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22 Lewis and Clark cross North America shortly after the Louisiana Purchase

LEWIS, [Meriwether] & CLARK, [William]

Travels to the source of the Missouri River
and across the American Continent to the Pacific Ocean

London, 1814.


 Although the vast Louisiana region of the Mississippi River Basin in the Americas was originally colonized by France, Napoleon decided to cede it to the United States in 1803 due to France’s financial difficulties following a succession of wars. Soon after taking office, Thomas Jefferson, the third U.S. president, came up with a plan to establish a waterborne transportation route to the Pacific coast. Having obtained the approval of Congress, he appointed the dependable Captain Meriwether Lewis (1744-1809) to organize an expedition, and Lewis appointed another military man, William Clark (1770-1838), as his second-in-command. Between 1804 and 1806, the two men organized an expedition team and surveyed the region from the Missouri River to the Colorado and Oregon River Basins beyond the Rocky Mountains. They then made their journey back down the Columbia River to eventually reach the Pacific Coast.
 This work describes episodes that occurred during the expedition,including encounters with the previously unknown Shoshone and other Native American tribes, and provides information of great geographical,biological, and botanical interest. In addition to making geographic discoveries and other contributions to science, this expedition stimulated American interest in and settlement of the West.

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