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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.
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.
The Pacific Railroad Act of 1862 authorized a transcontinental rail line.
Solving Projectile Problems - The American West Essay
The Union Pacific Railroad built this line westward from Omaha, Nebraska, and the Central Pacific Railroad built it eastward from Sacramento, California. On May 10, to mark the achievement, officials of the two railroads drove silver and gold spikes to join the rails.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.Yet in the 1840's, immigrants to the West saw most of the region as an obstacle, not a destination.They feared the area's vast deserts, rugged mountain ranges, and many Indian tribes.In April 1860, a mail service called the pony express began carrying mail between St. The service's horseback riders usually made their long journey in about 10 days (see ).The telegraph soon ended the need for the pony express.For example, some ambitious Oregonians drove cattle south to the California gold mines. As more Americans pushed westward, new technologies assisted them.Before the 1850's, most people traveled westward by boat or wagon.Historians sometimes define the American West as lands west of the 98th meridian, or 98 west longitude.This line of longitude runs though the middle of Texas and Kansas up through the eastern third of Nebraska and the Dakotas.