Today in History: Great Emigration Departs for Oregon

| May 22, 2017

170522_news_219x365Do you recall when you were first introduced to the Oregon Trail as a unit of study? Maybe you were in fourth grade and tasked with creating a diorama or model wagon? Or had to assume the character of a pioneer, write a letter, or visit the historic site? The Oregon Trail has long been an integral part of the American social studies curriculum, with continuing activities and lessons. The Great Emigration serves to remind us of an important chapter in our nation’s history, and prompts us to reflect on wider implications of the current global migrant crisis. When people uproot to live elsewhere in hope of a better life, they face challenges, hardships, and often many personal sacrifices — especially in the current political climate.

On May 22, 1843, a thousand pioneers headed west to Oregon from Independence, Missouri, in a massive wagon train and in search of a better life: gold, rich farmland, avoidance of yellow fever and malaria that plagued the midwest. The dangerous two thousand mile journey along the route known as The Oregon Trail, previously laid down by fur trappers, involved adverse weather conditions, including dust; lack of food and supplies; illness; not to mention conflicting personalities. After five months of hardship, the settlers arrived in Willamette Valley, Oregon, now synonymous with “wine country”, due to the large number of vineyards.

The following articles are selected from Proquest Historical Newspapers, which informs and inspires classroom teaching and learning. slide design-Great Emigration Departs for Oregon

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