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Oregon Historical Quarterly

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Lewis and Clark Expedition (1804-1806), Discoveries in geography, Columbia River


As part of a special issue of the 'Oregon Historical Quarterly,' examines the scientific aspect of the Lewis and Clark Expedition, focusing on the gathering, cataloging, and describing of plants and animals in the Columbia River Basin. Instructed by Thomas Jefferson to gather information on new species of plants and animals, Meriwether Lewis and William Clark collected specimens as they crossed the Continental Divide and entered the Columbia River Basin. Although Lewis generally held a negative view of the Indians the expedition encountered, he recorded their use of fish, plants, and game animals, and the Corps of Discovery traded with the Indians for food. Lewis and Clark stayed for some time at the Great Falls of the Columbia, Fort Clatsop on the coast, and Camp Chopunish on the Clearwater River in Idaho, noting the edibility and nutritional quality of previously unknown plants such as camas, cous, and other root foods. They wrote directly and without interpretation, fulfilling the goal of gathering scientific information


This is the publisher's final PDF. Copyright 2004, Oregon Historical Society. Reproduced by permission.

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