Trails of the Western Expansion
The Santa Fe Trail was started by a trader named William Becknell in 1821. Becknell was nicknamed the "Father of the Santa Fe Trail." The Santa Fe Trail was surrounded by the Atchison, Topeka and the Santa Fe Railroads. It was traveled by 5000 wagons a year in the 1860's. Mexico declared independence in 1821, the same year William Becknell made the trail. The route was 1200 miles long and passed though New Mexico, Oklahoma, Colorado, Kansas, and Missouri. This trail was used until they built a railroad to Santa Fe in 1880. The U.S. military used it during the Mexican-American war to attack Mexican troops.
Resources: Family Encyclopedia of American History and www.santafe.org.