The West

By: Chaz Zickus


The west was the last part of the United States to be settled by the British colonies of the eastern seaboard. much of the west came from the Louisiana purchase in 1803. the south west was a Mexican possession until 1843. The Louis and Clark expedition of 1804-06 established most of the Oregon trail. The gold rush of California started in 1849. in 1869 the transcontinental railroad was finished. Then the 1850-1960 census showed that the Wests population was more than twice the national average


The West is mostly west of the Great Plains and includes Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming.
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Physical characteristics of the West

Natural resources in the west include Gold, silver, uranium, copper, tin, and other minerals. Five mountain ranges run through the west, the Rockies, the Cascade, and the Sierra Nevada mountains.Then there are the two in Alaska the Alaska range and he Brooks range. There is also the Great Basin the lies in between the Rocky mountain range and the Sierra Nevada and cascade mountains.


There are many different cultures in the western part of the United States because it stretches from Alaska to Hawaii and from California to Colorado. This results in many different cultures in this region. Population started to rise in the west due to the completion of the transcontinental railroad. In places where many different train stations lead to like Seattle, Los Angeles, and San Fransisco. In Places like Alaska that have extreme winters or Hawaii with their summers People have to adapt to colder or warmer weather. In Alaska they have to adapt to the minuscule amount of resources are actually available. In both places with warmer and colder climates the main way people adapt is by how they dress, for example people in Hawaii where lighter clothes such as a T-shirt and shorts while people from Alaska Probably where heavier clothing.


Depending on where you are in the west will determine what kind of jobs there are, for example If you are on the coast you will find lots of fishermen as when you move towards the rocky mountains the more you will find people mining for the abundant natural resources. Transportation tin the west has changed through out the years from wagons on the Oregon trail to the Transcontinental railroad in the 1800's to the Interstate Highway system in the 1950's There are many Urban areas in the West such as Los Angeles, San Fransisco, Seattle, Denver, Phoenix, Las Vegas, and Salt Lake City. Al tough most of the west would be rural area because the southern part of the west is desert and the eastern part and some of the areas near the coast are mountains.

section questions

  1. How does the abundance or scarcity of water resources affect the natural vegetation in the west? In some parts of the west like the North West plant life and vegetation flourish due to the abundance of rain fall. However in the South West there is very little plant life due to scarce rain fall.
  2. What major natural resources have influenced major economic activities in the western United States? A major natural resource that caused major economic activity was Gold in 1849.
  3. How have Geography and distance affected where people live and work in the region? The geography causes people not to live many places in the south west or in the rocky mountain area due to difficult living conditions. Although there are still people that live in places like the rocky mountains so they could live close to their job, like miners.

Interesting facts

  • Even though the west is considered the last frontier some places like California,Washington, and Oregon were settled before most Midwestern states
  • Much of the population is sparse
  • Government own million of hectares of land that are used for fishing, camping,boating, grazing,lumbering and mining


  • WA
  • Olympia
  • Seattle
  • 71,362 square miles
  • 7.062 Million
  • Washingtonian

State Flag

The Washington state flag is a solid green background with the state seal in the middle

State Symbols

  • The Evergreen State
  • Al-ki or Alki
  • "Louie louie"
  • American Goldfinch
  • Rhododendron macrophyllum
  • Tsuga heterophyllia


  • MO
  • Helena
  • Billings
  • 147, 164 square miles
  • 1.024 million
  • Montanans

state symbols

  • The treasure state
  • Gold and silver
  • Montana
  • Western meadowlark
  • Bitter root
  • Western yellow pine


  • World Geography textbook pages 172-175