The victory of the thirteen American colonies over their mother country in 1781 and the declaration of their independence were followed by a long period of organization for the new nation. In 1789 the constitution of the United States was ratified and George Washington was elected first President.
The first half of the 19th century was marked by considerable territorial expansion: Louisiana was bought from Napoleon for $ 14,500,000 and Florida from Spain for $ 5,000,000. Texas and California were annexed from Mexico.
The Far West was explores and reports of rich gold mines in California started the famous “Gold Rush” which is one of the most colourful pages in the history of the Far West. People began moving westwards. Pioneers packed their families and furniture into big covered wagons, crossed the Appalachians and set out to the West. This Expansion was marked by a long and bitter conflict against the Redskin Indians, who attempted bravely to defend their hunting grounds from the invaders. Many were the great Indian chiefs who led their people against the white men: Black Hawk was the hero of the resistance to the Palefaces east of the Mississippi; Sitting Bull was the great Sioux leader who defeated Colonel Custer; and Cochise at the head of his warlike tribe, the Apaches, spread terror among the Whites in Arizona.
But the Indians’ struggle was a vain one. They were practically exterminated by the white men and only a few survived the massacre. Their descendants can still be found in the reservations of Arizona, Utah, Nevada and Oregon, where they are nothing but a tourist attraction. They welcome foreign visitors and entertain them with their colourful dances, their rainbow-hued costumes, the beat of their drums and their ancient chants. Some are willing to pose for photographs.
This is all that is left of the culture, the customs, the beliefs of a proud and ancient people.
Source: R. Colle – I. Vay, L’esame di inglese, Lattes, an old Italian book 1974.