What is The Significance of The Lewis and Clark Expedition?

The 1804 Lewis and Clark expedition was the exploration of the Northwestern part of the U.S. territory. It begun near St.Louis and ended at the Pacific Coast, where Fort Clatsop was built. The contribution of the expedition was multifaceted and meaningful in the history of the United States of America, but also 5e309543bf040c1f6d62b37b23ebf78aprovided important materials in many areas of science such as botany, geography, zoology and anthropology.

The original reason for this exploration was mainly the need to collect as many informations about the area of Louisiana, which was bought by President Thomas Jefferson and the extension of territorial sovereignty in areas that had not yet been discovered by the surrounding colonies of European nations like England, France or Spain.

Meriwether Lewis, as a lover of natural history, was collecting the plants that he encountered, studying the territorial formations, the animals, the soil composition. William Clark was drawing the map of the territories they encountered together. The findings were plenty. Specifically, some of the plants that were discovered are:

  • American Silverberry
  • Buckbrush
  • Giant Rye Grass
  • Long-Tailed Wild Ginger
  • Narrowleaf Cottonwood
  • Purple Wake-Robin
  • Scarlet Globe Mallow
  • Rocky Mountain Bee Plant
  • Slender Popcorn Flower
  • Tufted Evening-Primrose
  • Western Red Baneberry
  • Yellow-Flowering Pea
  • Western Mountain Kittentails
  • Oregon Crab Apple

Also, some of the animals that were recorded from sightings and also captured were:

  • Aleutian Canada Goose
  • Audubon’s Mountain Sheep
  • Columbia River Chub
  • Douglas’s Squirrel
  • Eastern Spiny Softshell Turtle
  • Franklin’s Spruce Grouse
  • Greater White-Fronted Goose
  • Mountain Lion
  • Northwestern Garter Snake
  • Red-Spotted Garter Snake
  • White-Tailed Deer

A very important human element of this expedition was the presence of two more people, Sacagawea and Touissant Charbonneau, who had the status of a translators in case Meriwether Lewis and William Clark would meet Native Americans. Their addition helped considerably the establishment of trade relations between U.S.A and Native Americans and by extension contributed to the discovery of many tribes of Native Americans, along with their distinctive culture. Some of the tribes that were encountered include:

  • Blackfeet Indians
  • Cowlitz Indians
  • Palouse Indians (Palus)
  • Wahkiakum Indians (Wahkiaku)
  • Yakima Indians
  • Cheyenne Indians

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