This map shows the land that had been surveyed in the state of Missouri by November 29, 1838. Most notable is the newly surveyed land in red located in the Platte Purchase region of northwest Missouri. This region, comprising the present-day counties of Andrew, Atchison, Buchanan, Holt, Nodaway, and Platte, was not within Missouri’s state boundaries until 1837. Originally, Missouri’s western state line ran parallel from the mouth of the Kansas River northward, omitting a 2-million-acre section of land between the state’s western boundary and the east bank of the Missouri River. This portion of land was reserved for Indigenous people, including the Potawatomi, the Sac/Sauk and Fox, and the Ioway, who were relocated there from east of the Mississippi River.
The insatiable quest for land, especially that with easy access to the rivers, led white Missourians to illegally encroach on the Indian lands of Northwest Missouri. By the 1820s white settlers had established homes and farms as far west as Clay and Jackson counties. They ultimately put pressure on the U.S. government to negotiate for the purchase of this valuable land with its access to the Missouri River. The Potawatomi agreed to relocate in an 1833 treaty and in 1836 the Ioway and Sac/Sauk and Fox negotiated their removal. They were paid $7500, and were promised additional goods and services, to relinquish their lands and were awarded smaller plots of land in what is now Nebraska and Kansas. The removal of these last Indigenous peoples completed the ethnic cleansing of Missouri.
The U.S. Congress approved the treaties and the annexation, and the Missouri General Assembly incorporated the new land into the state in 1837, opening up the so-called Platte Purchase for white settlement. The area was quickly settled by migrants, most from Upper South states and many bringing enslaved people with them.
Subject: Platte Purchase
Contributing Institution: Kansas City Public Library
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County: Andrew; Atchison; Buchanan; Holt; Nodaway; Platte