The Santa Fe Trail was crucial to the Battle of Glorieta Pass. This commercial route from Independence, Missouri to Santa Fe, New Mexico, received official sanction for legal use in 1821, when Mexico won its independence from Spain. It immediately became the principle trade and travel route between the United States and the northern province of Mexico, Chihuahua.
In 1862, Confederate general Henry Sibley planned to follow the Santa Fe Trail north from Texas, capture Fort Union in New Mexico Territory, and then march up the trail to invade Colorado. The First Colorado Volunteers traveled down the Santa Fe Trail to Fort Union, and then followed it west to Glorieta Pass, a gap in the Sangre de Cristo mountains.
1. Study the territories and states as they existed in 1862. How does this map differ from a modern map of the United States?
2. Locate the Santa Fe Trail. Name the states or territories shown on this map through which the trail passed on the way to Santa Fe.
3. Why did the Confederacy want to win control of New Mexico Territory?
4. What Indian tribes may have had an interest in the outcome of the war between the Union and the Confederacy in this region?
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