In 1860 the settled areas extended from the eastern seaboard to the western territories, and north to south from southern Minnesota to eastern Texas. There were pockets of settlements in Utah, Kansas and New Mexico. The Californian and Oregon coasts were also settled. California had become a state in 1850, after gold was discovered in 1848, creating the Gold Rush when thousands of immigrants from abroad and other parts of the US migrated to the region. Utah Territory had existed since 1850 when it was first settled by Mormon pioneers. Kansas attracted settlers because, under the Preemption Act of 1841, later to become the Homestead Act, they could buy land from the Federal government at very low cost, if they had worked it for a minimum of five years. The completion of a transcontinental railroad in 1869 helped transport more people and goods to these unsettled and newly settled areas.
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