Part 3: In a Nutshell

  • President Thomas Jefferson wanted to expand the United States from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean.
  • The Lewis and Clark Expedition has been called “The Greatest Adventure in American History.”
  • Meriwether Lewis and William Clark led the Corps of Discovery.
  • The largest trading center on the continent was located at the confluence of the Knife and Missouri Rivers.
  • On May 21, 1804, the Corps of Discovery left St. Louis, Missouri, traveling up the Missouri River with a keelboat and two pirogues.
  • Sergeant Charles Floyd, who probably died of a burst appendix, was the only member of the expedition to lose his life on the journey.
  • The expedition had its first contact with the Arikara tribe shortly before reaching North Dakota.
  • Punishment for soldiers who did not follow Army rules was a whipping.
  • The expedition reached North Dakota on October 14, 1804.
  • The Mandan and Hidatsa tribes lived along the Missouri and Knife Rivers.
  • Expedition members built Fort Mandan as their winter home and surrounded it with a stockade.
  • Charbonneau was hired as a Hidatsa interpreter. Sakakawea was the 16-year-old wife of Charbonneau.
  • The Indians were interested in Clark’s African-American servant, York, because they had never seen a Black person before.
  • John Shields, the blacksmith, made iron articles to trade to the Mandan and Hidatsa people for food.
  • Sakakawea’s baby was named Jean Baptiste and nicknamed “Pomp.”
  • On April 7, 1805, 12 men took the keelboat back toward St. Louis, and the other members of the expedition continued the journey up the Missouri River.
  • Seaman was Lewis’s dog who traveled along on the expedition.
  • The explorers were interested in “barking squirrels” which were prairie dogs.
  • The men found out that grizzly bears were very dangerous animals.
  • Members of the expedition covered themselves with bear grease as protection against mosquitoes.
  • Each man in the expedition ate about nine pounds of meat per day.
  • Sakakawea put herself in great danger to save valuable items from a capsizing boat.
  • The Shoshone chief turned out to be Sakakawea’s brother, Cameahwait, who gave the expedition horses, supplies, and a guide to help them go over the mountains.
  • On November 7, 1805, expedition members spotted the Pacific Ocean.
  • The Corps of Discovery spent the winter of 1805–06 in present-day Oregon.
  • Lewis and Clark had every member of the expedition, including Sakakawea, vote on the location of the 1805-06 winter campsite.
  • Lewis and Clark separated in Montana and each took a separate route back to North Dakota.
  • Cruzatte, blind in one eye, accidentally shot Lewis while hunting.
  • Lewis and Clark appreciated Sakakawea’s skill in finding food, making medicine, building shelters, making clothing, and using her many other abilities on the journey.
  • Sakakawea’s Hidatsa home is the present-day site of the Knife River Indian Villages near Stanton, North Dakota.
  • Sakakawea is one of the most famous women in North Dakota history and has many honors dedicated to her.
  • The largest lake in the state is named “Lake Sakakawea.”
  • The Lewis and Clark Expedition spent more time in North Dakota than in any other state.
  • Lewis and Clark described 178 plants and 122 animals that were strange to Euro-Americans and Europeans.
  • In the years following the Lewis and Clark Expedition, American Indian tribes suffered from smallpox epidemics, destruction of bison herds, and loss of their lands.