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Colorado Experience: Bent's Fort

During the height of the Fur Trade, Bent's Fort established itself as one of the most important trading posts in the West - an area which remained largely unexplored by the then -young-and-growing United States. Located along the Arkansas River, Bent's Fort lay only a few yards from what was then Mexico. As the only major permanent settlement along the Santa Fe Trail, it served as a hub of commercial and cultural exchange for Cheyenne and Arapahoe Plains Indians and American trappers, and a stopping point for the US Army, explorers and settlers. Bent's Fort's prominence was short-lived, however; a cholera epidemic devastated the Indian population and caused founder William Bent to abandon the fort in 1849. Salvaging what they could and burning the remainder, Bent's New Fort was built in 1852 in Big Timbers. This episode of Colorado Experience takes you to the original site of Bent's Old Fort, now a National Historic Landmark, where state historians recreate what it was like to visit this "castle on the plains."

For more information on Colorado Experience visit www.rmpbs.org/coloradoexperience.

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