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Lewis and Clark
Lewis was a United States explorer and administrator. Lewis and William Clark led an expedition to explore uncharted lands in America from 1804 to 1806. They traveled several thousand miles from St. Louis to Pacific Ocean and back. Lewis was born near Charlottesville, Virginia. In 1794 he joined a local militia to put down the Whiskey Rebellion, after that he joined the regular army. He became President Thomas Jefferson’s private secretary from 1801 to 1803. After the expedition, Jefferson appointed Lewis the governor of Louisiana Territory in 1807. Lewis died in 1809 from an unknown
cause traveling to Washington on public business.
Clark was a United States explorer. He was born in Caroline County, Virginia. His brother was George Rogers Clark. When William was 14, his family moved to the present site of Louisville, Kentucky. Clark saw military service in Indian Wars, and became a skilled frontiersman. In 1803 he was chosen by his friend, Captain Meriwether Lewis, As co-leader of the expedition to explored the uncharted Northwest. During the expedition, Clark was a mapmaker, artist, and astronomer for the expedition, and kept a valuable diary.
Clark went on to serve as governor of Missouri Territory from 1813 to1820, and as federal superintendent of Indian affairs. He laid out the site of Paducah, Kentucky, in 1828. William Clark died in 1838.
The expedition started May 14 1804, sent by President Thomas Jefferson to examine the resources of the far Northwest. The 8,000 mile journey was led by Louise and Clark. The expedition gave valuable information about the geography, climate, natural products, and plant and animal life in the area, and about customs, dress, and economy of the Indians. They discovered many new species of animals and plants of the area, some of them were grizzly bear and Clark’s nutcracker. The expedition helped establish the legal claim the U.S. later made for the territory, and it opened a route for settlers and fur traders. Lewis and Clark did fail to find a water route from Mississippi to Pacific Ocean, Because there isn’t one.
Progress of the Expedition
The expedition started up the Missouri River occasionally passing groups of fur traders or parties of Indians, They were mostly friendly to the white men, but a Sioux tribe did threaten to halt the expedition, but the captains acted sternly with them and the party continued upriver. One soldier became sick and died, the only death of the entire trip.
First Winter Camp
By late October they had arrived at the Mandan Indian villages, about 40 miles north of present day Bismarck. Here they built Fort Mandan and camped for the winter. The boatmen built a dugout canoe and returned to St. Louis. During the winter they obtained a lot of information about the Missouri and its tributaries from the Indians. They hired a French guide, Charbonneau, whose wife Sacajawea("bird Woman") was a Snake Indian from a tribe far to the west. Her baby, born during the winter, was carried on her back throughout the long trip.
In the spring the temporary detachment of soldiers was sent back in the keel boat, carrying a report of the journey to date for President Jefferson. They also brought five boxes containing Indian articles, plants, furs, etc.
On April 8, 1805, the expedition set off again in two pirogues and six newly made dugout canoes. The Missouri became more difficult to navigate. A month-long portage was required to bypass the Great Falls. Finally the expedition reached the point where the Missouri divides into three forks. They followed the northern branch which they named Jefferson, to its headwaters in the mountains. Here Lewis and three others explored for a pass.
On their return they met a band of snake Indians. Coincidentally the chief turned out to be the brother of Sacajawea, who as a child had been captured from her tribe! With an Indian guide, the party made its way through the mountains by a pass near Lolo, Montana.
The trail was difficult, the weather bitterly cold, the food supply short. But coming out of the mountains they again found navigable water and hunting grounds. They made canoes and left the horses with friendly Indians, and the explores were on water again, descending the Clearwater, Snake, and Columbia rivers, they came
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Geography of the United States, United States, Lewis and Clark Expedition, Louisiana Purchase, Missouri River, Shoshone people, Fort Clatsop, Sacagawea, Meriwether Lewis, William Clark, Fort Mandan, John Colter
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