US Migration Rivers and Lakes

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United States  >  Migration  >  Rivers and Lakes

In the East, some American settlers moved to their new home on rafts, riverboats, or by boat on the Great Lakes. The rapid spread of shallow-draft steamboats after 1811 on most of the rivers on the map below had a significant impact on American transportion until railroads or automobiles became a safer, faster alternative in the local area.[1]

Eastern U.S. Rivers

Significant Lakes

  • Lake Champlain
  • Lake Ontario
  • Lake Erie
  • Lake Huron
  • Lake Michigan
  • Lake Superior

Western U.S. Rivers

Farther west (of the Mississippi River) migrants had to follow trails near rivers in order to water their livestock. For example, the Oregon trail followed the Missouri, North Platte, Sweetwater, Snake and Columbia rivers.

External Links


  1. Wikipedia contributors, "Steamboat" in Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia at (accessed August 4, 2010).