Lewis and Clark Facts

Lewis and Clark Picture

Facts about the Lewis and Clark

1. The historic expedition was ordered by the President Thomas Jefferson and the US government following the Louisiana Purchase on April 30, 1803.

2. The Louisiana Purchase cost 15 million dollars, about 4 cents per acre, and covered 828,000 square miles.

3. The vast amount of new lands required exploration. President Jefferson arranged for several expeditions that included the Red River Expedition that explored the Southwest, the Zebulon Pike Expedition that explored the Great Plains and the famous Lewis and Clark Expedition.

4. The expedition, under the command of the co-leaders, was to explore the sources of the Missouri River and travel west across the Rocky Mountains, down the River Columbia to the Pacific Ocean.

5. The famous Expedition was undertaken during the years 1804, 1805 and 1806. It began on May 21, 1804 and ended on September 23, 1806. It took 2 years, 4 months, and 10 days.

6. The expedition was run as a military mission. The men recruited for the mission were special volunteers who had the skills to undertake the long expedition of discovery. They were collectively known as the Corps of Discovery.

7. What were the full names of the captains? Meriwether Lewis and William Clark. Meriwether Lewis was born in Albemarle County, Virginia, on August 18, 1774. William Clark was born August 1, 1770 in Caroline county, Virginia.

8. Meriwether Lewis was a close personal friend of President Thomas Jefferson and was Jefferson's private secretary. He was tasked with making celestial observations and classifying the new animals and plants that were discovered on the journey. 173 new plants and 122 species and subspecies of animals were found on the voyage of discovery.

9. William Clark was the younger brother of Revolutionary War hero George Rogers Clark. He served in the Virginia militia in the 1770s, where he first met Meriwether Lewis. He was assigned to chart the maps of the areas that they visited. During the expedition he made about 140 different maps.

10. Meriwether Lewis was educated by private tutors and graduated from Liberty Hall (now Washington and Lee University). William Clark was tutored at home and had no formal education.

11. Members of the Corps of Discovery wore uniforms throughout the journey and were subject to daily drills and strict army discipline. The leaders convened a court martial for rule breakers and issued punishments according to the crimes. Two members of the expedition were sent home in disgrace.

12. Following the expedition Meriwether Lewis was appointed governor of the Louisiana Territory. He never married and died alone on October 11, 1809 (aged 35) at Hohenwald, Tennessee. He died of gunshot wounds and is death was attributed to an alleged suicide, or a murder.

13. William Clark married Julia Hancock and the couple had five children. His first wife died, and he then married Harriet Kennerly Radford. His second marriage produced another three children. He was appointed governor of the Missouri Territory and Superintendent of Indian Affairs. He died on September 1, 1838 (aged 68) in St. Louis, Missouri.

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