It took only 18 months of service for the Pony Express to enter the Olympus of American myths. The most famous postal service in the world started on April 3, 1860. The Pony Express connected the city of St. Joseph in Missouri with San Francisco in California. The route was 3,200 kilometers long and the couriers covered it in 10 days: a true record for the time!
The route of the Pony Express
The alternative to the Pony Express service involved sending the letters by sea to Panama, where they passed from one coast to another by land (the Panama Canal was inaugurated only in 1914), to then reach San Francisco again by sea.
Click here to discover all our travels, tours and horseback riding holidays in the USA. The Pony Express were organized in a relay race: each courier rode for a maximum of 160 kilometers a day. The rider was supposed to weigh no more than 55 kilos and the horses were small and fast. From this characteristic derives the name that this postal service took. The bag that contained the letters was called mochila, a Spanish term. The Pony Express during their journey had to stop at the interchange stations that were twenty kilometers away from each other, which was the distance that a horse can travel at a gallop without getting tired. There were about 180 trading stations and they were often located inside military posts. Arriving at the exchange station, the courier exchanged his horse for a fresh animal and resumed the journey. In addition to the mochila with the letters, each courier was supplied with only a canteen, a Bible, a horn with which he announced his arrival and two pistols or a rifle and a pistol. Among the eighty men who worked as couriers there was also the very famous Buffalo Bill who entered service when he was just fifteen. The service was excellent, but far from cheap: sending a letter cost as much as the monthly salary of an unskilled worker! In 1861 the sudden decline began. At first the Pony Express lost the contract for the distribution of letters in favor of the Butterfield Overland Mail Trail, then the outbreak of the American Civil War and above all the arrival of telegraph cables in Salt Lake City, decreed its end. That of the Pony Express was a short story, but epic and full of adversity. Couriers were among the favorite targets of the Indian tribes. During the period of activity, fifteen employees lost their lives following the attacks of the Native Americans and as many as one hundred and fifty horses out of the four hundred employed in the project were lost. Here we told you the extraordinary story of the Pony Express! Source: ilpost.it
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