Lewis and Clark Expedition Facts

Lewis and Clark Expedition Facts
The Lewis and Clark Expedition was the first overland expedition across America from the east to the Pacific Ocean and back. President Thomas Jefferson asked Captain Meriwether Lewis, Jefferson's private secretary, to arrange the expedition. Lewis asked his friend Lieutenant William Clark of the US Army to hire and train men for the expedition while he gathered supplies. The expedition began on May 14th, 1804 at St. Louis, and ended in September 1806 when the expedition returned to St. Louis with journals, drawings, maps, and stories to share with Jefferson. Only one member of the expedition died, despite encountering wild animals and having some tense encounters with Native Americans along the way.
Interesting Lewis and Clark Expedition Facts:
The Lewis and Clark Expedition is also referred to as the Corps of Discovery by historians.
Captain Lewis was asked by the U.S. president Thomas Jefferson to explore the Louisiana Territory and America's Wild West, after it had been purchased. Lewis gathered supplies while Clark gathered and trained more than 40 men.
Thomas Jefferson gave Lewis a letter of credit before they left on the expedition that would allow him to get whatever he needed for the trip. The supplies they purchased included a massive arsenal of gunpowder due to uncertainty of encounters with Native American tribes.
They traveled up the Missouri River on a barge and a couple pirogues (small boats).
Along their trip the men in the expedition faced hunger, disease, fatigue, and injury. Only one man died on the expedition however. His name was Sergeant Charles Floyd. He developed appendicitis and died.
Along the way the men met a fur trapper and his Native American wife. Toussaint Charbonneau was a French-Canadian fur trapper and his wife Sacagawea was a Shoshone native, who had been kidnapped by another tribe and won by Toussaint Charbonneau in a game. They became interpreters for the expedition.
Along the expedition Lewis and Clark traded with Native American tribes, who helped them by showing them which plants were safe to eat.
When the expedition reached the Great Falls in Montana they were slowed down. It took a month to carry the boats around the falls to enable them to continue on their journey.
Lewis and Clark were almost arrested by the Spanish, who feared that the expedition was encroaching on their territory. The Spanish narrowly missed them and the expedition continued, reaching the Pacific Ocean in 1805, about 18 months after leaving St. Louis.
In March of 1806 the expedition left on the return journey, which took only about six months. The entire journey to the west coast and back was approximately 7000 miles.
Lewis and Clark 'discovered' animals that they had never heard of including the prairie dog and the grizzly bear.
Other animals that Lewis and Clark described on their return included bighorn sheep, magpies, and pronghorn antelope.
Many plants were 'discovered' by Lewis and Clark on the expedition as well.
After the successful expedition Lewis became governor of the Louisiana Territory and Clark became governor of the Missouri Territory. Clark also served as Superintendent of Indian Affairs for several years before his death.


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