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Events of the West (1820 - 1830)

   
1820 The Missouri Compromise brings Missouri and Maine into the union and slavery to the American West.
1820 By this time more than 20,000 Indians live in virtual slavery on the California missions.
1821 Mexico issues a land grant to the American Moses Austin for a settlement of 300 families in Tejas, in the hope that responsible Americans given a stake in the province will help deter unsavory American squatters crowding over the border from Louisiana.
1821 Czar Alexander closes Alaskan waters to foreign vessels and extends the territory of the Russian American Company to the 51st parallel, into an area claimed by both the British and the United States.
1821 Mexicans rebel against Spanish rule, winning independence.
1821 William Becknell leads a trading expedition from Franklin, Missouri, into the southern Rockies, where they encounter a Mexican patrol. Informed that Mexico is now an independent republic and that restrictions against foreign traders have been relaxed, Becknell turns south to Santa Fe, where he finds a ready market for his goods. Over the next several years he repeats the trip, blazing a new path along the Cimmaron and Canadian Rivers that becomes part of the Santa Fe Trail.
1822 William Henry Ashley and his partner Andrew Henry, Missouri businessmen, advertise for "enterprising young men" to join a fur trading expedition to the upper Missouri. The young Jedediah Smith and the legendary riverman Mike Fink are among those who answer the call. The group establishes an outpost, Fort Henry (later Fort Union), near the mouth of the Yellowstone River, but meets resistance from the local Arikara Indians who want to maintain their lucrative role as middlemen in the Missouri river trade.
1822 President Monroe warns of armed reprisals if Russians attempt to establish a physical presence on lands claimed by the United States in the Pacific northwest.
1823 Stephen AustinStephen Austin establishes the first American settlement in Tejas on land originally granted to his father along the San Antonio River. By the terms of this grant, all 300 families in the new colony are to become Mexican citizens and Roman Catholics.
1823 Stephen Long leads an expedition up the Red River of the North and along the 49th parallel, marking a point north of Pembina, North Dakota, as the official border between Canada and the United States.
1823 Joseph Smith, living near Manchester, New York, begins his study of the golden-plated book revealed to him by the angel Moroni.
1823 President James Monroe proclaims the "Monroe Doctrine" against European intervention in the Americas.
1824 The Bureau of Indian Affairs is established within the War Department, with a primary duty to regulate and settle disputes arising from trade with Indian tribes.
1824 The U.S. army establishes outposts in present-day Oklahoma, at Fort Towson on the Red River and at Fort Gibson on the Arkansas River, in preparation for the removal of the Cherokee and Choctaw tribes from the Southeast to the newly designated Indian Territory.
1824 Russia agrees to set its southern border in the Pacific northwest at 54 degrees, 40 minutes, and to allow American vessels within the 100-mile limit it had set around its territories in the Pacific.
1824

Ashley and Henry's Rocky Mountain Trappers AdTHE MOUNTAIN MEN (1824-1840)
Frustrated in their attempt to establish a trading post on the upper Missouri River, William Ashley and Andrew Henry revolutionize the previously river-based fur trade by sending small bands of trappers -- called brigades -- into the mountains on horseback. One of their first brigades, led by Jedediah Smith, rediscovers the South Pass in western Wyoming, where refugees from Astoria had crossed the divide a decade before, and beyond it the fur-rich Green River valley. Before year's end, Ashley himself leads a larger expedition to join Smith in the region.

1824 Jim Bridger, a young scout for the Ashley expedition, ranges beyond the Green River valley and down into Utah, where he becomes perhaps the first white to see the Great Salt Lake. "Hell, we are on the shores of the Pacific," he is reported to have said after tasting the waters.
1825 Ashley completes his revolution of the fur trade when he divides his expedition into small groups, each to trap and explore independently through the spring and then meet at Henry's Fork on the Green River in late summer. This meeting becomes the first rendezvous, attracting not only the trappers in Ashley's company but free-trappers and Indians as well. For the next 15 years, the annual rendezvous replaces the trading post in the Rocky Mountain fur trade, as free-trappers -- soon to be known as mountain men -- displace the trading company agent as the engines of commerce on the frontier.
1825 The federal government adopts a policy of exchanging Indian lands in the east for public land in the west, where the tribes can live beyond state jurisdiction and organize their own forms of government.
1826 Jedediah Smith, in search of new trapping grounds, leads the first party of Americans overland to California. Setting out from the Great Salt Lake basin, Smith's expedition travels along the Colorado, over the southern Rockies and across the Mojave Desert to Mission San Gabriel, then north through the San Joaquin valley, where they attempt to cross back over the mountains along the American River. Leaving most of his party in California, Smith and two others eventually find a way through the Sierras and cross the parched Great Basin to reach the rendezvous of 1827.
1827 Dr. John McLoughlin, director of the Hudson's Bay Company, builds the first lumber mill in the Pacific northwest at Fort Vancouver, intending to sell lumber in California.
1828 The Senate ratifies a treaty setting the Sabine River as the border between Mexico and the United States.
1828 Rejoining his expedition in California, Jedediah Smith leads the way north into Oregon, where only Smith and three others escape an Indian massacre on the Umpqua River. The survivors flee to the Hudson's Bay Company outpost at Fort Vancouver.
1828 The Cherokees of Arkansas agree to give up their land and settle in the Indian Territory west of the Mississippi.
1829 Mexico refuses an American offer to buy Tejas for $5 million.

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