The Santa Fe Trail was an historic trail from Independence, Missouri to Santa Fe, New Mexico used in the 1800's for trade and military purposes. It was about 780 miles in length. It was first used in 1821, and last used in 1880, after the railroads came to New Mexico. The vast majority of the Santa Fe Trail ran through Kansas, much of it along the Arkansas River. A small portion of the trail went through the Oklahoma Panhandle (No Man's Land), before terminating in northern New Mexico. After the United States acquired the southwest following the Mexican War, the trail helped open the region to residential and commericaldevelopment. Today, the route is commemorated as the Santa Fe National Historic Trail.