Last updated: November 24, 2020
Following the Mexican-American War (1846-1848), the west was a wide-open territory now under the control of the United States. The prospect of new lands, along with the new idea of "manifest destiny," enticed many people to begin the trek westward. The Santa Fe Trail, and other roads to the west, flourished with business. American citizens were excited by the prospect of this new land, although the native people were not so thrilled with this new influx of visitors. A period known as the Indian Wars was just beginning. Two main forts bordered the new expanse: Fort Riley, Kansas Territory, near present day Junction City, and Fort Union, New Mexico Territory. William Bent, a well-known trader petitioned the Government for more military protection between the two forts. The United States agreed to build one fort. Thus, the history of Fort Larned began.