What Are Some Facts About Lewis and Clark?


Quick Answer

Lewis and Clark were explorers that journeyed through the interior of the North American continent from Louisiana north and northwest to the Pacific ocean. The expedition lasted over three years and traversed more than 8,000 miles.

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Full Answer

Before Meriwether Lewis and William Clark teamed up into the famous Lewis and Clark duo, they met in the Virginia militia in 1795. The two men were charged by President Thomas Jefferson to explore the area west of the Mississippi River, land that the United States bought in the Louisiana Purchase from France in 1803.

The expedition or Corps of Discovery started in May 1804 and traveled west along the Missouri River through Missouri and Nebraska. They met some Native American tribes in the area, such as the Sioux, Shoshone and Mandans, the latter of which helped the expedition through their first winter. It was in the area now known as North Dakota that the Corps met and brought Sacagawea and Charbonneau onboard to help guide them through the Rockies.

The Corps continued northwest until they reached the Pacific Ocean at modern-day Portland, Oregon, in November 1805. They camped here over the next winter and returned in two groups, each led by Lewis or Clark until the two met at the Missouri and Yellowstone rivers the next August. The Corps returned to St. Louis in September 1806. Lewis later became governor of Louisiana Territory but died unexpectedly in 1809.

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