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Episode 747             Episode 749
Episode 748

Donner Party
Thu, 2019-May-23 00:51 UTC
Length - 2:36

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Welcome to featured Wiki of the Day where we read the summary of the featured Wikipedia article every day.

The featured article for Thursday, 23 May 2019 is Donner Party.

The Donner Party (sometimes called the Donner-Reed Party) was a group of American pioneers who set out for California in a wagon train from the Midwest. Delayed by a series of mishaps, they spent the winter of 1846–47 snowbound in the Sierra Nevada. Some of the emigrants resorted to cannibalism to survive, eating the bodies of those who had succumbed to starvation and sickness.

The journey west usually took between four and six months, but the Donner Party was slowed by following a new route called Hastings Cutoff, which crossed Utah's Wasatch Mountains and Great Salt Lake Desert. The rugged terrain, and the difficulties they later encountered while traveling along the Humboldt River in present-day Nevada, resulted in the loss of many cattle and wagons, and splits within the group.

By the beginning of November 1846 the emigrants had reached the Sierra Nevada, where they became trapped by an early, heavy snowfall near Truckee (now Donner) Lake, high in the mountains. Their food supplies ran low, and in mid-December some of the group set out on foot to obtain help. Rescuers from California attempted to reach the emigrants, but the first relief party did not arrive until the middle of February 1847, almost four months after the wagon train became trapped. Of the 87 members of the party, 48 survived to reach California.

Historians have described the episode as one of the most spectacular tragedies in Californian history and in the record of western migration.

This recording reflects the Wikipedia text as of 00:51 UTC on Thursday, 23 May 2019.

For the full current version of the article, see Donner Party on Wikipedia.

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