President Abraham Lincoln signs the Homestead Act. A homesteader
had only to be the head of a household and at least 21 years of age to claim a 60 acre parcel of land. Each homesteader had to live on the land, build a home, make improvements, and farm for five years. A filing
fee of $18 was the only money required.
The Hayden Expedition, under direction of the U.S. Geological Survey, sets out to survey the sources of the Missouri and Yellowstone Rivers.
William Henry Jackson's photographs of the Yellowstone region help
persuade the United States Congress to pass legislation establishing Yellowstone as the first national park.
The federal government allows gold prospectors into the Black Hills of South Dakota, a sacred region of the Sioux reservation.
The Battle of Little Big Horn
A comprehensive national rail system emerges; Chief Joseph of the Nez Perce surrenders
The Bureau of Indian Affairs’s first official boarding school is established as the Carlisle Indian School in Carlisle, Pennsylvania; the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe railroads arrive in Las Vegas, Nevada; the first boom period of settlement in the West begins, lasting into the early 1890s
Charles Dana Wilber publishes The Great Valleys and Prairies of Nebraska and the Northwest, introducing the theory of "rain follows the plow." Wilber argues that rainfall will increase as farmers plow the new western lands.
Juan Jose Herrera, with his brothers Pablo and Nicanor, establish the vigilante group Las Gorras Blancas, or "the white caps."
Gertrude Bonnin (Zitkala-Sa) is sent to White's Manual Labor Institute in Wabash, Indiana.
President Benjamin Harrison opens the "unoccupied" lands in the
present state of Oklahoma to white settlement and immigration.
The Pennsylvania Railroad becomes the nation's largest employer; Chief Justice James O'Brien of the Territory of New Mexico dismisses indictments against accused members of Las Gorras Blancas in Las Vegas, New Mexico.
The Court of Private Land Claims begin to oversee land disputes in New Mexico, Colorado, and Arizona.
The People’s [Populist] Party is established with Leonidas Polk as president of the National Farmers Alliance, as well as the party's presidential candidate.
One of the worst depressions ever to grip the economy of the United States begins, lasting to 1897; 100,000 people claim 6.5 million newly opened acres of land in present-day Oklahoma in a single day, lands that had previously been occupied by Native Americans.
Two-thirds of homesteaded farms have failed; many homesteaders return to eastern states.
Luna Kellie writes her memoirs on the reverse sides of old ornate red and gold Farmers Alliance certificates.
Gertrude Bonnin (Zitkala-Sa) starts the National Council of American