improvements you can officially own the land. Or you may buy the land outright for $1.25 an acre.


Exodusters were members of a mass migration to the west form the south. Exodusters were often african-american and were seeking refuge from the cruelty of the south. This mass migration occurred mostly between 1879 and 1881. It began on the Mississippi which was thought to be the gate to freedom. The exodusters found close to 20 african-american towns in Kansas. Others moved on to other states in the great plains.