Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Lewis and Clark

National Geographic Film: Lewis and Clark

Lewis and Clark Expedition Route

From Wikipedia: The Lewis and Clark Expedition from May 1804 to September 1806, also known as the Corps of Discovery Expedition, was the first American expedition to cross what is now the western portion of the United States. It began near St. Louis, made its way westward, and passed through the continental divide to reach the Pacific coast. It comprised a selected group of U.S. Army volunteers under the command of Captain Meriwether Lewis and his close friend, Second Lieutenant William Clark.

President Thomas Jefferson commissioned the expedition shortly after the Louisiana Purchase in 1803 to explore and to map the newly acquired territory, to find a practical route across the western half of the continent, and to establish an American presence in this territory before Britain and other European powers tried to claim it.

The campaign's secondary objectives were scientific and economic: to study the area's plants, animal life, and geography, and to establish trade with local Native American tribes. With maps, sketches, and journals in hand, the expedition returned to St. Louis to report its findings to Jefferson.

Physical Map

Map of the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail

As we learn about the Lewis and Clark Expedition, you are welcome to use this map of the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail from the National Park Service. 

To navigate the map, use the + symbol in the lower right corner to zoom in. Scrolling or sweeping will move the map up/down and left/right.

On the map, the Oregon Trail route is noted by a bold red line. Black dots with bold black text note locations along the trail route. The red text describes important points along the trail route.

These map features are layered over present day state names and highways noted in light gray. Yellow dots with black text note present day cities.

Indian Peace Medal

From Wikipedia: The term Indian Peace Medal is most commonly associated with circular, or oval, silver medallions distributed to Native American tribal representatives by representatives of the United States government. They were made in three sizes: small, medium and large. The largest could have a diameter of inches. The most common feature of Indian Peace Medals was the portrait of the current U.S. president. They are often cited as a symbol of the relationships between the United States federal government and Native Americans in the late-18th and 19th centuries. 

Following the practice established by European powers in the American colonies, U.S. presidents and their agents gave these medals to the chiefs or significant warriors of Native American tribes as tokens of friendship, sometimes accompanied by explanations of newly established U.S. sovereignty. The best known examples were the medals carried by Lewis and Clark on their 1804-1806 expedition to explore the Louisiana Purchase, many of which were Jefferson medals according to their journals. The medals would be given to Indian leaders throughout the expedition. 

Image Above: Paha Ska, of Keystone, SD, an Elder of the Oglala Sioux tribe holds an authentic Presidential Peace & Friendship Medallion from President Thomas Jefferson, 2001

Journals of the Lewis and Clark Expedition

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