Santa Fe Trail

Founded by the Spanish in the same year as the English landed at Jamestown, thoughts of Santa Fe brought forward visions of gold and riches for Easterners who had no idea what southwestern America was really looked like. It took until 1739 for brothers Pierre and Paul Mallet arrived on La Plaza in Santa Fe and until 1821 for William Becknell to start from Franklin, MO with five other men, taking 2 ½ long, cold, worrisome months to reach New Mexico. Just south of Las Vegas, Captain Gallego in New Mexico to conquer Native Americans, saw six men heading his way. It was William Becknell and his five companions. Gallego immediately sent them to Santa Fe to meet with the Spanish Governor. Legend has it when William Becknell rode back into Franklin in 1822, a rawhide bag of silver coins was slashed open and spilled on the cobblestone street. The whole Midwest caught fire over the riches and over the next 24 years, countless frontier men headed to Santa Fe. Thousand more began to pour in seeking a better life in the desert Southwest.  Profits were good, but by 1824, New Mexico was saturated with goods, so traders continued to Sonora, Sinaloa, Chihuahua, Durango, San Juan de los Lagos, Guanajuato, Aguascalientes, Zacatecas, and Mexico City. The route they all took from Missouri is now the Santa Fe Trail National Scenic Byway.