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 The Pony Express

30. The Pony Express

    Around 1850 the United States began to grow rapidly. New land was added to the country. The discovery of gold in California brought thousands of settlers to the west coast. The United States had been about 1,000 miles from east to west. Suddenly it was about 3,000 miles wide.

    The U.S. postal service had a  big problem: How could the mail travel between the East and California?

    The postal service had two solutions. Neither solution was very good. Either stagecoaches carried mail on the trails the settlers used, or the mail was taken by ship around the tip of South America. Either way, the trip took about a month. When the mail finally arrived, it was very old.

    Then, in 1860, the Pony Express began. The Pony Express went from the state of Missouri to Sacramento, California. It had 400 horses, 80 riders, and 180 stations. The stations were about ten miles apart. Riders went as fast as twenty-five miles per hour from one station to the next. At each station a new horse would be ready. Within a minute the rider was off again. Each rider went seventy-five miles before passing the mail to the next rider. The mail was delivered within ten days!

    The Pony Express riders faced many dangers. They had to cross rivers, mountains, and deserts. They had to travel throughout the night and in all kinds of weather. The riders could be attacked at any time by bandits or Indians. Yet only one rider died, and he died after he had delivered his letters. The mail was lost only once.

    Around the same time that the Pony Express started, the telegraph was invented. In 1861 a telegraph line was built across the country. News that took eight days to reach California now took only one hour. What the riders could do in eight days, the telegraph could do in an hour. So, the Pony Express ended just eighteen months after it had begun.


QUESTIONS

1. Why did many people come to west coast of the USA?
a. Because it was easy to find a job there.
b. Because the richest people live there.
c. Because a lot of gold was there.

2. Why were the existing options bad for the mail?
a. Because they were expensive.
b. Because they were very slowly.
c. Because they were difficult.

3. How long was the mail delivered with thePony Express?
a. About a month
b. Ten days
c. A few hours

4. How long was the way for each rider of the Pony Express?
a. About 75 miles
b. About 10 miles
c. About 80 miles

5. Why did the Pony Express end?
a. Because it was very dangerous.
b. Because people didn’t need to send letters.
c. Because more useful thing for sending news was invented.

6. How long did the Pony Express last?
a. One year and a half
b. Ten months
c. A few years

7. What is the synonym for the word ‘stagecoach’ (paragraph 3)?
a. Car
b. Bicycle
c. Diligence
d. Horse

Send your answers to the teacher.


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