In the years leading up to 1840 100 Americans inhabited New Mexico and 400 inhabited California.
The Americans living there were seen as Mexican because of the way they lived and because many of them married natives.
In the 1840s many Americans started to move to California after hearing of economic opportunities.
Settlers moved to Oregon because of abundant farms land which was said to be easily turned into profit.
The overland trail was the route which settlers would take to settle in the Western areas of California and Oregon. The settlers would set out on this trail in huge wagon trains in which the people depended on each other. On this trail there were many hardships. However, the Natives, which were thought to be the biggest threat to the settlers were extremely cooperative.
The Settlers purchased an excessive amount of guns as they thought they were going to have to take the area by force. However, the real troubles were with animals who were overworked and dehydrated as well as broken wagons because of overloading. Another problem that they had was with navigating
The Donner party was one extreme example of hardship on the Overland Trail. The leader of the group thought that he had a safe short cut through the mountains that would take two weeks off of the journey. He was extremely wrong and the group got stuck in the mountains with extremely depleted supplies. When the supplies were completely depleted they were forced to resort to cannibilism.
Over all the Overland trail was very successful. From 1840-1848, it allowed 11,500 Americans to migrate to Oregon and 2,700 to California.