Squatter, in law, a person who settles on land, particularly public land, to which he or she has no legal title. In United States history, individuals often took possession of lands on the frontier without legal right to do so. Under the policy of preemption, squatters were given the chance to purchase the land they were using at a low price before it was put up for sale at auction. (The term squatter's rights refers to these preemption rights.)Squatters crowd large areas of Caracas, Venezuela.
The railroad expansion of the 1800s changed America forever. By 1900, the people North America had settled a continent that previous generations had thought would take a thousand years to occupy.
More than 150 years ago, the Donner Party resorted to cannibalism to survive a harsh winter in the California mountains. And we're still fascinated by their story.