19th C. American Westward Expansion

1800-1819 . 1820-1839 . 1840-1859 . 1860-1879 . 1880-1900


History Happens.

History is our context for the present. Sometimes, it's a harsh mistress-the image of ourselves reflected back through time is often unflattering-but the past is also our most potent guide for what comes next.

The History Wall

These links access the abridged and expanded text from The Museum of Westard Expansion's History Wall. This is a textual timeline highlighting the events defining the real story of "how the American West was won."

The Great Trails

I encountered the History Wall, housed in St. Louis' Gateway Arch, while traveling down Route 66. A much abridged version of its text went into the Nomadic Spirit travelogue I keep while on the road. I felt it appropriate since Route 66 seems to complete the process of American Westward expansion, ending an era we associate with The Great Trails such as the Santa Fe, Oregon and California trails over which so many traders, trappers, gold-prospectors and other emigrants passed. Route 66 will probably go down in history as America's last Great Trail.

The new Nomadic Spirit edition

This web edition has restored nearly all the History Wall's original text and added an event or two. And I've been embedding lots of hyper-text.


1800-1819 . 1820-1839 . 1840-1859 . 1860-1879 . 1880-1900