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All About 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 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 stage coaches 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 10 miles apart. Riders went as fast as 25 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 75 miles before passing the mail to the next rider. The mail was delivered within 10 days! The Pony Express riders faced many dangers. They had to cross rivers, mountains, and desserts. 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 ten days to reach California now only took one hour. What the riders could do in ten days, the telegraph could do in an hour. So, the Pony Express ended just 18 months after it had begun.

Task 1.  

Mark + if the statement is true, - if it is false.

1. Before 1850 the United States was only 3,000 miles wide from east to west.
2. Mail used to be delivered by ship by going around the tip of North America.
3. The Postal Service had to deliver mail quickly from west to east.
4. Riders traveled at 75 miles per hour.
5. The Pony Express delivered the mail within 10 days.
6. The Pony Express riders rode in all kinds of weather.
7. In 1861 the Pony Express built a telegraph line across the United States.
8. The Pony Express ended after one and a half years.
9. Riders had to cross rivers and mountains.
10. The riders attacked the Indians and bandits.

Task 2

Choose the correct letter А, В, С, or D.

11. Around 1850 the United States began to grow ...
A. rapidly.
B. slowly.
С. moderately.
D. expressly.

12. The Pony Express stations were 10 miles...
A. together.
B. wide.
С. narrow.
D. apart.

13. The Pony Express riders... many dangers.
A. rode
B. delivered
С. faced
D. settled

14. With the discovery of gold, thousands of... came to California.
A. settlers
B. Pilgrims
C. missionaries
D. Indians
15. Stagecoaches carried mail on ... used by the settlers.
A. horses
B. streets
С. desserts
D. trails
16. Ships went around the... of South America to get to California.
A. tip
B. coast
С. country
D. canal
17. The Pony Express riders had to travel... the night in all kinds of weather.
A. throughout
B. from
С. according to
D. follow
18.    Prior to the Pony Express the U.S. Postal Service had two poor... to carrying the mail from the East to California.
A. problems
B. questions.
С. examples
D. solutions
19. The Pony Express riders ...
A. died upon delivering the mail
B. often lost the mail.
С. were attacked by Indians.
D. traveled around the tip.

20. The Pony Express ended...    '
A. after 8 days.
B. after 18 months.
C. before the Postal Service.
D. before the telegraph was invented.

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