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Explain the development and decline of the cattle industry.

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Explain the development and decline of the cattle industry The cattle industry once became a very profitable industry at its peak, but ended up in disaster. There were many factors which started the cattle industry. It all started from the longhorn cattle being brought to the USA from Europe at the end of the 15th century. By the early 19th century, cattle ranching was firmly established in Mexico, as they grazed freely on the open range. Vaqueros were hired to look after the cattle. In 1836 Texas became an independent republic as they went against the Mexican rule. The Mexicans left their cattle in Texas, so Texan farmers claimed it as their own. The cattle ranches began only small, but during the 1850's Beef became more popular, prices rose and some Texan ranchers became quite wealthy. In 1861 came the civil war between the northern and southern states. Longhorn cattle survived though and continued to breed. Altogether there were around 5 million cattle down south, but they were useless, unless they could be moved to the demand, which was situated in the north. ...read more.


This created sufficient facilities for it to become the first cow town. The way McCoy got the herds to the railroad was by using the Chisholm Trail. This was a wide, flat trail, used as a supply path in the civil war, which was created by Jesse Chisholm. This way cattlemen could drive their herds without hostility form farmers. Later this trail expanded to Ellsworth and Dodge City which became cow towns. McCoy made great profit from this-selling in Texas and selling for 3-4 times more in Abilene. Another factor of the beef bonanza was the Goodnight-Loving trail. Charles Goodnight returned from the Civil war to find that his cattle stocks had risen. He had 5000 and needed to sell them for them to be useful. The demand came from the Government, who needed food supplies to feed the army during the war. Also Indians were in demand for food. He drove his cattle to Fort summer. The trail had no farmer hostility, but passed through Indian Territory. ...read more.


The industry was at its peak. The railway network was extended, refrigerated carriages meant meat could be slaughtered before-larger quantity domestically and later abroad. More public land as the Indians were removed and placed on reservations. After this is all collapsed. Farmers experimented with poorer quality breeds. This was because the English cow-Herefordshire wasn't suited to the climate, so many died. When prices were high, cattlemen overstocked their cattle, but when there was a drought and high summer temperatures in 1883, the grass was ruined and cattle died. After this in 1885, beef demand fell and there was no profit in keeping large herds. The severe winter of 1886-87 killed the industry. Many cattle and cowboys died in snow and ice. There was no point in restocking. After this huge decline wind pumps and cheap fencing were introduced. The pumps, which pumped out the water from underground allowed ranches to be set up anywhere on the plains-not next to a water source. This wasn't much use as there was a small demand and the cattle industry was no longer big and was no longer a way of huge money income. ...read more.

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