The Oregon Trail is filled with plenty of history. Although many of us have learned about some of the tails thanks to the ever-popular computer game, it turns out there is a lot more to the Oregon Trail than we learned from the history books.
The Oregon Trail started back in the 1840s
Although some people made the journey in the ‘30s, the Oregon Trail didn’t become an official path until the 1840s, as thousands of people used wagon trains to head across the nation in 1843. Eventually, The Great Emigration led to the official Oregon Trail.
Inventors tried to speed up traveling the trail
Walking the Oregon Trail took between four and six months. Eventually, inventors wanted to speed this up, so Rufus Porter invented the Aero-Locomotive, a type of airship that could travel 100 mph, but no one invested, so the idea was canned.
Native Americans have created their own Oregon Trail game
‘The Oregon Trail’ was a favorite game of many. However, many Native Americans wanted something more realistic to the history, including how natives were forced from their homes. Several game designers have since worked to create ‘When Rivers Were Trails’ to tell the Native American side of the story.
Dysentery and cholera were common on the Oregon Trail
Traveling the Oregon Trail was a dangerous task, especially as dysentery and cholera rampaged the trail. Cholera could end someone’s life in as little as a day, and it spread so fast due to using water supplies as bathrooms and not having the means to bury the passed.
Guidebooks for the trail became a joke
Most Oregon Trail travelers knew just where to go. However, that didn’t stop people from printing guidebooks, which turned out to be so unreliable that they became the center of plenty of jokes.
There were plenty of ways to cross rivers
Often one of the most dangerous aspects of the Oregon Trail was crossing the many rivers. It turns out travelers had plenty of options, choosing from crossing on foot, creating homemade rafts, sealing and floating their wagons, or using bridges.
Women were expected to work on the Oregon Trail
Being a woman on the Oregon Trail was no easy task, as they were still expected to perform their duties of the time. This meant preparing meals and mending clothes, as well as taking on “men’s” tasks, such as repairing wagons, hunting, shoeing animals, and defending their goods.
You can still travel the Oregon Trail
If you want to experience the Oregon Trail for yourself, then you can. Thousands of people travel the trail each year, but this time, you can do it by car if you want something a little faster. Want something more authentic? Some brave people have even conquered the 2,170 miles in a covered wagon.
The Oregon Trail will forever be a part of American history. However, that doesn’t mean that everyone knows everything there is to know about this iconic moment in time as the history books simply touch the surface of the Oregon Trail.