Lewis and Clark

André Michaux, a French botanist, was an ambitious explorer whose legacy has largely been forgotten.

The Forgotten French Scientist Who Courted Thomas Jefferson—and Got Pulled Into Scandal

A decade before Lewis and Clark, André Michaux wanted to explore the American continent. Spying for France gave him that chance

The bust depicts York, an enslaved member of the 1804 Lewis and Clark expedition.

Anonymous Artist Installs Bust of York, Enslaved Explorer Who Accompanied Lewis and Clark, in Portland Park

The monument replaces a statue of conservative editor Harvey Scott that was toppled last October

In the U.S., although Humboldt’s name has vanished, his ideas have not (above: Humboldt in His Library (detail) by Eduard Hildebrandt, 1856).

Alexander von Humboldt

Who Was Alexander von Humboldt?

Smithsonian curator Eleanor Jones Harvey explains why this revolutionary 19th-century thought leader is due for a reconsideration

A statue of York with Lewis and Clark in Great Falls, Montana.

York Explored the West With Lewis and Clark, But His Freedom Wouldn’t Come Until Decades Later

In some ways, he encountered a world unavailable to the enslaved. But in others, the journey was rife with danger and degradation

A detail of "Lewis and Clark at Three Forks" by Edgar Samuel Paxson, mural in lobby of Montana House of Representatives

Cool Finds

How to Reconstruct Lewis and Clark's Journey: Follow the Mercury-laden Latrine Pits

One campsite has been identified using the signatures left by men who took mercury-laced purgative pills to treat constipation and other ills

Sacajawea guiding the expedition from Mandan through the Rocky Mountains. Painting by Alfred Russell.

Lewis and Clark Only Became Popular 50 Years Ago

For 150 years, the famous explorers were relatively unknown characters

Controversy over Meriwether Lewis' death has descendants and scholars campaigning to exhume his body at his grave site in Tennessee.

Meriwether Lewis' Mysterious Death

Two hundred years later, debate continues over whether the famous explorer committed suicide or was murdered

The Astoria Column serves as a memorial for the explorers Lewis and Clark with President Jefferson.

Lewis and Clark: The Journey Ends

The triumphant return of the Lewis and Clark expedition

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Push to the Pacific

Guided by the Nez Percé, the men and women of the corps reach the Columbia amid threats for their lives

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Cold and Hungry

When snow blankets the mountains, the expedition is once again imperiled

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A Bittersweet Homecoming

As the corps finally makes contact with the Shoshone Indians, interpreter Sacagawea reunites with her family

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The Elusive Shoshone

Needing horses and a route across the Rockies, the corps must find Sacagawea's people —or risk the fate of the expedition

Cathlapotle Plankhouse

Board Rooms

Near Portland, Oregon, archaeologists and Indians have built an authentic Chinookan plankhouse like those Lewis and Clark saw

Near the confluence of the three forks of the Missouri River, the site where the Jefferson, Gallatin, and Madison rivers meet, in Three Forks, Montana.

A Fork in the River

After deliberating for nine days, the captains choose the tortuous southwest branch of the Missouri toward the Great Falls

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Rocky Mountain High

After a canoe capsizes, the first sight of the mountainous "snowey barrier" lifts the corps' spirits

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William Clark and the Shaping of the West

Reconstruction of Fort Mandan, Lewis & Clark Expedition

A Formidable Anamal

After a winter of waiting, the corps leaves Fort Mandan and heads warily into bear country

A Fine Boy

With a little help from a rattlesnake's rattle, Sacagawea gives birth to a baby she names Jean Baptiste

Lewis and Clark

Dangerous Liaisons

Severe cold and fraternizing with the Mandan keep Meriwether Lewis' doctoring in demand

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Westward Ho!

The corps begins its epic journey

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