• On April 3, 1860, the first leg of the Pony Express took off from St. Joseph, Missouri. The Pony Express covered a distance of about 3,100 kilometers (1,900 miles), extending from St. Joseph to Sacramento, California. Before the Pony Express, mail to and from California had to be carried by ships, wagon trains, and stagecoaches.
    The Pony Express operated at all hours throughout the year, with each rider relaying the mail to the next rider every 121-160 kilometers (75-100 miles). On average, delivery took about 10 days in the summer, and 14 days in winter, with the shortest journey being the transportation of Abraham Lincoln's first inaugural address, which took only seven days and 17 hours. The Pony Express operated until October 1861, when the completion of the Pacific Telegraphic Line made communication even quicker and more efficient.
    The creation of the Pony Express was an important event in geographic history. Not only did it increase communication throughout the United States, it also established travel routes. In fact, the route taken by the Pony Express riders was the basis for the transcontinental railroad. The geography of this railroad system laid the foundation for many settlements that today define the Western and Midwestern United States.
  • Term Part of Speech Definition Encyclopedic Entry
    Abraham Lincoln Noun

    (1809-1865) 16th American president.

    establish Verb

    to form or officially organize.

    inaugural Adjective


    Midwest Noun

    area of the United States consisting of the following states: Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, and Wisconsin.

    Pony Express Noun

    (1860-1861) mail route between Missouri and California.

    route Noun

    path or way.

    telegraph Noun

    system of communication involving devices connected through electrical wires.

    transcontinental Adjective

    extending across an entire continent.

    transportation Noun

    movement of people or goods from one place to another.

    travel Noun

    movement from one place to another.

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