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SS Ch. 3 West. Exp.

Westward Expansion vocabulary: 5th Grade

TermDefinition
transcontinental railroad A railroad that crosses a continent. The first in the US was completed in 1869. Many Native American groups viewed this railroad, and others like it, as a threat.
telegraph Device that sends electronic messages through a wire. Many Native American tribes disliked having these wires and poles crossing their lands.
pioneer An early settler in an area; the first settler in an area.
Homestead Act A law signed by President Lincoln in 1862 which offered free land (for a minimal registration fee) on the Great Plains to people willing to live on and work on the land for five years.
homesteader A settler who claimed free land on the Great Plains.
sodbuster Nickname for Great Plains farmers who had to cut ("bust") through sod (thick grass with tangled roots) in order to farm.
exoduster African-American pioneers who moved to the Great Plains in the years after the Civil War.
technology The use of any tool that helps improve people's lives.
cattle drive Thw way cowboys moved large herds of cattle from Texas to railroads in the late 1800s. Cattle were worth much more in markets of the East.
gold rush The sudden movement ("rush") to an area where gold was discovered. These rushes brought many settlers to the West.
entrepreneur A person who starts a new business with hopes of making a profit. Many miners and cowboys found ways of making when mining and the need for cowboys decreased.
reservation Land set aside by the US government on which Native Americans were forced to settle.
Battle of Little Bighorn Lakota (Sioux) victory over the US Army in 1876. General Custer and his troops were killed at this battle.
Pony Express Mail delivery service using a relay of horses and riders to deliver mail across the Great Plains to the Western states. While very famous, this business lasted only 18 months.
buffalo A large mammal of the Great Plains region. The decline of this animal's population greatly hurt Native American tribes.
steel plows A technology that helped Great Plains farmers cut through thick sod (grass).
barbed wire Used for fences, this technology helped keep cattle off of farmers' fields.
windmills This older technology was used water crops by pumping water from under the Great Plains.
Battle of Wounded Knee This 1890 battle was the last major battle between Native American groups and the US government.
Central Pacific A railroad company that constructed the western portion of the transcontinental railroad. Many of its workers were Chinese immigrants.
Union Pacific This railroad company built from Missouri heading west. It often conflicted with the Plains Indians. Some of its workers were immigrants, especially from Ireland and Germany.
Created by: briansegool