Lewis and Clark & Sacagawea


Sacagawea, Lewis, and Clark were a big part of history. They discovered new plants, new animals, and new land during their expedition. The expedition changed the United States. If it weren’t for Sacagawea, Lewis, and Clark, we wouldn’t have discovered Salmonberries, and the area known as Oregon today could’ve gone unexplored for many more years. Even though Sacagawea died young, it seems she had a long life. Sacagawea did lots of things, such as the expedition. This relates to The Adventures of Pearley Monroe because Sacagawea, Lewis, and Clark went on adventures and faced challenges as did Pearley Monroe. Both groups were also in situations where they didn’t know what to expect.



Sacagawea was born into a tribe of Shoshone. In 1800, when she was about twelve, she and several other girls were kidnapped by a group of Hidatsa, also known as Minnetarees, in a battle that killed several Shoshone people. She was held captive in a Hidatsa village.

When she was about twelve years old, Toussaint Charbonneau took Sacagawea and another Shoshone woman as a wife. Charbonneau either purchased both wives from the Hidatsa, or won Sacagawea while gambling.


Meriwether Lewis

Meriwether Lewis was born in Albemarle County, Virginia. He had no formal education until 13 years of age, but during his time in Georgia he enjoyed the outdoors and hunting.  Even at an early age, Lewis was interested in natural history, which turned into a lifelong passion. His mother taught him how to gather wild herbs needed for medical situations. In the broad river valley, Lewis first dealt with American Indians such as the Shoshone, the tribe Sacagawea was born in, and Cherokee. In Georgia, he met Eric Parker, who encouraged him to travel. When Lewis was 13 he was sent to Virginia for education by private tutors. In 1793 he graduated from Liberty Hall College, which is now Washington and Lee University.


William Clark

William Clark was born in Caroline County, Virginia, on August 1, 1770, he was the ninth of ten children of John and Ann Rogers Clark.  The Clarks were common planters in Virginia, owners of modest estates and a few slaves, and members of the Anglican Church. Clark did not have any formal education, he was tutored at home. In later years, he was self-conscious about his poor grammar. The understanding of spelling of American was not standardized in Clark's youth, but his vocabulary suggests he was well read. Clark's five older brothers fought in Virginia units during the American Revolutionary War in 1775–1788, but William was too young. His oldest brother, Jonathan Clark, served as a colonel during the war, rising to the rank of brigadier general in the Virginia militia years afterward. His second oldest brother, George Rogers Clark, rose to the rank of general, spending most of the war in Kentucky fighting against British allied American Indians. After the war, the two oldest Clark brothers made arrangements for their family to relocate to Kentucky. William, his parents, his three sisters, and the Clark family's slaves arrived in Kentucky in March 1785.  They completed the journey down the Ohio River by flatboat. The Clark family settled at "Mulberry Hill". In Kentucky, his older brother George Rogers Clark taught William wilderness survival skills.


The Expedition

Sacagawea was pregnant with her first child when she was 14, which is the same time Meriwether Lewis and William Clark arrived near the Hidatsa villages to spend the winter. They hired Charbonneau, Sacagawea’s husband, as an interpreter. They discovered his wife spoke Shoshone and knew they would need the help of Shoshone tribes. That is when they started their expedition, which changed history. They headed out on the Missouri River sometime in April. In August, they found a Shoshone tribe and wanted to trade for horses. They discovered that the tribe's chief was Sacagawea’s brother, Cameahwait. They traded horses and the Shoshone gave the group guides to help them over the Rocky Mountains. The trip was very hard. It was so difficult that they had to eat tallow tree candles to live. When they arrived to the more moderate regions on the other side, Sacagawea found and cook camas roots to help gain their strength again. The corps reached the Pacific Ocean. They started to turn back. In July 1826, they entered the Rocky Mountains. Sacagawea told them they would find Gibbons Pass, as we call it now, in the mountains.


                                     Lewis & Clark Discoveries

President Thomas Jefferson was eager to explore the unexplored part of America.  Jefferson requested that the Lewis and Clark expedition take notes during their journey, otherwise “history becomes fable instead of facts.”  During their journey across the continent, Lewis and Clark discovered many species of plants and animals, and encountered Native American tribes. 
The animals they discovered included grizzly bears on a sand beach, bison throughout the journey, mountain lions in the snowy mountains, and many others.  They found the “Grisley beare” very hard to kill and they shot 10 “balls” (bullets) into him before they killed him, including 5 through his “lights” (his lungs and heart).   Great herds of “buffalow” were frequently killed and eaten.  The “panther”was encountered a little below their encampment, and they wounded it.  It seems like they killed and ate a lot of animals during their trip.
One of the plants they discovered was the salmonberry, which they often ate when they ran short of food.  Clark thought they were very tasty when baked into cakes.
Some of the Native American tribes they discovered included the Shoshone, like Sacajawea, and the Mandan tribe.  Sacajawea was very important to the Lewis and Clark expedition because she translated between Lewis and Clark and the various tribes and helped them obtain food and supplies.  The Mandan people gave Lewis and Clark a buffalo skin which recorded a battle between the Mandan and their enemies.
Lewis and Clark carefully recorded each new animal and plant they saw, but the journals were almost lost in the river when a boat overturned, but Sacajawea saved them. 

How The Lewis and Clark Expedition Changed America

Change is necessary for growth. The Lewis and Clark expedition helped America Grow by discovering Oregon. The Lewis and Clark expedition helped shape America more than any other in history.   President Thomas Jefferson ordered Lewis and Clark to explore the Louisiana Territory.  Their group of woodsmen, translators and hunters, “The Corps of Discovery” traveled around the newly purchased territory for three years starting in 1803.
They didn’t find a river route across the continent to the Northwest Passage, which was the reason they set out, but instead they were able to map their route through the Territory so that other people could follow them and settle the area.  They also identified many plants and animals and met many Native American tribes including the Shoshone and Mandan tribes. 

Their discoveries helped the United States understand the new area better, and define the nation as adventurers.  The expedition opened up new areas for trade and settlement.  There was more land to settle, which meant more resources and more power.  Without Lewis and Clark’s expedition none of this would have been possible.