Wild West

What was the Wild West?

Wild West was the name that was popularly used for the western regions of United States of America. When USA was born in 1776, the country comprised of only 13 states which were all located along the eastern coast of the country.

But then in 1804, America purchased the Louisiana Territory from France. This was a huge piece of land which was located towards the west of the 13 states. With this land, the size of America immediately doubled. It was this land and the areas further west which were later called the 'Wild West'.

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Why was it called the Wild West?

Well the 13 states with which USA began had law and order. They had a proper government and a constitution. The Louisiana Territory which America had purchased, on the other hand, was entirely different. This was a huge part of land which didn’t have any cities.

The only populations in these lands were the Native American tribes who lived in small groups and villages, and were scattered all over the area. There weren’t any proper roads, no easy way to travel into this land from the eastern states, and there was no government infrastructure. For this reason, the Americans who started traveling towards this land eventually called it the Wild West.

Americans go into the Wild West

In 1804, President Thomas Jefferson and the U.S. government purchased the Louisiana Territory. President Jefferson then sent the Lewis and Clark expedition in order to get to know this land better. When the expedition returned in 1806, Americans in the 13 states were excited. The new land promised many opportunities. For instance, anyone who dared to travel into the Wild West could own a large portion of land, farm it, mine the land for precious metals such as gold and perform many other jobs.

So in the 19th century, a steady stream of American settlers, farmers and miners started pouring into the Wild West. First they went to the areas close to the borders of the 13 original states. Then they started venturing farther and farther. In this way, Americans settled in the Wild West, established towns and cities, farmed and mined, started businesses and eventually carved out many new states from the Wild West.

What happened to the Native Americans?

When American settlers started arriving in the Wild West, the Native Americans were naturally unhappy. Before this, they had all the land to themselves. They lived freely, hunted bison and other animals, farmed wherever they liked and lived in a way of their own. But when American settlers started arriving, they began to take over land, hunted bison so much that they almost ended its population and often came into conflict with the Native Americans.

This led to many battles between the white Americans and the Native Americans. In the 19th century, the American government made treaties with many Native American tribes which guaranteed that they could keep their lands if they lived peacefully. But later, the government broke these treaties and took over almost all the land of the Native Americans, giving them just special reservations to live on.

The Writer’s Guide to Everyday Life in the Wild West from 1840-1900

You Wouldn’t Want to Live in a Wild West Town! (Revised Edition) Paperback – September 1, 2013

Learn More about the American Wild West at Wikipedia