CONNECTING PEOPLE TO IDEAS AND TO EACH OTHER
CONNECTING PEOPLE TO IDEAS AND TO EACH OTHER

The Epic Effort to Map the West

A Brilliant Geographer and Famous Photographer Teamed Up to Tackle the Nearly Impossible Task of Surveying 19th-Century California

We’ll start in the 1840s, when Western North America was almost wholly empty of European-Americans. To prepare the land for settlement, the United States government sent teams of explorers into the trans-Mississippi West (some of which was Mexico) and tasked them with telling Americans what they might find there. Men such as John C. Fremont found new ways through the then-unknown landscape, identified mountain passes, sources of water and game, and pointed out places that would be attractive for settlement. That sounds simple enough, but as there were few reliable …

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