Plains States

The Great Plains of the United States ...the vast prairie...  was once called the "Great American Desert."  Most of the states found among the Plains States were part of the 1803 Lousiana Purchase.

Map courtesy Southern Missouri State University

Through the early part of the 19th century (1800-1899) easterners and immigrants mostly from Europe settled the plains states or trekked through them towards the west.  Generally, the settlers traveled by river as far as they could and then set about land crossings on covered wagon trains.  That generally meant they got as far as St. Louis or Kansas City before setting out on the trails in thier covered wagons.


Historic photo of settler river crossing,  Ks State Historical Society

The 1800's were years of expansion across the continent.  Among challenges for the pioneers were battles over the land with the native American Indians who inhabited the west, a Civil War and the abolition of slavery.  The landscape changed with the founding of frontier towns and states and creation of roads and railroads networking them together.  Many stars were added to the US flag and the United States expanded into a cohesive nation from the Eastern seaboard to the Pacific.