From 1833 to 1849 Bent’s Old Fort was a trading post on the frontier between the United States and Mexico. It was the only major settlement on the Sante Fe trail. Trappers, buffalo hunters, Indians, Spaniards, freighters, soldiers and settlers stopped at this site on the Arkansas River. At any time one could hear seven languages spoken and there was peace. Trade here influenced economies around the world. William Bent known to the Cheyenne as “Little White Man” had an excellent reputation among the plains Indians due to his respect for the culture and fairness in trading.
This is one of those third or fourth level National Park Service sites that we just love finding. We always learn something of history or nature that we were ignorant of previously. Here we learned of a bright side to human relations during the United States Westward Expansion.