The Dust Bowl
contributed greatly to the movement towards the west. The Dust Bowl
extends from the Canadian line to central west Texas, covering
Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, and large parts of Montana,
Wyoming, Colorado, and New Mexico. Around the 1870s, people began
settling in the Dust Bowl area. The work was very hard at the
beginning and people barely made it from one harvest to the next.
Most of the people survived until the grasshopper invasion of 1873,
in which clouds of grasshoppers "so thick that they obstructed the
view of the sun" descended on the land and left the ground bare.
The entire population had to vacate with the motto, "In God We
Trust-In Kansas We Bust." But by 1886 and 1887, the land was taken
up once again. In 1899 a severe drought struck the area and people
had to leave once more. Another grasshopper invasion in 1919
destroyed the area. The Dust Bowl area wasalso affected by the
Great Winds season, which lasts from February to April with winds
up to 30-40 miles per hour lasting from ten to one hundred hours.
The dust killed people who already had difficulty breathing and
created low visibility areas.
In the 1920s
and 1930s farmers settled the area and wheat production was well
underway. However, more and more farmers entered the area, driving
up production and driving down the prices. The price dropped to 65
cents a bushel and in 1931, it dropped to 25 cents a bushel, which
was below production cost. This forced many farmers into
bankruptcy. In addition to this, the winds attacked the soil,
blowing dust everywhere and spraying the seed.This situation forced
, many people to flee west.
blizzards, large dust storms, in the Dakotas region during 1930 and
in 1932 in Kansas, forced thousands to leave on doctors' orders.
The government estimated about 50,000 leaving the Dust Bowl each
month in 1936. Many people went on foot; most went to California,
Oregon, Arizona, Washington, and Idaho. Between June 15, 1935 and
December 31, 1937, 221,000 entered California for labor on motor
vehicles. Of the 221,000, 84 percent were from drought states. The
dust storms killed livestock, birds, and humans. Half a billion
dollars worth of crops were burned up in the drought of 1936 and
1600 people died of dust and heat. Between 1934 and 1938, thousands
sought relief and refuge from the dust, drought, and heat. The
dust, heat, and hard living of the Dust Bowl forced many families
to move west.