The Santa Fe Trail

By Camden Czech

The Santa Fe Trail

In 1821, Mexico opened its borders to American traders just after gaining independence. William Becknell was one of the first people to adventure into Mexico to trade with Mexican traders. He was gone for several months, and when he came back, he was rich because of his success with Mexican traders and merchants. Others saw this and started on their own, eager to make themselves rich with these newfound trading partners.


The Santa Fe Trail started in Missouri and went all the way to Sante Fe, New Mexico. In order to get to the wealth, you had to take your caravan and travel over mountainous terrain, deserts, vast plains, and other dangerous areas. Becknell traveled the Santa Fe trail again, but this time, he found a narrow cutoff that eliminated the most dangerous part of the journey, the mountain pass. The cutoff had its flaws, though, because it led out to extremely hot and dry deserts. The desert killed a lot of his men, but eventually found a stream, and made their way to Santa Fe. The Sante Fe Trail was finally laid out, and traders by the hundreds flocked to become rich, just like William Becknell before them.