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South Dakota

South Dakota History: Lewis & Clark

Meriwether Lewis and William Clark were the early explorers of the American west. During their 2 year lasting journey they came to South Dakota, too. Nowadays different routes are offered to visitors, which follow the old trail of Lewis & Clark.

The exploratory expedition of the two pioneers and their 27 companions (called the ' Corps of Discovery ') began on May 14th, 1804 in St. Louis, Mississippi, where it also ended on September 26th in 1806. At this time the territory of the USA did not include the south and southwest - these parts were Spanish colony and French area (see map). The group traveled more than 12.000 km (7.500 mi) thru unknown territory and documented the journey in detail by notes and maps (route: see red line on the map).

Only one man died by an appendicitis. The many encounters with Indians - one reads of about more than 50 contacts - ended up more or less peacefully. The gained cognitions about flora and fauna later caused botanists to name two plant groups (Lewisia and Clarkia) after them.

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