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The area west of the Appalachian Mountains is a region known as trans-Appalachia.

First US inhabitants of the trans-Appalachia region

In the early 19th century Americans who wanted to find a better life in the wilderness traveled several main roads over the Appalachians. Those from New England followed the Mohawk Trail into western New York. The travelers from Philadelphia took Forbes' Road to Pittsburgh, where they could travel west on the Ohio River. From Baltimore, they went to Pittsburgh on Braddock's Road. Middle Atlantic settlers used Cumberland Road (the National Road). Southerners used either the Great Valley Road or the Richmond Road through the mountains to the Cumberland Gap. From there they could take the Wilderness Road northward into present day Kentucky and the Ohio Valley.

Daniel Boone was hired by the Transylvania Company to cut the Wilderness Road.

Increasing trans-Appalachian populations

Between 1790 and 1810, around 98,000 slaves, along with their owners, moved west into the region south of the Ohio River (the Northwest Ordinance of 1787 had forbidden slavery in states north of the Ohio).

  • By 1795, in Kentucky, 75,000
  • By 1830, hundreds of thousands of settlers were in the region, which at that time consisted of Michigan Territory, and the new states of
    • Ohio, with 1,000,000 inhabitants,
    • Indiana, with almost 350,000 inhabitants, and
    • Illinois, with more than 150,000 inhabitants.

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