Mass Exploitation 

1800 – 1850

While wildlife and natural resources once seemed abundant, the effects of their exploitation became more apparent during this period, when the human population began skyrocketing just as species were beginning to thin out—or even go extinct.
Mass Exploitation

Buffalo skulls to be ground into fertilizer


LOUISIANA PURCHASE: The United States purchases Louisiana Territory from France, nearly doubling its land area.  Learn more.


LEWIS & CLARK ERA: Lewis and Clark explore the West. During this time, the buffalo population was estimated at 50,000,000 and passenger pigeons numbered up to two billion in a single flight.  Learn more.


WELLAND SHIP CANAL: The Welland Ship Canal, built between Lake Erie and Lake Ontario, allows sea lamprey to enter all Great Lakes.  Learn more about the Canal. Learn more about the Sea Lamprey.


1 BILLION PEOPLE: The world’s human population reaches one billion for the first time.  Learn more.


FINAL TRAPPER RENDEZVOUS:  The last trapper rendezvous occurs at Popo Agie Creek in Wind River Mountains, Wyoming.  Learn more.


GREAT AUK EXTINCT: Great auk is the first documented species in North America to become extinct by the hand of man.  Learn more.


TREATY OF GUADALUPE HIDALGO: officially ends the Mexican-American War (1846-1848). Mexico cedes Texas and the territory that will become Arizona, New Mexico, Utah, Colorado, and California. .  Learn more.


DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR: The U.S. Department of the Interior was established in 1849.  Learn more.


MORE DISAPPEARANCES: By 1850, Eastern elk, woodland bison, and beaver are nearly gone.  Learn more.