The Indian Country, 1800: A Brilliant Plan for Living
Creators Gifts Men and Women A Vast Network


A Vast Network

By 1800, complex networks of trade, alliance, and competition linked every corner of the Indian country.

Horses first brought to America by the Spanish were bred and traded from the Columbia Plateau to the Missouri River. Steel tools and glass beads from Europe came up the Missouri and Columbia rivers, and south from Lake Winnipeg, passing from communities there to trading partners in more remote areas.

Other groups jostled one another for space: Sioux bands moved west, Arikaras moved north, Shoshones moved south, and farming and trading villages along the Missouri and Columbia rivers struggled to maintain their independence and preserve their standing in the marketplace.

All sought allies to help them hold off rivals. No single power dominated the region; it was governed instead by overlapping networks of trade, travel and diplomacy.

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Emily Kelley
Newberry Library, 2005

This map illustrates horse trade routes, Hudson's Bay Company posts and trade routes, tribal movements and major tribal alliances west of the Mississippi.