Old Spanish Trail (trade route)

The Old Spanish Trail (Spanish: Camino Viejo Español) is a historical trade route to the west of the present-day United States.

It connects Santa Fe in Northern New Mexico through Utah and Nevada to Los Angeles in California. The distance is about 2,000 kilometers long and leads among other things, mountains, deserts, and deep canyons. After the route was first explored in 1776 by ​​European settlers, took her use the latest from the mid-1850s greatly.

The importance of the route lies in the combination of Nuevo Mexico, the northernmost and most remote part of the Spanish Vizeköngreiches New Spain, with the coast in California. Thus, two regions that were characterized by different economic systems, connected to each other. Nuevo Mexico was to agriculture and on a modest scale mining also organized, during the fur trade was mainly in California over the Pacific Ocean in the foreground. Exchange information via the trade route from the inland and the coastal region of the goods they are not themselves or not produced at comparable conditions. Among them especially hides and tallow on the one hand and on the other hand, the exchange of bred in California mules against sheep, wool and woven blankets from Nuevo Mexico. The third actors were since the establishment of trade by the whites and until the second half of the 19th century, the Indian peoples of the region. In particular, the Ute and the Mohave, but also the Apache and Navajo attacked on a smaller scale the one hand repeatedly trade trains and settlers along the route to and stole horses, cattle and other goods. On the other hand, also Americans and Mexicans involved in Indian raids. In addition, the Indians were given by the trade access to markets of the Mexicans, including particularly of Indian slaves, who were mainly hunted by the Ute among the neighboring Southern Paiute and captured and sold in Santa Fe Mexican.

The route was designated in 2006 as a National Historic Trail, and is managed jointly by the National Park Service and the Bureau of Land Management.