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What Was Traded At Fort Laramie?

What Was Traded At Fort Laramie?

If you want information on why Fort Laramie was significant in trade, let us fill you in through this article! 

Fort Laramie was a hub for trade between the fur trappers, traders, and Native American tribes. The most traded goods were fur, buffalo robes, guns, ammunition, knives, beads, and blankets. Alcohol and tobacco were also sold occasionally. 

For more insight into the events and significance of Fort Laramie, please continue reading. 

Fort Laramie

Fort Laramie, an essential military and trading post, stood in southeastern Wyoming along the border with Nebraska. It began as a fur trading post in 1834 and later served as a critical military post for the U.S. Army during the mid-19th century.

The fort became a gathering point for emigrants, traders, and Native American tribes, serving as a pivotal landmark along the Oregon, California, and Mormon Pioneer Trails. As a hub of activity, Fort Laramie played a key role in the events that led up to the Indian Wars of the 1870s and 1880s, including the Treaty of Fort Laramie in 1868. 

The treaty aimed to establish peace between the U.S. government and various Native American tribes.

Today, Fort Laramie is a National Historic Site and popular tourist destination, providing visitors with a glimpse into the rich history and culture of the American West. The legacy of the fort as a hub of commerce, diplomacy, and cultural exchange continues to attract people who are interested in its history of it from all over the world. 

For a virtual view of the fort, please watch this video: Fort Laramie National Historic Site, Wyoming (4K/UHD).

What Was Traded At Fort Laramie?

At Fort Laramie, the primary players in the exchange of goods were fur trappers, traders, and Native American tribes. Among the most frequently traded items were furs, buffalo robes, guns, ammunition, knives, beads, and blankets. 

The fur traders would barter with Native American tribes for animal pelts, which they could sell in the eastern United States or Europe for a profit. In exchange, the traders would offer highly valued goods such as firearms and ammunition, which helped the tribes with hunting and defense. 

Tobacco, alcohol, blankets, lead, and beads were exchanged for fur and buffalo robes. Buffalo robes were one of the most important commodities traded at Fort Laramie. 

The trading activity at Fort Laramie facilitated economic and cultural connections between various groups of people and played a significant role in the history of the American West. 

Significance Of Trade At Fort Laramie

At Fort Laramie, the bustling hub of commerce in the wilds of the American West, the intermingling of traders, trappers, and Native American tribesmen formed a dynamic tapestry of cultural exchange and economic interdependence.

The barter of valuable commodities fueled a trade network that extended across the frontier and thrived for several years. The fur traders, in particular, would acquire pelts from the tribes in exchange for firearms and other goods, which enhanced the tribes’ hunting and defensive capabilities.

This trade also played an essential role in the development of the American West. Fort Laramie helped the United States‘ westward expansion by creating opportunities for settlement and economic growth. 

The trading activity fostered relationships between diverse groups and facilitated the exchange of ideas, ultimately shaping the region’s history and identity. The legacy of the trade at Fort Laramie reverberates through the American West, as it laid the groundwork for an economic and cultural landscape that endures today. 

Important Events That Took Place At Fort Laramie

Fort Laramie played a significant role in the history of the American West, and several important events took place there. Here are a few notable examples:

Treaty Of Fort Laramie

Due to conflicts between the U.S. government and Native American tribes, a treaty to establish boundaries and peace was needed. In 1851, representatives of the United States government met with leaders from various Native American tribes at Fort Laramie to negotiate this treaty. 

The resulting Treaty of Fort Laramie established territorial boundaries and promised to compensate tribes for damage caused by settlers passing through their lands. It also promised protection for the tribes in exchange for development in the area and safe passage for settlers. 

The treaty ended up being unsuccessful because the U.S. government needed help to fall through with its promises. 

Oregon Trail

Fort Laramie served as a crucial stop along the Oregon Trail, which saw thousands of pioneers traveling from Missouri to the Pacific Northwest in the mid-19th century. The fort provided a place for travelers to rest, restock supplies, and make repairs. 

Pony Express

Fort Laramie was also a stop on the Pony Express, a mail delivery service between Missouri and California from 1860 to 1861.

Civil War

Fort Laramie was an important military outpost for the Union Army during the Civil War. It served as a supply depot and staging ground for troops heading westward. It supported union troops, and the soldiers at the fort were able to protect crucial trails like the Oregon Trail. 

Red Cloud’s War

In the mid-1860s, tensions between the U.S. government and the Lakota Sioux erupted into a conflict known as Red Cloud’s War. Fort Laramie was a key location in the conflict, as it served as the site of a peace council between the U.S. government and the Sioux in 1868. 

The resulting treaty helped end the war, established the Great Sioux Reservation, and led to multiple other treaties between the U.S. government and the Native American tribes. It promised to recognize and protect the rights of the native tribes.

Can You Visit Fort Laramie Today?

Fort Laramie is now a National Historic Site open to the public. The site is located in eastern Wyoming, about 90 miles north of Cheyenne. You can explore the historic fort buildings, see exhibits and interpretive displays, and learn about the history of the site and its significance in the development of the American West. 

Guided tours and ranger-led programs are also available. Several events throughout the year reenact some events to provide the visitors with deeper insight into the significant events at the fort. If history bores you, the site also offers multiple hiking trails for some outdoor activities; you can also have a family picnic here! 

Final Thoughts 

The site offers history from different decades and has a rich background, especially concerning the Native American tribes. Suppose you want to educate yourself on the history and importance of native American tribes. In that case, we recommend you visit the place and learn more from guides and knowledgeable people there.