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What is the life story of Sacagawea?

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Quick Answer

Sacagawea was a Shoshone born sometime around 1788 and died in 1812. She is most famous for her role as a guide and interpreter for Meriwether Lewis and William Clark during their famous expedition up the Missouri River and to the Pacific Ocean at the beginning of the 19th century.

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Full Answer

Sacagawea was born into the Lemhi band of the Shoshone tribe in what would later become the State of Idaho. In 1800, The Hidatsa tribe, a fierce rival of the Shoshones, captured Sacagawea and brought her to their land in the current state of North Dakota. The French-Canadian fur trader, Toussaint Charbonneau, purchased Sacagawea from the Hidatsa in 1803 or 1804, and later married her. Sacagawea soon became pregnant.

Soon after, the Lewis and Clark party arrived at the Hidatsa settlement and met the young, pregnant Shoshone. Realizing that they would need an interpreter further down the road, Lewis and Clark asked for Sacagawea to come with them on the journey. Along the way, Shoshone became a hero by saving important instruments and documents of the journey during a near capsize moment on the Missouri River. She also helped the party obtain needed supplies from the Shoshone tribe.

Sacagawea died in 1812 in present-day North Dakota. William Clark became the godfather of her son, Baptiste.

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