Lewis and Clark Expedition

Head Count

Began with 40


The Lewis and Clark Expedition from May 1804 to September 1806, also known as the Corps of Discovery Expedition, was the first American expedition to cross what is now the western portion of the United States. It began near St. Louis, made its way westward, and passed through the continental divide to reach the Pacific coast. The Corps of Discovery comprised a selected group of U.S. Army volunteers under the command of Captain Meriwether Lewis and his close friend, Second Lieutenant William Clark.

President Thomas Jefferson commissioned the expedition shortly after the Louisiana Purchase in 1803 to explore and to map the newly acquired territory, to find a practical route across the western half of the continent, and to establish an American presence in this territory before Britain and other European powers tried to claim it.

The campaign's secondary objectives were scientific and economic: to study the area's plants, animal life, and geography, and to establish trade with local Native American tribes. With maps, sketches, and journals in hand, the expedition returned to St. Louis to report its findings to Jefferson.


TitlePublication DateDescriptionLink
Corps of Discovery (webpage from Wikipedia) An article with a small bio on each of the members of the expedition. Link
Lewis and Clark Expedition (webpage from Wikipedia) A detailed article about the expedition with a nice timeline. Link


Lewis and Clark Expedition begins 1804-05-14
Lewis and Clark reach Pacific Ocean 1805-11-20
Lewis and Clark Expedition ends 1806-09-23


North American Plate
United States of America


NameDate of BirthDate of DeathShort Biography
William Clark 17701838an American explorer, soldier, Indian agent, and territorial governor.
Meriwether Lewis 17741809an American explorer, soldier, politician, and public administrator, best known for his role as the leader of the Lewis and Clark Expedition, also known as the Corps of Discovery, with William Clark.