About This Lesson
This lesson is based on the National Historic Landmark nomination files, "Raton Pass" and "Glorieta Battlefield" (with photographs); the National Register of Historic Places Multiple Property Documentation Form, "Historic Resources of the Santa Fe Trail, 1821-1880;" and William E. Brown's, The Santa Fe Trail: National Park Service 1963 Historic Sites Survey. It was written by Kathleen Hunter, an education consultant, and edited by Marilyn Harper and the Teaching with Historic Places staff. This lesson is one in a series that brings the important stories of historic places into classrooms across the country.
Where it fits into the curriculum
Topics:This lesson could be used in American history, social studies, and geography courses in units on westward expansion or the Civil War.
Time period: 1820s to 1865
Relevant United States History Standards for Grades 5-12
Relevant Curriculum Standards for Social Studies
Find your state's social studies and history standards for grades Pre-K-12
Objectives for students
1) To determine and analyze the geographic and political forces that influenced control of New Mexico and the southwestern United States.
2) To examine the ways in which different groups asserted political and economic claims to the region.
3) To determine what role their own community played in westward expansion.
Materials for students
The materials listed below either can be used directly on the computer or can be printed out, photocopied, and distributed to students. The maps and images appear twice: in a smaller, low-resolution version with associated questions and alone in a larger version.
1) three maps showing the Southwest, northern New Mexico, and Glorieta Pass;
2) three readings about the Santa Fe Trail, the Army of the West, and the Confederates;
3) three photographs showing the Santa Fe Trail, Raton Pass, and Apache Canyon;
4) one illustration of the Battle of Glorieta Pass;
Visiting the site
The United States Congress designated the Glorieta Pass Battlefield as a National Battlefield and assigned its administration to Pecos National Historical Park, in Pecos, New Mexico. The battlefield is located off I-25 about 25 miles southeast of Santa Fe. The park is open daily from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. from Labor Day to Memorial Day and until 6 p.m. from Memorial Day to Labor Day. Tours and access to the battlefield are ranger-guided and available by reservation only. For more information, contact Pecos National Historical Park, P.O. Box 418, Pecos, NM 87552, or visit the park's website.
Raton Pass is located in the Raton Mountains on the border between Colorado and New Mexico. Interstate 25 goes through the pass. The view is spectacular, but the climb is steep, and the road is often closed due to bad weather.
In 1987, the United States Congress designated the Santa Fe Trail as a National Historic Trail. The Trail is administered by the National Park Service in cooperation with other government and private partners. Because many feet, hooves, and wheels would destroy this fragile resource, recreational travel on the historical trail itself is discouraged. An auto tour route that closely follows the original trail route has been marked along major highways. For more information, contact the Long Distance Trail Group Office--Santa Fe, P. O. Box 728, Santa Fe, NM 87504-0728 or visit the