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1804 - 1806
William Clark, Meriwether Lewis, Sacagawea
The Corps of Discovery
The purpose of Lewis and Clark Expedition was to explore the Louisiana Purchase and the Pacific Northwest.
In 1803, the U.S. President Thomas Jefferson asked his personal secretary Meriwether Lewis to lead the expedition. Lewis was dispatched to Philadelphia for instruction in medicine, botany, astronomy and zoology. As his co-commander he selected William Clark.
In 1804, Lewis, Clark, and others left St. Louis, Missouri, westward by boat. In Knife River Village they met a Shoshone Native American woman called Sacagawea and her husband Charbonneau, they joined the expedition as interpreters. Sacagawea helped the expedition to obtain essential supplies and horses, she identified edible plants and herbs. Lewis and Clark, together with their people, reached the Pacific Ocean in November 1805.
The Corps of Discovery started making their way back east in March 1806. They returned in the fall of 1806 and shared their experiences with President Jefferson. Over the duration of the trip from St. Louis, Missouri, to the Pacific Ocean and back, the expedition company traveled nearly 8,000 miles.
Lewis and Clark Expedition contributed significant geographic and scientific knowledge of the West. The expedition was a major chapter in the history of American exploration.
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