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Santa Fe Trail The Santa Fe Trail was one of the longest routes in the United States in the prerail- road era It was about nine-hundred or so miles long The original eastern terminus was Franklin Missouri but later the town was destroyed by a massive flood and the terminus was changed to Independence Missouri which is farther west The trail for most Americans ended in La Villa Real de Santa Fe de San Francisco de Asis Mexico which in present day is Santa Fe New Mexico These trading posts were selected because it was much easier and cheaper for northern Mexico to trade with Missourians than to freight manufactured goods up from Mexico City The original purpose of this trail was to serve as a trade route between the United States and Mexico Because Missouri was a new state gold and silver were needed to help out their economy Early travelers transported goods by packhorses William Becknell was the first to follow this route and he is the one known that opened the trail After that traders took wagons to Santa Fe in exchange for burros furs gold horses and silver Because there were so many users of the trail an extension was made that went for Santa Fe to Los Angeles which was called The Old Spanish Trail In the 1800s the Santa Fe Railroad was being constructed and when it was completed in 1872 the days of the Santa Fe Trail as a main transportation were over Today only about fifteen percent of the original Santa Fe Trail exists Freight wagons no longer cross the prairies today but the Trails legacy endures as buildings historic sites landmarks and original wagon-wheel ruts The National Park Service working with the Santa Fe Trail Association coordinates efforts to preserve develop and enjoy the Trail and provides technical and limited financial help to Trail projects Private landowners nonprofit groups and federal state
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