Lewis and Clark Expedition
Meriwether Lewis was tasked with exploring lands west of the Mississippi River, and his expedition was a huge success, providing new geographic, ecological, and social information about previously uncharted areas of North America.
Who Were Lewis and Clark?
President George Washington commissioned Meriwether Lewis as a lieutenant of infantry, and William Clark joined the Virginia state militia and then the United States Army at the age of 19. They embarked on an epic journey that would shape America’s history seven years later.
Presidents Thomas Jefferson and James Monroe negotiated a deal with France to buy the Louisiana Territory for $15 million in 1803. Surveyor John Lewis led an expedition to survey the lands of the so-called Louisiana Purchase.
Preparations for the Lewis and Clark Expedition
Lewis studied medicine, botany, astronomy, and zoology, and enlisted the help of his friend Clark to lead the expedition, which included surveying instruments such as compasses, quadrants, telescopes, sextants, and a chronometer, as well as camping supplies.
The Expedition Begins
Lewis and Clark chose unmarried, healthy men who were good hunters and knew survival skills for their “Corps of Volunteers for Northwest Discovery,” and they ruled the Corps with an iron fist, handing out harsh punishments such as bareback lashing.
Lewis and Clark: Native American Encounters
Around 50 Native American tribes were encountered by Lewis and Clark, who bartered goods and presented the tribe’s leader with a Jefferson Indian Peace Medal. Some Indians had previously met “white men” and were friendly and open to trade, while others were suspicious of Lewis and Clark and their intentions.
While Clark prepared new maps, the Corps spent the next five months hunting, forging, and making canoes, ropes, leather clothing, and moccasins. The men were in good health overall, according to Clark’s journal, with the exception of those suffering from venereal disease.
Sacagawea was kidnapped by Hidatsa Indians at the age of 12 and sold to Charbonneau, where she became an invaluable asset for Lewis and Clark. Sacagawea gave birth to a son named Jean Baptiste on February 11, 1805.
Lewis and Clark Cross the Continental Divide
Many of the party suffered from frostbite, hunger, dehydration, bad weather, and freezing temperatures. On April 7, 1805, Lewis and Clark sent some of their crew and their keelboat back to St. Louis, while the rest of the Corps headed for the Pacific.
Everyone struggled to keep themselves and their supplies dry and fought an ongoing battle with fleas and other insects near present-day Astoria, Oregon.
How long did the Lewis and Clark journey last in miles?
The Corps of Discovery, as the expedition company was known, traveled nearly 8,000 miles (13,000 kilometers) from St. Louis, Missouri, to the Pacific Ocean and back during the trip, which lasted from May 14, 1804, to September 23, 1806, from St. Louis, Missouri, to the Pacific Ocean and back.
When did Lewis and Clark finish their journey?
The corps established Fort Clatsop, near present-day Astoria, Oregon, as its winter quarters after reaching the Pacific Ocean in November 1805, and then returned home to St. Louis on March 23, 1806.
How far did Lewis and Clark travel each day?
They traveled anywhere from 5 to 20 miles per day – a distance of 14 miles per day was considered adequate – with Clark frequently staying in a boat and Lewis walking along the shore.
What did Lewis and Clark find on their journey?
However, Lewis and Clark discovered 122 animal species on their 8,000-mile journey from Missouri to the Pacific Ocean and back in 1804-1806, including iconic American animals like the grizzly bear, coyote, prairie dog, and bighorn sheep.
What was Lewis and Clark’s salary?
Meriwether Lewis was paid a total of $2,776.22 (including his allowance) for 47 months of service, plus 1,600 acres of land*, while Captain Clark was paid a total of $2,113.74 (including subsistence allowance) for 47 months of service, plus the 1,600 acres of land.
What did Clark name his first born child?
Clark and his wife, Julia Hancock, had five children, the eldest of whom he named Meriwether Lewis.) Clark was a devoted family man and a valued friend.
Who helped Lewis and Clark survive on their journey?
Despite Lewis’ tragic death, his expedition with Clark is one of America’s most famous, as the duo and their crew strengthened America’s claim to the West with the help of Sacagawea and other Native Americans, and inspired countless other explorers and western pioneers.
What happened to Lewis and Clark’s dog?
Seaman, Capt. Lewis’s dog, pursued them, caught one in the river, drowned and killed it, and swam to shore with it,” Clark wrote. Seaman continued to hunt in this manner until he was severely injured by a beaver in mid-May 1805.
How did Lewis and Clark decide to spend the winter?
The expedition overwhelmingly decided to follow the advice of the local Indians and investigate the possibility of spending the winter on the southern bank of the river. Lewis, however, decided to scout the area first, leaving Clark and the rest of the group behind.
Did Lewis and Clark walk the whole expedition?
The expedition traveled over 8000 miles in total over the course of two years, four months, and ten days, estimating that they had traveled 4,162 miles from the mouth of the Missouri to the Pacific. Thomas Jefferson paid $15 million for the Louisiana Territory, which encompassed 820,000 square miles.
How many slaves were on the Lewis and Clark expedition?
It’s impossible to say whether the enslaved, 30-year-old black man wanted to join Lewis and Clark’s Pacific Ocean expedition u2014 almost certainly, no one asked him u2014 but compelled to join by the man who owned him, William Clark, York proved crucial to the explorers’ success.
What bad things did Lewis and Clark do?
Lewis was shot in the buttocks by an enlisted man who mistook him for an elk on the way back, forcing him to spend a few miserable weeks lying on his stomach in a canoe while the expedition floated down the Missouri River.
Why did Sacagawea help Lewis Clark?
Sacagawea was chosen to accompany Lewis and Clark on their mission, despite the fact that she was pregnant with her first child, because Lewis and Clark believed her knowledge of the Shoshone language would aid them later in their journey.