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Louisiana Purchase Fur Trader Essay

1799 words - 8 pages

In 1803 President Thomas Jefferson purchased the Louisiana territory from France. After the Louisiana Purchase Treaty was made, Jefferson decided an exploration of the newly purchased land and the territory beyond the "great rocky mountains" was needed. His reasons for the exploration were simple. He hoped to establish trade with the Native American people of the West. He also hoped to discover a water route to the Pacific Ocean. Jefferson also believed we could learn a lot about the geography of the West, the lives of the Native Americans, the plants and animals, the weather, and how they were different from the East. To lead this journey President Jefferson chose his personal secretary, ...view middle of the document...

They traveled up the Missouri to present-day Three Forks, Montana, wisely choosing to follow the Jefferson River. This route delivered the explorers to the doorstep of the Shoshone Indians, who were skilled at traversing the great rock mountains with horses. In May of 1805 Lewis and Clark finally reached Montana. The land was filled with so many different animals like elk, deer, antelope, and grizzly bears as well. A boat accident almost ruined the expedition. A gust of wind came up and tipped the dugout over. The boat contained all of the papers, books, medicines, and scientific instruments. Fortunately the boat didn't sink. Sacagawea almost lost her life by saving most of the equipment. With the water finally running west, the explorers quickly traveled down the Clearwater, Snake, and Columbia Rivers, reaching the Pacific coastal area in early November, a year and a half after leaving St. Louis. They built Fort Clatsop, named after the neighboring Indian nation, on the south side Columbia River, near what is now Astoria, Oregon, and spent the winter in cold, wet, miserable weather, preparing for the trip back home. With journals in hand, Lewis, Clark, and the other members of the Expedition returned to St. Louis by September 1806 to report their findings to Jefferson.
During their expedition, Lewis and Clark met different Indian tribes. They met so many tribes they decided that they would greet every Indian tribe the same way. Some of the tribes greeted them with gifts, while others greeted them with immediate violence. Lewis and Clark met with the Arikara Indians on October 8,1804. When they met the Arikara Indians, only a small population of their tribe had existed. They found three Arikara villages, where most of the people lived in earth lodges. Only about 2000 people actually lived in the villages. After meeting with the Arikara Indians They agreed to send a group east to meet with President Jefferson. However York, Clark’s slave, was most impressive because they had never seen a black man before. They thought he had special spiritual powers. The Mandan Indians lived along the Upper Missouri River in North Dakota. They lived in two villages: Matootonha and Rooptahee. They arrived at the villages in October and stayed there until the winter of 1804 where they stayed at Fort Mandan. On October 26, 1805, two Chinook chiefs and several men came to the Corp's camp to offer gifts of deer meat. The captains responded by presenting the chiefs with medals and trinkets. They lived next to the Columbia River in the northwestern part of Oregon. They mostly ate fish, rabbit, elk, bird eggs, and clams. For shelter they used houses made of cedar bark, teepees, and brush tents. Many of the families lived together in one house. To get around they used canoes that were hollowed out cedar trees. They also rode on horses or walked on foot. Many of the times during their encounter the Corps were stolen from and they were given unreasonable prices for...

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