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These methods proved slow and expensive, and they provided limited access to western lands.
Immigrant farmers initially skipped over most of the West, migrating instead to fertile valleys in California and Oregon by a variety of land and sea routes. victory in the Mexican War (1846-1848) gave the young nation vast new areas of land in the West.
Two events helped spur a much larger migration by 1849. Second, a gold rush in California in 1849 attracted droves of American fortune seekers called "Forty-Niners." The gold rush also attracted Chinese, Europeans, South Americans, and others, all hoping to strike it rich.
This article will first describe the great changes experienced on the western frontier and the different peoples who inhabited that frontier.
It will then focus on three major economic activities that transformed the region: mining, ranching, and farming.
This feat made possible coast-to-coast travel in 8 to 10 days.
Later railway lines, including the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe and the Great Northern, added further travel options. In addition to bringing settlers west, railroads stimulated many economic activities. Railroads enabled people to ship wheat, corn, cattle, sheep, mining ore, and other products more quickly and cheaply.At the beginning of that period, a great variety of Native American cultures dominated most parts of the region.By the end of the era, the West had become a bustling society populated by new immigrants of all kinds.Later discoveries of rich ore deposits spurred new migrations to a variety of places, including Pikes Peak in Colorado, the Comstock Lode in Nevada, and the Black Hills of South Dakota.In each instance, the local population soared, as miners poured in and people engaged in supplying the miners' many needs flocked to the latest boom towns.As a result, immigrants to the West had to adapt and find new ways of doing things to survive.Their efforts were aided by improvements in transportation, communication, farm equipment, and other areas.This instrument, the first used to send messages by means of wires and electric current, could transmit messages in minutes.Transcontinental telegraph service was established in 1861.describes one of the most exciting periods in the history of the United States.From 1850 to 1900, swift and widespread changes transformed the American West.