Facts about the Lewis and Clark expedition

by PaulGoodman67

The Lewis and Clark expedition is an important event from early US history, which enabled the US to expand. Here are some interesting facts about it.

President Thomas Jefferson bought 828,000 square miles (2,144,510 square km) from France in 1803. The purchase is known as the “Louisiana purchase”.

The lands were to the west of the Mississippi and mainly unexplored.

The expedition was commissioned by Jefferson to find out more about the newly acquired land. He asked congress for $2500 to fund the expedition, although the eventual cost would turn out to be fifteen times this amount.

The Lewis and Clark Expedition routeThe Lewis and Clark Expedition officially began on May 21st 1804 and ended in September 23rd 1806. Its official name was the Corps of Discovery Expedition.

Meriwether Lewis and William Clark were both army men who had fought in the Ohio Valley Indian Wars. They were also both born in Virginia.

The objectives of the expedition were to investigate the Native American tribes who lived in the area, as well as the geography, animal and plant life of the region. There was also an economic purpose with President Jefferson wanting to know if there was a direct waterway to the West Coast that would be useful for future trade with Asia, as well as discovering the general scope for economic exploitation of the area.

Thirty three other people accompanied Lewis and Clark. The party included one woman, one baby and one dog.

Only one death occurred during the expedition. It happened on August 20, 1804 when Sergeant Charles Floyd died of what was thought to be a ruptured appendix.

The first Sioux tribe that the expedition encountered were the Yankton Sioux on the edge of the Great Plains. The meeting was peaceful.

Two Native Americans were killed by members of the Lewis and Clark party. They were members of the Blackfeet tribe. The incident occurred on July 26th 1806.

On August the 12th 1806, a member of the expedition party known as Cruzatte shot Lewis in the buttocks, after accidentally mistaking him for an elk.

The expedition took 863 days in total and travelled 7,689 miles.

The achievements of Lewis and Clark were mixed. Although they failed in one of their key objectives, to discover a direct waterway to the Pacific Coast, they did find out a great deal about the area through which they travelled, including large amounts of information on the minerals and geology of the area, as well as documenting more than 100 animal species and 170 plants. They also established contact with many Native American tribes.

Updated: 02/12/2013, PaulGoodman67
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Guest on 02/26/2015

Superb piece.

RebeccaE on 12/20/2012

a great write up on the Lewis and Clark Expedition, thanks for the information.

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