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Lewis and Clark Expedition. Meriwether Lewis. William Clark. May 1804 – Lewis and Clark leave St. Louis. Head up the Missouri River with 40-50 soldiers and woodmen, called the Corps of Discovery, on 3 boats. Fall 1804: Winter in North Dakota.

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lewis and clark expedition

Lewis and Clark Expedition

Meriwether Lewis

William Clark

may 1804 lewis and clark leave st louis
May 1804 – Lewis and Clark leave St. Louis
  • Head up the Missouri River with 40-50 soldiers and woodmen, called the Corps of Discovery, on 3 boats
fall 1804 winter in north dakota
Fall 1804: Winter in North Dakota
  • Lewis and Clark stop near present-day Bismark, ND, and build Fort Mandan.

January 3, 1805

"last night it became cold and this morning we had snow; our hunters were sent out for buffaloe but the game had been frightened from the river by the Indians, so they obtained only one, also killed a hare and wolf."

  • In the spring of 1805, Lewis and Clark are joined by a French trapper, Charbonneau, and his young wife, Sacajawea. The couple act as guides and translators for the remainder of the journey.
august 12 1805 corps reaches the continental divide
August 12, 1805 – Corps reaches the Continental Divide

Lemhi Pass – Sacajawea’s home and land of the Shoshone Indians. Here the Corps receives horses to help them cross the Rocky Mountains.

november 1805 corps builds fort clatsop
November 1805 – Corps builds Fort Clatsop
  • Having reached the Pacific Ocean, the expedition spends the winter at Fort Clatsop.

December 27, 1805

"rained last night as usial and the grater part of this day, the men complete Chimneys & bunks to day.  in the evening a Chief and 4 men Come of the Clotsop nation, Chief Co-ma-wool  they  presented us a root* which resembles the licquirish in Size and taste, which they rost like a potato which they Call Cul-ho-mo. 

spring 1806 journey home begins
Spring 1806 – Journey home begins
  • The Corps splits up to explore alternative routes back through the mountains.
  • They reunite at Fort Union.
  • In August, they part from Charbonneau and Sacajawea.
  • In September of 1806, the Corps finally returns to St. Louis after 28 months on the expedition
results of the exploration
Results of the Exploration
  • The expedition described over 300 new plant and animal species:

Big Horn Sheep

Grizzly Bear



native americans
Native Americans
  • Lewis and Clark encountered many new tribes on their expedition. They helped promote friendship between the Americans and Natives.






Nez Perce



preparation for expansion
Preparation for Expansion
  • The ultimate goal of the expedition was to scout the land and territory and look for places to build forts.
  • Lewis and Clark provided maps of the new territory.